Cooking Inspiration

My wee summer vacation slipped through my fingers quickly, and paired with a less than sunny Seattle summer weather, I found myself often in the Public library pouring over cookbooks. For the first time ever, it was the intros I was after rather than the recipes.  Filled with tips, inspirations, and general cooking know how, these precious few pages before the omnibus of recipes begin are like private lessons from the world’s best chefs. To keep myself motivated as I approach my third decade, I’ve started scribbling (ok, typing really) down those that strike a deep chord.

Alice Waters: Chez Panisse Vegetables

“Exact quantities should never matter as much to a good cook or vegetables (or of anything else) as her confidence in her own senses.”

Connie Trang: Essentials of Asian Cuisine
“The most important lesson I took from French cuisine was its notion of structure in cooking. When one learns the “architecture” of a cuisine, the rest will follow.”

Rick Bayles: Mexican Everyday
“Essential Learning #5 The world’s most time-honored cuisines illustrate that; 1, everyday eating is best kept to deliciously seasoned simple preparations of natural ingredients (mostly unrefined and balanced among a variety of fruits, vegetables, grains, legumes, and meat) Served in moderate portions and 2, fabulous feasts, once a week, or for special occasions are an essential part of our healthy nourishment.”

Daniel Boulud: Letters to a Young Chef
“Never worry that someone will come along who is as good as you are. Two cooks- working as a team are much more valuable than one good cook. In cooking as in music, harmony is greater than the sum of its parts.”

It is however, these opening lines from the 1966 publication of Julia Child’s groundbreaking The Art of French Cooking, that makes me appreciate and envy the generations before me, who grew up with this culinary icon, as apposed to my generations’ TV cooks, RR and Sandra Lee

“This is a book for the servantless American cook who can be unconcerned on occasion with budgets, waistlines, time schedules, children’s meals, the parent-chauffeur-den-mother syndrome, or anything else which might interfere with the enjoyment of producing something wonderful to eat.”

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