Sunday, November 23, 2008

What's Cookin'?

I LOVE cooking and everything related (except for cleanup and thank goodness I'm married to Felix Unger), from reading labels and prodding vegetables at the grocery store, to mincing and chopping and sauteeing. Oooh, and finishing touches, like piping frosting onto cookies, adding little sprigs of herbs (or fresh edible flowers) to make a dish look pretty, or choosing just the right serving dish.
My cooking impulses have run the gamut, from sweet to strange, to what-on-earth? Like:

1) Escargot. A special request and a true labor of love, involving poking seasoned and slippery snail bodies into decorative shells. Requiring lots of garlic, and--for me--to put aside all queasy common sense that snails are garden pests. Period.

2) Gingerbread houses--TWENTY, all topped with gumdrops and cinnamon red hots and candy canes . . . and itsy bitsy "Welcome" mats.

3) Christmas Yule Log: with knots and textured chocolate "bark", and little green leaves . . . and enough butter and cream to occlude the arteries of an entire city.

4) Abalone steaks: that rare, amazing Northern California shellfish that when perfectly pounded, floured and sauteed in butter . . . is a true delicacy. Ask the sea otters.

5) Tiramisu: the wonderful Italian dessert (with lady fingers, marscapone cheese and Kahlua) that hubby and I have been privileged to savor in romantic spots around the globe. And now reproduce at home in a healthier "Cooking Light" version.

6) Monkfish: freakiest fish you've ever seen, but a yummy "poor man's lobster." Steam, grill, enjoy . . . then try to forget where it came from, so you can sleep without nightmares.

For me, cooking is a lot like writing: creating something and then offering it for the enjoyment of others. Adding/writing in special touches (edible flowers, quirky characters), sweetness (tiramisu, love scenes) . . . local flavor (abalone, colorful settings), unexpected surprises (monkfish, escargot--and unpredictable characters!).

As Thanksgiving approaches, I'm doing both. Planning food, and writing scenes. Love it.

Happy Turkey Day and warm blessings everyone !


Mocha with Linda said...

I'm not quite as ambitious as you are, but I've always loved to cook and bake. It's always been a bit of a stress relief for me.

CandaceCalvert said...

Ambitious . . . or part kamikaze, maybe. I've had some colorful disasters.

Agree about baking. I used to do a Christmas cookie bake with girlfriends. So much fun, so much laughter. And everyone had flour on their faces by the end of the day. :-)