For my first post of 2013 I thought I would catch you up on a few exciting things that happened in my culinary life since we last spoke. The more I think about this blog, the more I realize that it’s a little about recipes, and a lot about learning how to eat and cook. In that context, I find these three things very important to share. They are presented in non-chronological order.
1) I received Julia Child’s Mastering the Art of French Cooking as a Christmas gift. It begins like this:
“This book is for the servantless American cook who can be unconcerned on occasion with budgets, waistlines, time schedules, children’s meals, and the parent-chauffeur-den-mother syndrome, or anything else which might interfere with the enjoyment of producing something wonderful to eat.”
One hour on the couch with this page-turner I have decided that Julia Child is the one person, living or dead, whom I would choose to meet if I had the chance. What a woman. What a writer. The reason I was interested in this cookbook in the first place was because everything I have read about both learning to cook and food writing has come back to Julia. She seems to dominate the world of fine cooking through lessons of basics built upon simplicity that nobody can get out of their mind. As someone who has all the basics to learn, I love her for it. She discusses how to hold a knife properly followed by how to chop a carrot, and I’m only on page 43. That I’m reading the thing like a novel is a testament to how beautifully this book is put together. I imagine her co-authors, Louisette Bertholle and Simone Beck, whom she learned to cook with in Paris, were just as fabulous. I promise to share my first experiment!
2) I received a gift certificate for a cooking class for two at the Meitte Culinary Studio in Manhattan. There were so many classes to choose from, but I ultimately went with Classic Italian Supper. Here is the menu:
Bruschetta (grilled bread with olive oil and garlic)
Pomodoro a riso (tomatoes stuffed with rice)
Gnocchi di spinaci con ricotta (spinach and ricotta gnocchi)
Arista di maiale (roasted herb-stuffed pork loin)
Piselli freschi (fresh peas with prosciutto)
I was sold at gnocchi. This is one thing I am dying to learn how to make and I know can be tricky. Class is in March, can’t wait to report back.
3) And finally…I tasted my first steak. It happened at Manhattan Steakhouse in Bonita Springs, FL. What do I mean, you ask? Well, I enjoyed my first medium-rare prime-dry aged porterhouse in a classic steakhouse.
Half New York strip and half filet mignon. It certainly felt like my first time. I have never tasted or experienced anything like that in my life. I went weak in the knees, so wrapped up in sensation I couldn’t think. I could only feel. And now, it’s all I can think about. It was crisp but creamy, sizzling yet calm, and almost melted in my mouth the second it touched my tongue. I thought, a discovery like this only happens once, make sure to write about it. I’ve got some follow-up research to do, figuring out what makes a steak so delicious but trust me, when I know, you’ll know.