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Winter is Also Cooking & Reading Recipe Time

  • Subject: [cg] Winter is Also Cooking & Reading Recipe Time
  • From: Adam36055@aol.com
  • Date: Mon, 3 Jan 2005 21:45:34 EST

Dear Friends, 

Part of avoiding the fast-food, frozen food, trucked in from 1,500 miles away 
convenience food nexus is learning how to cook what you can find locally, at 
hand, and turn it quickly into good meals. 

Like sex, playing a musical instrument, gardening, painting, or any civilized 
activity, cooking well requires that attention be paid to sense, senusality, 
balance and technique. 

To know how to properly cook what we grow, especially when we get our first 
growths of the season ( "primeurs," as the French call them,) is a joy, and to 
some a responsibilty.   

As an experienced cook, I have spent some downtime over the  last few weeks 
in  watching master chef Jacques Pepin's "Fast Food My Way," on Public TV. 

His books, "La Methode," and "La Technique," (now cheaply combined in a $20 
paperback omnibus) have been the bible  to two generations of American cooks;  
some of you may have enjoyed Pepin as Julia Child's "hands,"  during her last 

However,  this new series and book, "Fast Food My Way," is something else, 

You see, after close to 50 years in the USA, Pepin really knows how Americans 
eat, and how little time we have to cook.  What you see in this show Pepin's  
really fine culinary mind and memory of the complete reperatory of la grande 
cuisine applied to do-able  techniques and recipies that enable even all 
thumbs folks like myself to make wonderful food from simple ingredients.  

However, Pepin does from time to time splash some cognac on some dishes -  
not absolutely  necessary ( but wonderful!) And a better use of Christmas booze 
than putting it in coke! ( See how darn judgemental this Manhattanite 
is.....who do these little offshore island people think they are!) 

My great joy in this PBS show is  watching Jacques Pepin's hands - he's a 
wonderful teacher, and watching him use his knife and cook, in elegantly 
simplified and in many cases de-fatted versions of la cuisine francaise, is like 
watching a brilliant dancer at the top of his game. 

But instead of a flashiness that most of us will never be able to execute, 
the show's many close ups show how any of us can learn to use our hands like he 
does, and take simple ingredients that you have on hand and  make great food - 
if we take the care to pay attention and practice a little. 

And you can download the recipes from the 26 installment series here - 
http://www.kqed.org/w/jpfastfood/home.html. Generally, I only find the books online 
to cook myself, but actually watching the man cook in this 26 part series is a 
joy in and of itself. 

Adam Honigman
Cook and Community Gardener

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