Sunday, August 9, 2009

Cooking for life

Spending Sunday morning cleaning the stove is one way to get into a meditative state, largely because looking at what one is scrubbing can be kind of gross. Especially when you consider that what is coating the stove might in fact also be coating your insides. Not pleasant unlike the steak devoured happily, stewed chicken as indicated by the brownish crusty stain on the otherwise white enamel and other sundry remains of meals cooked and eaten since the last time the stove was cleaned.

Generally West Indian kitchens are often covered in a sticky residue near to the stove and on the ceiling as is discovered when you try to re-paint the walls et al. West Indian and East Indian cookery often involves a lot of browning things in hot oil, searing in hot oil on high heat, long cooking with sputtering sauce everywhere. That residue is left by fat granules adhering to every surface requiring constant scrubbing with abrasive grease cutting detergents which take the skin off of one's fingers. Ah, the joys of cooking. Once upon a time, my kitchen was the scene of much cooking for Sunday lunches with friends or dishes to be frozen for other friends who were unfamiliar with a stove. That all went the way of when I realised that my entire weekend revolved around the kitchen, preparing for the meal, cooking the meal, cleaning up after the meal. Oh yes, what fun, for everybody else but the cook!

Needless to say, I love reading about food, experimenting in the kitchen and generally trying new gastronomic delights. My shelves are littered with books by cooks, chefs, food editors and restauranteurs. Currently I'm reading "My Life in France" by Julia Child. Mrs. Child a french method cook famous for introducing the technique to the average American housewife in her cooking shows and books, was an unlikely hero. These days when everyone on the Food Network is coiffed, made up and reality TV friendly to death, Mrs Child, 6'2', a halo of red hair and a rather high pitched voice was different, but the woman could cook and she was actually fun to watch! FYI, read the book, it's more entertaining than Meryl and Amy trying to be Julie and Julia.

Last evening, while watching TV there was a programme on two people, one a raw food proponent and the other a calorie counter on a reduced calorie diet. The aim of both parties, to live longer. Now I have nothing against vegans and other people who watch what they eat. I watch what I eat too, I just like it to taste, look and smell good. Truthfully, watching the raw food guy who happens to be a long distance runner did not encourage conversion to the green sludge which he loudly proclaimed, YUMMY! That fresh chard and broccoli might have benefitted from a quick saute in some good olive oil to be paired with a delicately prepared fillet of fish all washed down with a crisp Pinot Grigio. Frankly, the sludge looked gross, like something you might have scraped up from the bottom of an old water tank and his appearance did not help, pale, fleshless, with sunken eyes, he vaguely resembled a refugee as did the reduced calorie couple. They went on and on about living longer to the point of nausea. I just wanted them to shut up because they were boring as hell and for all their protestations they did not appear to be enjoying themselves. Guy Fieri on an hour later was much more entertaining and that dude looks like he really, really enjoys food.

It is instructive to note than many gastronomes, on a steady diet of butter, wine and other forbidden things lived to a ripe old age, Mrs. Child was in her eighties. Seeing my Auntie Enid, an octogenarian trying to get around has not inspired me to want to live to "ripen" into that kind of old age. Sure, I like being healthy and want to be around for quite a while; I exercise, I avoid margarine, fake sugar and all those other genetically engineered foods for the real thing which I then eat in moderation. Okay, there is the coffee and chocolate thing but that's my business.

What's my point? Nothing really, this was just my distraction from cleaning the kitchen so that I could put it back together to get Sunday lunch going. A nice roast chicken, yes with the skin on, oven roasted potatoes and carrots (strategically placed under the chicken to be self basting) and a tomato/basil/crumbled feta cheese salad with balsamic dressing, all washed down with some Chardonnay. Mmmm, good.


Gabriela said...

It really sounds good!
I hope you enjoyed it.

Jumbie said...

You just reminded me I have my roasted chicken sitting in the fridge (leftovers) aching to meet my insides.

Coffeewallah said...

Yes, it was good and like Jumbie, I'm looking forward to my leftovers. Life is too damn short to drink bad wine!

Coffedude said...

Only the good die young. *cheers*