Sunday, October 18, 2009

Avoiding fancy

I do not like to cook fancy for myself. I usually follow a five ingredient rule (as well as my two pot max), and going beyond that makes me think that I am pushing simplicity, forcing too many things together into a conundrum of flavours less likely to please than to confuse. However, I often rearrange such five items in my head to become something that tastes like what I am eating, but sounds, for lack of a better, or real for that matter, word, menu-able. In other words, what I would do to my dinner if it was for my restaurant, rather than my personal dinner.
Does this mean though, that I care less about cooking for one than I do many. I have always thought that taking care of oneself in the kitchen is worth the extra effort, and enjoying my dinner has often meant enjoying my day, period. So why dont I cook the meals that I hear in my head as I eat the flavour inspiration of it? Perhaps embarassment at being fancy for just me (my sisters judgments come to mind) or a desire and regard for simplicity (my own judgements), or because the best ideas stem from the failure (i use the term loosely, dinners have been really good lately--toot toot) of others, the improvements or rearrangements into something a little better. It is certainly not for lack of time, plenty of that lately. And I hope it is not for lack of effort.
Yknow what--I think I am having a moment. A moment where it seems just too high maitenance to do something fancy for me. I am not talking about five course dinners or gastronomic revelations, but a willingness to go that extra step, take that extra bit of care, fuel that curiosity, or even understanding of flavours for just me. And not to tell someone about it later, but to enjoy it now, rather than think of what it could be.
Fancy, itself, is very subjective. Non-cooking friends (and sisters) of mine, think boxed pasta with a sauce I made from scratch is fancy, to make the pasta myself would be downright extravagant. I, on the other hand, view those with a simplistic eye: low maitenance, comfortable to make and eat, and a canvas for humble creativity. To me, I think, fanciness is in the preparation, the richness of a dish, the expense; the length of time from step A to step eat, and the number of steps in between. And most of the time I want none of that. I love to be involved lovingly in what I am cooking, but not encumbered with timing and calculation. And yes, I want to cook what I would be happy to present at a restaurant, but I would happily present the same things to anyone as unfancy as I am. Call me fancy, but I love to love food, and love to share that food and love. Moment over.

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