This year as part of my sustainable eating pledge we are trying all sorts of things I previously would have thought someone kookie for making themselves. But reader, things have changed!
When I say we I use it in the royal sense. While my husband has been incredibly supportive (especially after I gave him my copy of the Omnivore’s Dilemna to read on the bus) he is still a little leery of some of the fermented foods I’ve been making. To his credit I’ve had a lot of flops lately.
This last week we had sprouted garbanzo bean burgers (which I sprouted in a colander on the counter for several days), bread made with the dregs of the kefir jar (a little too musty cheese-ish in aroma but the taste was fine), a coq a vin made with an entire bottle of OR state pinot noir and spendy pastured chicken that was more like a boiled meat concoction and none of the velvety cloaked bird in the photo from my Washington Local and Seasonal cookbook, and a failed attempt at a whey ricotta from the leftovers of a mediocre lemon cheese.
In fact, I can’t think of a great dish I made all week.
Learning how to cook again is not easy. Most recipes that are healthy in the way I used to think of healthy are not local to me or seasonal save for two months out of the year. It’s funny, I used to pan my mother’s cooking because it seemed the only thing she knew how to do was chicken fry meat in lard. She would use butter on sandwiches rather than light mayonnaise.
I am learning that there is a wisdom in traditional cooking that has been lost in the last 60 years. And now that most of that wisdom is lost it takes a lot of effort to find it, buried in slim volumes of self-published books.
I find myself more and more turning to my French Bistro cookbooks and the Italian ones that feature recipes from small villages because those are the only ones that seem to correctly pair seasonal foods together in recipes. It’s simple cooking for the most part that requires the freshest ingredients in order to make the dishes shine.
I’m learning how to cook with sunchokes, celeriac and kohlrabi. The waters ahead hold new and exciting territory for me. Forgiving the flops of a food perfectionist, however, is another matter…