Cooking is an art not a science! This was a statement that I heard (or was I told?) when spending two summers with a British family in New Jersey 91/92. And for some reason it stuck with me. Maybe because I am acutely aware that I am taking the more scientific approach when I cook… you got to start somewhere, right?
The reason why I was reminded about it this week is because I reached out to my old roommate Linda – the scientist and yet very artistic chef. I didn’t know of anyone else who could through together an excellent meal for the 20 friends of ours in a heartbeat. How often do you spontaneously invite a group of 20 – at least 10 – to a dinner in 30 minutes? She did. Several times. And it was a pleasure to be her room mate for that reason, and many many more. I reached out to her this week because I remembered the smell of the outstanding lasagna that she used to do. “Do you happen to have the recipe easily available so you can share it with me?”
Sure thing – five minutes later and I have a response in my inbox…
Lasagna: hm.. menar du en vegetarisk eller?
Röda linser (koka typ 8-10 min)
kryddor efter smak – spiskummin,salt o peppar är ju gott
Blanda dessa till en “tomat-lins-sås” som en fyllning.
Andra fyllningen kan göras på bladspenat, vitlök, Keso.
bara steka spenat o vitlök, o blanda sen i Keso.
Varva de 2 fyllningarna med lasagneplattorna, o lägg lite keso på toppen, så behövs ingen ostsås.
Done! Easy! Do you get it? Spices after taste!? “Red lentils – should it be 1-3 cans? ;)” “Ha ha! You can start with 1.5 dl dry!”
Suddenly I remembered my roommate in France, who cleary stated that she is “useless in the kitchen” before she diligently followed the recipe for chocolate balls and added “1.5 table spoon of [dry instant nes]coffee”! He laughs best who laughs last, as we say in Sweden. That would be her now.
Being a professional living in San Francisco, with an unlimited number of decently priced outstanding restaurants, it is very easy to get a life style of eating out. Or bringing food home. Or order for delivery. The ones who are a little more conscious about what they eat and still put in the same number of ours at work, may choose the alternative of delivered food for lunch and dinner for the week (I have seen my neighbor receive that). But is there something nicer than a home cooked meal? In your own environment? Mmmmm. I so much enjoy that.
What if you are not the king or queen in the kitchen? Start explore! Get inspiration from others. I stumbled over and keep following the blog Chocolate & Zucchini. In this weeks newsletter Clotilde Dusoulier announced that she had published a translated and adapted version of the old best-seller on French home cooking from 1932: I Know How To Cook (Je Sais Cuisiner), by Ginette Mathiot. If you want to be inspired while doing it, I would warmly recommend Cooking with Julie in Napa Valley. I brought my visiting mom to the Farmers Market Tour and Cooking Class, which was excellent. You start off with a tour at the farmers market and taste and choose the ingredients for the 3-meal lunch. Have a cheese and wine tasting before you pass the bakery on the way home and cook. The Private Class for a special occasion (50th birthday for example with girlfriends) is also very nice, and a perfect gift. All in a very personal setting at the home of Julie’s. And then of course there is the Scandinavian Cooking on TV…! See here for a trailer relating to the Crayfish Party preparations with Tina. I hear the season isn’t quite over yet for that Swedish tradition. (Crayfish is still available at IKEA!).
Learning to cook is just like anything else in life – just do it! Practice makes perfect. Who will you invite for dinner next?