Step by step, jar by jar. Brooding over every paper box and plastic packet, creativity and history will weigh-in against anonymous dry goods. Hunger and imagination will dictate—they always do.
In my college dorm, I was the whiz who could build a dish around anything in your pantry. And, cook it up in a 12-cup hot-pot! Between Stairmaster rituals and devoted hours re-reading Joyce or deciphering Eisenstein, I lifted the hot-pot’s dented, stubborn lid to prepare our humblest feasts:
Oglio e Aglio bathed in a cheap Cab and scented with bay leaves… Chicken and rice with frozen peas, flavored with a precious knob of real butter and reggiano shavings. And, my Special stir-fry: Veggies pinched from the dining hall’s salad bar (bottomless carrots, bean sprouts, snow peas, water chestnuts and more), to the muffled sizzling behind closed doors and the gooey brown dribble of a secret ingredient that swooned my Midwest peers… Asian Oyster Sauce, a staple condiment nestled in my mother’s care packages, that when sautéed had the most inviting aroma.
Today, for some reason: impending recession, food rut, a kind of generic denial of life’s other challenges and concerns approaching me like a wave, I’m compelled to reclaim my thrifty cooking skills—minus the hot-pot, of course.
Maybe this food blog would never be if it depended solely on clever adventures with haute ingrédients. Whatever the reason, I’ll fritter my time meandering the world’s high-end food scene—gaggles of micro-groceries and fine dining beacons, purse ready and emptied to my bittersweet delight--on another occasion.
So, let’s begin. Vamos. Andiamo. C’est parti! And, all that good stuff to come!