Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Tough Times in the Kitchen

I know, I know. No posts on Monday or Tuesday. No Monday Morning Menus. What the hell is going on? Well, I've been busy with work, and in my free time, I've been furiously trying to finish the book I've been reading for three months (Before you laugh, it was Europe Central, which is a cool 750 pages. So, ta!). But that's not the only reason I haven't posted anything lately. I've been going through a tough spot of cooking lately. It's not that the food hasn't been good (although there was a tilapia dish that won't be winning any awards), but more that the process of cooking has been taking a toll on me. It seems like I'm constantly a step behind where I ought to be in the kitchen. I think I'm doing what I ought to be doing. If I'm following a recipe, I've read the recipe in advance and assembled everything I'll need to begin. I've got everything laid out nicely on the counter, ready to go. And yet, all of a sudden, the sauce is coming together too quickly and the steaks are nowhere near done. And my frites? My frites are a soggy mess. My frites suck. By the time I'm done choreographing the latest dinnertime disaster, it's nearly nine o'clock, and it's all I can do to sink into my chair and devour the food, too tired to notice much of the flavor. I know I talk a lot about how much I enjoy the process of cooking (and I do), but I still think of it as a means to an end. Shouldn't I be enjoying the fruits of all that labor? Isn't that what this is all about? When I look back on the last few days of eating, I think the thing I enjoyed most was a sandwich I had yesterday for lunch, and you know what, it only took about five minutes to make. It was simple, but it had great ingredients -- terrific bread from Figaro (which I am blessed to live very near), spicy peppered turkey, Istara cheese, paper-thin slices of tomato, and arugula. It wasn't about my mastery of various culinary skills. It was just good food. And I sat there and read my interminable book and ate. And it was good. And I thought, "This is what eating is all about." So tonight, goddamit, we're eating burgers. Granted, they'll be burgers with incredibly good cheeses and fresh arugula and sharp mustard, but burgers all the same. You gotta problem with that?

Until then, I've posted a (rather pathetic) picture of the sandwich that changed it all for me (It really was better than it looks), and a picture of one of the meals for which I worked so hard -- fillet of beef with shallots and sauce porto (not pictured, soggy, sucky frites).

1 comment:

Edan Lepucki said...

Well, for the record, the steak dish was incredible...but, then again, I wasn't helping much in the kitchen (I worked all day, okay?!)