I’m always surprised when I read those articles that say people don’t really cook much anymore, even though we are more obsessed with food then ever. How do they survive? I cook throughout the day, every day. But, we all like different things, and I’m not surprised by people who don’t like to cook. For example, I hate painting. I’m in the midst of painting the hallway, and soon will do the bedroom after having done the whole kitchen, and I struggle with it. The result is always worthwhile, but the process is just dreadful. I figure that’s how people feel who hate to cook. They want to eat, but they don’t want all that other stuff. I happen to like all that other stuff: thinking about what I have, and what I can make with it, food shopping, food growing, all the prep, the presenting, the eating. Even the cleaning, to some extent, is pleasurable, but when you cook a lot you also clean a lot, and I’ll admit that can be tiresome. Although there’s nothing nicer than a crisp clean kitchen.
My kitchen works in a pleasurable flow that many have described as an ecosystem. Maybe people are not cooking enough to create that flowing system, where meals come out of others. If you are a constant cook you know this feeling already. What’s nice is that everything gets used, and there is little to no waste, which is another thing all of us should be concerned about. I am so curious about how people eat on a daily basis. Although I love seeing interesting ideas from brilliant chefs, it doesn’t really thrill me like the quotidian. It’s not mundane. Sometimes the everyday things are a little extraordinary.
Like the dish pictured above. A carbonara-ish dish, that is a great example of putting together the disparate scraps that surround you. In this instance, a cast iron pan with bacon fat from the morning’s breakfast. A small dish of slightly dried chopped parsley from last night’s dinner. A bowl of spaghetti sitting in the fridge from dinner a few days ago. Salt, pepper and parmesan cheese that are always around, waiting to serve. The pasta is heated up in the fat, a few ends getting crisped up. Then tossed with the rest of the ingredients. I made it for myself, but everyone else in my family asked for some. I didn’t get much in the end.