juliespeaks

The unvoiced thoughts and ideas of a septegenarian.

FOODIES AND COOKS

on May 16, 2012

FOODIES & COOKS

 

There are those who shy away from the stove and depend on frozen TV dinners. I’ve no doubt General Mills and Sara Lee applaud them. They can’t, however, count me among them. Nor can the makers of Ketchup and mustard – camouflages for poorly prepared food or lousy ingredients.  I like to cook and I’m quite good at it. I abhor fast food and most carry-out stuff and happily wander between sink, stove and refrigerator. There are times I am convinced I was born in a kitchen, not in a hospital. (See poem following.) .  Why, you might ask, do you like to cook?

 

The answer is I find cooking to be a creative exercise.   How many twists can I put on mashed potatoes? What’s another way of making chocolate cream pie? What can I do to perk up this dull salad?  Can I safely substitute V-8 juice for catsup? I avoid having dinner parties with themes based on the Fourth of July or Thanksgiving. Where is the creative challenge to be found in celebrating those holidays?  I have no wish to spread an American flag on my table nor have little plastic turkeys scattered around between the wine glasses.   I much prefer to plan dinner parties for about twelve to fourteen based on themes other than Halloween or Mother’s Day.. Here are a couple I’ve done that tickled my imagination and offered a challenge. Recipes are available by request to my email address below.

 

I once read about “The Feast of the Seven Fishes,” an Italian, Catholic, tradition on Christmas Eve, supposedly commemorating the three day wait for Jesus’ resurrection.  I can’t imagine why an event that occurred at Easter should be celebrated at Christmas but, nonetheless, that’s what it is. Although I am neither Italian nor Catholic that “Feast” struck me as a culinary challenge.  Preparing seven fish entrees and accompanying side dishes for a dozen people is no small trick.  After tweaking a menu about 35 times guests were first served a smoked salmon spread on crosini, followed by codfish balls, then five different fish entrees. All fish dishes were accompanied by a starch of some kind and a vegetable. The Chinese whole sweet and sour red snapper and the pan fried Asian trout filets stole the show.

 

A few months later the dinner-theme bug bit me again.  This time it was to be a casual affair, with pillows on the floor, using paper plates and plastic utensils. Guests were invited to partake of an International menu. which consisted of: Israeli salad, Egg Rolls (Japanese), Spanopikita (Greek), Paella (Spanish), Pad Thai, Gorgonzola Pasta (Italian), Mongolian Beef, Persian Rice (Iranian), Asian Sweet & Sour Fish with Danish Apple Crumble and Norwegian Krumkaka for desert – all to be washed down with French wine and German beer.

 

It seems appropriate at this time of year to celebrate summer but I’ve yet to decide on a summer menu.  Briefly – very briefly – I thought about a “Kiddie Food” theme but macaroni and cheese, chicken fingers and PB&J sandwiches is not my idea of a culinary challenge. Summer?  Summer?  What would be on my summer menu? Maybe cold vichyssoise or gazpacho, apple cole slaw,  potato/onion gratin, Drunken Drumsticks, thin slices of rare roast beef atop a bed of sautéed spinach and, for desert, fresh strawberry or blueberry pie with Kailua flavored crème frache.  Gotta tune that up a little.

 

The Kitchen follows.

 

Post a comment – share a recipe.

 

Julie Rose

Julierose601@gmail.com

 

THE KITCHEN (abbreviated)

 

I’m convinced I was born in a kitchen, not in a hospital.

The oven was my womb; my umbilical cord led to the sink.

I came out smelling like garlic, whining like an old mixer. . . .

 

My kitchen is my inner self . . .

The oven affords me time for reflection

The blender scrambles my thoughts into new ideas. . .

It is my internal clock

Wakes me to the aroma of fresh brewed coffee. . .

Lulls me to sleep at night with warm herbal tea

 

The kitchen is my smile.

I grin at a plate of chocolate brownies

Beam at a tasty pasta creation

Clap for a stack of crispy potato pancakes.

Glow when others applaud some dish

It’s also my frown.

Aerated foam is not whipped cream

Burnt bottoms on muffins are cause for divorce

And sticky rice is not nice. . . .

 

My kitchen demands balance and imagination,

Judgment, prudence and patience

There my visa is stamped, a passport to adventure.

An introduction to food from other cultures

. . .

Bury me, please, not with a headstone,

But with a sprig of thyme under my nose

And a cherry tree at my feet.

 

 

 

Advertisements

2 responses to “FOODIES AND COOKS

  1. janet says:

    Thanks for the Bourbon Cake recipe….sounds delicious. I know the apple cake is, too.
    As for the kids picnic, maybe do a grown-up version of all the stuff kids like, ie, hot dogs for the kids and grilled sausage for the grown-ups, with sauteed onions and chopped tomatoes; potato chips for the kids and a great potato salad for the parents: lemonade for the kids and a nice lemon and seltzer cooler for the others, Ice cream bars for the kids and an ice cream pie for the adults, etc.
    I really like your kitchen poem, Julie.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: