a happy time when you can escape this world, you know, and lose yourself in food

DAVIES: (Laughter) OK. We’re speaking with Anthony Bourdain. He has a new cookbook called “Appetites.” This is an interesting cookbook to look at and to read. You write in it there’s nothing remotely innovative in the recipes. You’re lifting them from imperfect memories of childhood favorites. Why this kind of book?

BOURDAIN: Well, I wanted it to be useful, approachable, reflective of the life I’ve lived over the past eight or nine years as a father, as opposed to a professional trying to dazzle with, you know, pretty pictures and food that’s different than everybody else’s. No, I wanted to make a beautiful cookbook, creative-looking one spoken in honest, straightforward, casual terms that gives the reader reasonable expectations, that encourages them to organize themselves in the way that I’ve found to be useful as a professional.

But as far as the recipes, you know, when I cook at home, it’s with a 9-year-old girl in mind. I mean, she’s who I need to please. And if she’s not happy, I’m not happy. The whole house revolves around her and her friends, so it’s reflective of that. It’s also reflective of, I think, age and all those years in the restaurant business.

Most chefs I know after work do not want to go out to dinner and be forced to think about what they’re eating in a critical or analytical way. They want to experience food as they did as children, in an emotional way, the pure pleasure of that bowl of spicy noodles or even a – you know, a bowl of soup that their mom gave them on a rainy day when they’d been bullied in school. I mean, that’s a happy time when you can escape this world, you know, and lose yourself in food. So these are recipes that hopefully – where I try to evoke those kinds of feelings and emotions.

~ Anthony Bourdain, from an interview in 2016 titled  On ‘Appetites,’ Washing Dishes And The Food He Still Won’t Eat (NPR.org, “Fresh Air“, October 20, 2017)

Bourdain’s cookbook can be found here: Appetites: A Cookbook


Notes:

Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat

salt-fat-acid-heat-samin-nosrat-cooking-1.jpg

“Somehow my mom always knew exactly what would taste best when we emerged. Persian cucumbers topped with sheep’s milk feta cheese rolled together in lavash bread. We chased the sandwiches with handfuls of ice cold grapes or wedges of watermelon to quench our thirst. That snack, eaten while my curls dripped with seawater and salt crust formed on my skin, always tasted so good. Without a doubt, the pleasures of the beach added to the magic of the experience.”

Samin Nosrat grew up understanding how good food is all about balance, and that’s the gist of her new cookbook. It’s titled “Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat: Mastering The Elements Of Good Cooking.”

(SALT) Nosrat frees her readers to use their own senses instead of measuring cups. She says we should salt things until they taste like the sea, which is a beautiful thing, but it also sounds like just a lot of salt.  NOSRAT: “Just use more than you’re comfortable with, I think, is a good rule for most people. Especially when you’re boiling things in salted water, most foods don’t spend that much time in that water…So the idea is to make the environment salty enough so that the food can absorb enough salt and become seasoned from within. A lot of times, you end up using less salt total if you get the salt right from within because then the thing isn’t over-seasoned on the outside and bland in the center.”

(FAT) “I think fat has this remarkable capability to offer us all these different and very interesting and delicious and sort of mouthwatering textures in our food. And it’s just about learning how to get those textures out of the fat that you’re already using.”

(ACID) “For me, it’s all about getting that nice tangy balance in a meal or in a bite or in a dish. And you can get that through a lot of things, citrus and vinegar and wine which are maybe the three most obvious and sort of well-known sources of acid…Almost every condiment we add to our food is acidic, which is why when you get – I don’t know – a bean and cheese burrito, you’re always like hungry for salsa and sour cream and guacamole to put on there because those things will just perk it up, you know, and add flavor.”

(HEAT) “And so the thing about heat I realized, it sort of boils down to when you’re cooking a food, your goal – no matter what the food is – is to get your desired result on the outside and on the inside. And so your dream is to get that perfect grilled cheese, where the outside is crisp and brown and buttery and delicious, and the inside is melty and perfect.”

Chef Calls ‘Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat’ The 4 Elements Of Good Cooking, excerpts from an interview with Samin Nosrat. 

Find the bestseller on Amazon here: Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat: Mastering the Elements of Good Cooking

This is why I refused to die

Toward the end of the evening, Dominick ceremoniously brought out his glorious special dessert, which he makes every year for the party, a mound of croquembouche: pastry cream–stuffed profiteroles piled high into a cone-like mound and linked with crunchy strands of caramel. My mother was the only other person I knew who ever made them (every Halloween, while most kids got Snickers and jelly beans from the neighbors, my mom made croquembouche, and that’s what she passed out to the small ghosts and princesses and aliens who knocked on her apartment door). As Dominick approached with the tray, my mom took one of the doughy balls very carefully with her left hand—her right hand and most of her right side were basically still useless at this point—and bit into it. I remember the look on her face as the taste resonated, and I watched her lick a dab of the custard that had settled on her upper lip. Our eyes met and, although she didn’t utter a word, I knew what she was saying to me: This is why I refused to die.

~ Peter Gethers, My Mother’s Kitchen: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner, and the Meaning of Life 


Photo: Mary Mary Culinary with Croquembouche (Caramel glazed pate a choux filled with passion fruit curd and vanilla pastry cream)

Dinner (Together)

Q: In your memoir The Apprentice: My Life in the Kitchen, you talk about the importance of having dinner as a family, having everyone together to discuss the issues of the day.

Jacques Pépin: For me, the kitchen is the center of the house. When a kid comes back from school, you sit down in that kitchen and you do your homework. You hear the voice of your mother, your father, you hear the clink of pots and pans, you see the ingredients, the smells. All of that will stay with you the rest of your life. You know, that becomes very important. For a child just home from school, the kitchen is a great place to be.

~ Don’t miss full interview @ GQ.com: Jacques Pépin  (April 11, 2017)


Sources: Quote – Thank you Harvey @ The Happy Curmudgeon. Photo: L.A. Times

I’m an American. I don’t want to be that guy.

Nobody likes paying high taxes, but I don’t mind. Maybe that’s a luxury, but I don’t need to hire some hotshot to spend 12 hours a day figuring out how to chisel the government out of an extra few thousand dollars. If getting that extra money means a lot of phone calls and talking to financial analysts and lawyers, I don’t want it. I don’t want to have those conversations. A friend said, “You live outside the country more than half of the year. Create a bogus residence in the Caymans and pay no U.S. taxes.” I’d feel like a shit doing that. I’m an American. I don’t want to be that guy. I don’t want to have those kinds of conversations. I’m putting myself to sleep just thinking about it. I’d rather make a lot less money. It’s honest dollars. Everybody gets theirs: my partners make money, I make money, the government gets theirs. If they call me in for a full audit, great, here I am. It’s all there. I lived a lot of years afraid of the bank, the landlord and the government calling. Nowadays, it’s nice to not be afraid.

~ Anthony Bourdain, Anthony Bourdain Does Not Want to Owe Anybody Even a Single Dollar (Wealth Simple, March 14, 2017)

Hearty Soup

Yes,
I like seven pounds of short ribs and
twenty-three cloves of garlic in barley soup.
Some will settle for less
but they’re not writing barley poems.

~ Jim Harrison, from “Courage and Survival” (Brick, November, 26, 2012)


Notes: Photo: thefoodcharlatan.com. Quote: Thank you The Hammock Papers

There’ll be days like this

Home at last, I haul in the grocery bags, swallow a couple of extra-strength Tylenol, put the entire Van Morrison play list on the stereo, and spend the afternoon roasting vegetables and making pasta sauce, salad, and a chocolate cake with chocolate frosting. Outside, the rain comes down in sheets. I am singing “Days Like This,” belting out the song. The kitchen fills with good smells.

~ Katrina Kenison, Magical Journey: An Apprenticeship in Contentment


Notes: Related posts: Katrina Kenison

Yellow, pure, and flawless

butter

There are few perfect things in this world, and one of them is your common everyday pound of butter, cool in its box, printed in blues and greens with pleasant images – a farm, a farmer, a cow at a fence – and divided into quarters wrapped in immaculate paper as neatly tucked and folded as a soldier’s bunk, each section as easy to slide in and out as if riding on soundless rollers, like drawers in a filing cabinet, two two-drawer cabinets placed side by side, the files packed in manila, clean and fresh, with evenly spaced dividers arranged by a tablespoon. To press it to your cheek and then, with a fingernail, to carefully lift the triangular folds at each end, one end at a time, and then, without tearing the paper, to open the final flap and find there butter, yellow, pure, and flawless, too good to be true.


Photo: Rose Water & Orange Blossoms

The “Meez” & 20 Words To The Promised Land.

anthony-bourdain

If you’re working in the kitchen of Anthony Bourdain, legendary chef and famed television personality, you don’t dare so much to boil hot water without attending to a ritual called: mise-en-place.

What is the first thing YOU do when you arrive at your desk?

What 20 word question can you ask yourself to distinguish between tasks that simply feel urgent from those that are truly important?

Find the answers here: How to Spend the First 10 Minutes of Your Day


Photograph: Savorsa.com

A deliciously true story


If you are looking for a rainy Sunday afternoon movie, here it is.  This movie is charming, moves “briskly” and is entertaining – I loved it.  If you are a foodie or just love eating – you’ll find a number of mouth-watering scenes.  The movie is showing in theaters and available to watch Instantly on Netflix.

“The story is based on the real-life case of Danièle Delpeuch, a small town regional chef and restaurant-owner who was summoned by President François Mitterrand to be his personal cook at the Elysée Palace. The President had developed a hankering for the food he knew in his youth and decided that she’s just the woman he needs to provide him with “the best of France.”  (Noted that she was the first ever female personal chef for a President of France which adds an interesting dynamic into the Elysee Palace kitchens, traditionally a male preserve.)

Movie Reviews:


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