In the kitchen, I don’t follow a recipe. No recipe cooking is my recipe. I open the fridge and examine treasure among the shelves. I can imagine a red pepper roasting into a pasty amber; garlic frying up into an aroma; olive oil pregnant with history. O look! There is an Eggplant in my fridge. Is there anything more alluring than discovering an unexpected eggplant? “Dinner will be good tonight” I smile as I contemplate the curve of my surprise vegetable.
Before you ask “What’s for dinner?” Let me state I have no idea. That is best part of no recipe cooking. Each night a new adventure.
“What is your recipe?” I dread the question. If you only knew how I cook. You would be appalled. My recipe is that I have no recipe. No recipe cooking is the name of the game in my kitchen. It sounds philosophical or romantic. Try to keep those notions at the door. It means cut fingers; burned forearms; mess; accidents; unpredictable results. Learning the hardest way there is to learn. Do you even know what it’s like to be walking along your neighborhood minding your own business only to have a cauliflower wink at you? To be instructed “Take me home, undress me, boil me and pour béchamel sauce all over my naked limps”.
“What’s for dinner?” A nagging question that doesn’t have an answer yet.
Have you asked a tuna steak if it’s happy in the frying pan?
I can’t teach you this madness. It comes with no guidebook. Mushrooms and cream sauce go together. How do I know? Because I tried the rubric cube of possibilities and I know. I didn’t trust the experts. I trusted my taste buds with mushrooms and boiled potato, mushrooms and red beans, mushrooms in tomato sauce, mushrooms and broccoli, mushroom and ….. This process is exhausting. There are far easier paths to success, none of them satisfy me.
Have you ever squished a chickpea between two fingers while whispering: “This is for your own good darling”?
My o my. “What’s for dinner?” might get an answer.
Taste and smell are the obvious. There are delights that I can’t paint with words. The sensation of dough oozing between the fingers is yet to be described . The bitter secrets that a rice pudding revealed to me one late evening – a confidence I will never betray. The pistachio that got away. What is that? O hush … don’t mention chocolate. I am already strained keeping this PG13.
Have you ever met a macaroni that wasn’t yearning for a cheese sauce bath? Please do tell, I am conducting a study.
I think I will like the answer tonight to “What’s for dinner?”
My youthful hunger is replaced with an old satisfaction with the simplest techniques. A blanched asparagus is the queen of the castle that needs no king, yet chooses of her own free will to sit quietly next to the fetching barbequed steak. Will they find a common language? The intrigue is killing me. Will she be appalled when he spills his bloody medium rare juice? Should she smother herself with melted butter? I have to dash off with great urgency. A situation is brewing.
The best way to cook is to stop cooking. Sit back and let the food cook you.
You are yummy.