Sunday, January 4, 2009

My cookbooks

As my family and friends know I am an avid reader. Book lust was fueled by the gift of a Kindle this year. I now can carry hundreds of books with me in my little Kindle. I can slip it into my briefcase and if I have a stop for a solo lunch I can catch up on news and reading. Alas, the Kindle cannot address the cookbook passion. I still have to touch the cookbook, see the glorious pictures and see the food porn. Has it come to this? A beautiful dish labelled food porn - only to a foodie. I digress. I received cookbooks for Christmas, many cookbooks. Ina Garten's new Back to Basics, two cookbooks from some people of El Paso - I love Texas food. Then two books by Edna Lewis - an anniversary edition of her food biography and the book she co-wrote with Scott Peacock. Then I picked up Elie Krieger's book and Anita Chu's Field Guide to Cookies.

My very fav cookbooks are biographical or anecdotal. The history of the dish tells what the author values and their connections. Their specific tastes. Are they like me a texture maeven loving the crunch in my mouth juxtaposed to flavor and the senses? Do they like things sweet or do they like balance of flavors that let you have multiple tastes in a bite? After decades of cooking and reading cookbooks I can read a recipe and have a sense of the dish's taste in my mind. It's a little creepy when it perfectly matches sense and actual taste.

The descriptions that discuss flavors sought and elements of taste and texture are real enticements to me. It's not always the over the top. It can be the feeling of green, the sparkle of citrus, the earthiness of a root vegetable, the mouth feel of a dessert that combines fruit, pastry and/or fluffy mousse-like cream, nuts toasted, vegetables roasted or the homey comfort of meat slow-cooked to falling apart with a natural sauce. It just plays in my head. Then I must create an event to present the dish. Luckily there are birthdays, vacations, visits, reasons to get together or just catch up. Then too there are gatherings to simply cook together. These events are never occasions for haute cuisine. They are about the communion of friends and family through time shared and food enjoyed. I am always drawn back to simple foods that allow the tastes of ingredients to shine through. But it is always about texture and flavor and connection.

1 comment:

  1. Hey, I also received the new Barefoot Contessa book for Christmas.