“There is this sense that to cook well means to be struck with inspiration.We think everything is supposed to be extraordinary. But in European and Asian food culture, food is simply supposed to be good and nourishing and enjoyable”… and far less stressful.
i can appreciate this quote by new cookbook author tamar adler. i haven’t bought the book yet but intend to skim it in the bookstore. adler is promoting a very “back-to-the-basics” or “back-to-before-food-network-and-foodiesm” approach to cooking– ditch the recipes, enjoy your food, and understand preparing meals as an organic, adjustable, easy-going process. in short, cooking as integrated into your lifestyle, versus as a hobby or complicated task. her approach to cooking is very holistic and lends to habits that fall in line with eating seasonal foods, which happens to be better for the environment. bottom line: it shouldn’t stress you out!
One of her most important lessons is that we need to spend less time thinking about food and more time just enjoying it. Her suggestions about how to prepare vegetables contradict much of what we have been taught, or think we have.
For instance, while most of us stock our crispers with fresh vegetables and then spend the rest of the week racing to eat them before they turn brown, Ms. Adler buys up basketfuls of whatever vegetables are in season, and as soon as she gets home she scrubs off the dirt, trims the leaves, chops and peels, and then cooks and prepares all the vegetables at once — washing and separating lettuce leaves; drizzling cauliflower, beets and carrots with olive oil and roasting them in separate pans. Beet greens are sautéed, and chopped stems and leaves are transformed into pesto.
Many people, myself included, have long believed that vegetables are best if they are cooked just before they are served. But cooking vegetables as soon as you buy them essentially turns them into a convenience food, allowing them to keep longer and creating a starting point for a week’s worth of meals.
“We’re told that things need to be fresh,” Ms. Adler said, but too often “we all end up watching our food go bad, and then it doesn’t matter if it was fresh, because we didn’t get to eat it.”