I have new cooking idol: Mark Bittman . He's a food writer and home cook famous for The Minimalist column in the New York Times, but I got to know him from the gigantic cookbook my aunt Jane gave me for Christmas, How to Cook Everything Vegetarian . It took me until May to start reading it, but recently I've been doing just that-- reading a 1008 page cookbook.
Beyond recipes, this book is filled with pithy charts and lists, inspiring introductions, and more ideas that I will be able to implement for a long time. After a 18-month Moosewood obsession, it's good to have some fresh influences (not that I'm ready to give up on Moosewood).
So I'm inspired. I've been cooking up a storm, and I think an outlet for my creative juices is calming some of the anxious energy that's been plaguing me recently.
If I didn't know it before I moved to South America, I know it now: I love cooking.
- I love starting with the things I have and figuring out what I can make out of them.
- I love trying to make things you can buy premade (peanut butter, mayonnaise, all kinds of sauces and dressings).
- I love reusing leftovers in new ways.
- I love exploring new ingredients, although kasha wasn't the biggest hit at our table.
- I love planning the menu.
- I love arranging the food on the plate so that it's beautiful and enticing.
- I love that Tim loves my cooking and receives all this effort as a gift. It's a gift I love to give.
Someday I'll have children (I hope) and probably won't have time to spend planning menus, doing daily shopping at the market, cooking new meals every day, or (and this is the kicker) cleaning up afterward. Until then, I'm keeping myself busy and happy in the kitchen.