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November 03, 2007

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Lynn D.

What wonderful reviews, Lindy. Now I want to read Judith Jones' book even more than I did before. I'm also eager to get my hands on the Edna Lewis book she edited which I've not read. I know what you mean about Alice, much as we owe her, there's a certain inflexibility and superiority which does not always go down well. I'd like to see what she'd do with my weekly CSA farm box from Salem, Oregon instead of the bounty of the Berkeley Farmer's Market, or on a budget!

Julie

I just saw Judith Jones speak today at the Library of Congress and I am looking forward to reading her book.

yulinka

Lindy,
You make a great point about using those non-ideal ingredients to make good food. Maybe that’s what why Alice Waters and the like make me bristle with their idea that good, honest food can be made only from those virtuous local, seasonal, organic, hyper-fresh, photogenic ingredients. I really hate to think of people tossing that wilted carrot—a resourceful cook would find a place for it. (Growing up in Russia, I often heard the saying “Soviet housewives can make candy out of s---.”)

Tanna

Both excellent books. Both fascinating different women.
And yes, you can say it again. Waste is not a good thing.

lobstersquad

I so agree with you. It´s pretty easy to grill a wonderful organic steak, and no trouble to slice a perfect tomato, but it´s the other stuff that tells the real cook. Cookbooks are chef-driven, which is fun, but not that useful.

lindy

Lynn-Thank you. You are going to love that book.
Oh, Julie- lucky you! Are you going to write about it? I'm going to check now to see if you did.
yulinka- This is totally off topic, but have you seen a "novel in stories" called, "The Last Chicken in America"? It's linked in my reading column on the left. It is about Russian-Jewish immigrants in Squirrel Hill in Pittsburgh-my very own neighborhood! I thought it was wonderful-funny and sad. and really , really well-written. (Also, it was really neat to read a book recognizing all the landmarks, and small references.)
Tanna-and I wish I could say I never wasted food-but I try.
lobstersquad- True. Not that I don't love slicing that perfect tomato.

the chocolate lady (eve)

I will have to read both of these. The reason I did not snap up the new Alice Waters book at once may seem a little silly, but I just shy away from anything with "simple" in the title. It was for this reason that I declined to become a charter subscriber to John Thorne's Simple Cooking newsletter something like twenty-five years ago, a decision I regret whenever I think about it, so clearly my instincts are flawed. I can't help it.

But have you noticed that everyone who proposes any innovation in the kitchen, table, or market does so in the name of simplicity? Even that carrot-air dude has argued that his way is the most simple presentation of a vegetable's flavor, and maybe he has a point. Escoffier said his elaborate system was a simplification, and even Carême, Mr. pièce montée himself, believed he was simplifying the baker's craft.

Could you make carrot-air out of that wilted carrot, I wonder? Maybe carrot-fog?

saira

Awesome point. It's really refreshing to read something that advocates such a simple, authentic, and truly grateful approach to food. Alice Waters, though she means well, doesn't seem to grasp that all of the amazing food to which she has such immediate access are just not available to those of a certain income level or in a certain region. That's not to say that she's expected to represent the absolute ideal in food appreciation and preparation, not at all. But it's nice to hear someone say that there's nothing wrong with a bit of bruised veg or gristle-y meat, as long as its given the same care and attention that some organically-grown, locally-produced, ridiculously expensive head of cabbage or avocado-fed hog could expect. Excellent post.

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