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Chris Amirault

What Kind of a Cook Are You?

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My style revolves around french technique, as that has been my training my whole life, my father is a chef and now, so am I. I do spend a lot of time (at home) making things that I grew up eating, all comfort food, just what I like to eat at home now. Meatloaf, spaghetti, chicken cacciatore, cassoulet, ect.

At the restaurant, the food I cook is based on seasonal, regional and fresh. Much of the food is based on flavors france and/or spain. I like it to be playful and thought inspiring. I want people to walk out with a smile.

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I'd say I'm a curious cook. I've never had a problem plunging into new cuisines or methods, so long as the basic tennets and principles interest me, and seem reproducible in my small, home kitchen, with limited resources and (not to mention) stamina. For example, I rarely deep fry, because the mess and the waste just aren't worth it for me. I'll go to the pros for my french fry/onion ring/fried chicken/fish & chips fix.

But, I will, when something catches my fancy, plunge full into it. I once, a million years ago, worked for a small company owned by a man from India and his Swedish wife. One of the other key employees was also Indian, and his wife eventually joined us as an employee. The smells of their food....and the samples they shared, launched my decades-long love of Indian food. And, I must say, for a Polish/Norwegian/Southern California-by-way-of-Chicago's-South Side girl....I'm a damn fine Indian cook. Pretty much self-taught, but still, I'm really good. Same for Cajun/Creole food.

But the roots are feeding the soul. Whether it's a beautiful butter chicken with a pilaf, dal and raita, or gumbo, or my cabbage rolls, its about feeding the soul. Curious, yes. But my aim is always, ALWAYS, to comfort and soothe and nuture. That's the reason I cook.


--Roberta--

"Let's slip out of these wet clothes, and into a dry Martini" - Robert Benchley

Pierogi's eG Foodblog

My *outside* blog, "A Pound Of Yeast"

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I'm a maturing, opinionated, meditative, but joyous cook. Cooking is very primal for me -- I feel that we should pay more attention to the quality of our food, air, and water. My cooking has become simpler over the years; I'm less interested in "show-off" cooking and elaborate techniques than I am in where my ingredients come from and what they have to teach me. Cooking is a dialogue that the food and I engage in with fire as the mediator. It's about transformation -- often in unexpected and delightfully surprising ways. But it's also about community, whether recipes handed down from family members, ingredients purchased from neighbors at the farmers market, or insights learned from online friends around the world.

Mostly, I want people to be as happy eating my food as I am cooking it.

Bingo. How well said, and pretty much describes me as well.

Then I am in excellent company. And blushing furiously.

@sparrowgrass: You're right. Apparently many of us think in paragraphs, not tweets. I wonder if we cook in paragraphs, too?

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This is my first post. I joined the past weekend. As I said in my application and as others have above, this is a creative outlet for me. I have a regular, corporate kind of job, but I am at heart a frustrated artist. I make jewelry, silver and copper chains, bracelets, earrings, necklaces, but at the end of that day my family still wants to eat and so do I. Cooking fills that niche for me. I have finally figured out that I just love the process of making things. So having everyone happy and moaning over the food is a bonus.

I would say I'm an adventurous cook. No recipe scares me and I have no problem making something I've never made before for guests coming for dinner. I try to give people something that they may never have had before. I want to stretch their food boundaries. We've got an 18 year old son. We laugh because he's eaten things that we say we never had till we were 35. He's been lucky enough to eat at some of the finest restaurants in the world. He realizes that his boundaries have stretched and he understands how fortunate he is.

I also like to make things that aren't so common.....I can jellies and jams and make pickles every year; I make my own cheese (mozzarella and ricotta and have some cheddar aging now) I just got a smoker so I could cold smoke home cured bacon; I want to cure my own hams; I want to make pastrami; I keep threatening to get some chickens for the backyard; I grow some vegetables and lots of herbs; if I could get some goats for the backyard, I'd get them too and make my own goat cheese. We're in South Texas and my husband will hunt and bring home venison. (Venison is one of the world's best meats) I want to use those feral hogs here to make that ham I am hankering for.

It's all fun as far as I'm concerned.

So, am I insane? I dunno, maybe.....but it's fun and we certainly eat well.

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I hate to cook. My husband likes to eat. eGullet helped make cooking interesting to me. If not fun.

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I'm a whole beast kinda cook. I like to catch/kill/raise my own fish, fowl and beasts and then find ways of using as much of them as possible. I catch Spring (Kings to those south of the 48th parallel)salmon and make caviar from the roe sacs, stock from the bones, toast the skin, and roast the heads all before even touching the meat itself which I cure, or smoke or candy on top of the traditional and nontraditional methods of cooking. I hunt my own deer, bear, moose, waterfowl, game birds, and small game and use the organs on top of the flesh. Even the bones get roasted and simmered for stocks. We will be raising our own Tamworth pork this year and adding Khaki Campbell ducks for eggs next year. I make charcuterie and use sous vide as a cooking technique and continually experiment with different flavors and preparations. I frustrate my wife to no end because I never write down recipes and rarely make the same thing twice. I cook everything from Asian and Indian inspired dishes to rustic classics and home made junk food.

I guess I'm a culinary schizophrenic with a severe case of gastronomical ADHD.

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I'm a passionate cook who get's off on wowing my friends family and acquaintances. I am not afraid to be adventurous in my cooking, but I am always interested in knowing what foods my company does not like. My ultimate pleasure is to see the look on their faces when they find my presentations delectable and it tickles their taste buds. I'll spend days or even weeks thinking about a menu before I cook it. And yes I do giggle excitedly to myself when I'm about to start cooking for a dinner party or when something comes out amazingly delicious.

Gee this is like therapy, I get to get stuff out to people that actually understand me..

yes, I am a cookaholic :smile:


“I cook with wine, sometimes I even add it to the food.”

W.C. Fields

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I like making interesting things with whatever looks good in the market. I learned to cook from my father, who learned from his mother. I like historic cookbooks and learning new techniques from modern cookbooks, but most of what I do is improvised, and ingredients always come first.


Edited by David A. Goldfarb (log)

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I am a plodding cook and a slow learner .... at least half of what I cook comes out merely OK. But I enjoy the time in the kitchen, using my hands and not much of my brain, to make meals. Times when the meal tastes wonderful keep me going, to try and achieve the same delight again.


*****

"Did you see what Julia Child did to that chicken?" ... Howard Borden on "Bob Newhart"

*****

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I've seen the words experimental and adventurous used in previous descriptions; I'd sign on to both of those. I'm of the "try anything once" school of cookery -- and of life in general. Cooking is something I've done all my life, but only for the past two or three years as anything other than what had to be done to stand between me and hunger. It's a way to explore other lands, cultures, histories. It's a way to sample new experiences and tastes; in the past year, I've cooked things I'd never eaten before.

It's just another way of learning.


Don't ask. Eat it.

www.kayatthekeyboard.wordpress.com

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I would consider myself a semi-spontaneous cook unless I have a previously planned party or occasion to cook for. I'm also more of a baker than a cook...I love sweets.

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I am mostly an improvisational cook. I like to throw things together, to make a nice meal out of whatever is in the house. I often can't leave recipes alone - except for baking and sometimes not even then. I try to cook relatively healthy food - vegetarian if I'm not too lazy, but at least low saturated fat. My father loved to cook, which was unusual for men of his generation. I cannot match him in his ability to mess up a kitchen (but he did it with flair). The family recipes are important to me but I don't feel bound by them. If I'm making up a dish I may tell people that it is an old family recipe so they don't dare criticize it :raz: !

Your description is similar to how I appoach this hobby. I'm a home cook that often cooks on the fly with what I have on hand. I don't cook by recipe but like to research the concepts of a dish and then do my take on it. I am a lover of ethnic foods. Never getting too hung up on any one cuisine. I have a rich history of ethnic family foods. I am adventurous in that I will try just about anything once and am not afraid to tackle difficult or tedious projects. I enjoy my food more than going out and get enjoyment out of feeding others.

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I'd describe myself as a classically trained, "extreme from-scratch", professional home cook.

I am extraordinarily lucky to be able to work with the freshest ingredients possible as we grow 95% of the food I cook including our own poultry (and eggs, of course), beef, pork, lamb etc, which we butcher ourselves. I make our own sausages and cure and smoke all our own meats from bacon and ham to pastrami, corned beef & BBQ ribs and brisket. We have an extensive garden and a greenhouse from which we harvest lots of fresh herbs and enough produce to last most of the year. We're a small commercial goat cheese dairy here too so naturally all our dairy products are home-made and top-notch too. I also worked as a restaurant baker and pastry chef (in a previous life!) and had my own candy company for a while so breads and desserts come pretty easily too.

We're extremely busy with our diverse activities here so I'm primarily an "ala minute" cook, preferring to quickly grill or sauté up a meal over more involved procedures. Aside from some baking, I haven’t used a recipe in 30 years. I rely heavily on a supply quality base items prepared well in advance (like a variety of rich frozen stocks, glace de viands, custom spice blends etc), a well-stocked pantry of staples (my wife kids me that it looks more like I’m provisioning for the end of the world than shopping when I go to the grocery store – flour, sugar, dry beans, salt etc.). Mise en Place is my best friend in the kitchen. I work fast and keep very organized to maximize my proficiency while multitasking through a meal prep. I enjoy cooking highly-seasoned and complex foods and appreciate a good culinary challenge like friends showing up for dinner with an elk carcass, or a having to pull together a last-minute meal for an unexpected group.


The Big Cheese

BlackMesaRanch.com

My Blog: "The Kitchen Chronicles"

BMR on FaceBook

"The Flavor of the White Mountains"

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I am an asian, southern, tex-mex, with fanstatic deserts cook, who loves nothing more than losing myself experimenting with food.

(now that I have a new tagine, this may change :wub: )


"I eat fat back, because bacon is too lean"

-overheard from a 105 year old man

"The only time to eat diet food is while waiting for the steak to cook" - Julia Child

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I'm the sort of cook that grew up playing with Legos without wanting to look at the instructions. Sometimes I'd have to cheat a little and a police station ended up looking just like a police station. But one time the fire station ended up as a spaceship. The final product maybe didn't always have an official 'name', but I was usually pleased with it and had a helluva time making it.

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interesting question, goes along with my wonders about a signature dish. I don't have one, as I practically never make the same thing twice the same way.

Above all I'm a meat cook, if there's no meat (and I include seafood in this) involved I have little interest in making it. There are exceptions of course, soups for one, but in general there's always some meat being worked on. And I'm getting more and more into charcuterie, plan to make my own sausages next week (hopefully) and like to do as much as I can from scratch and as fresh as possible. Meat grinder, pasta machine, canning equipment, all available. I also love to make pickled things, I wish I had more room for storage to make batches that justify the work.

I also love chopping, cutting, dicing, could do that all day.

Despite a pretty good cook book collection, a bit over 200 now I guess, I don't cook "a recipe" all too often. That would involve writing a shopping list and being all organized about it :laugh: I use recipes as inspiration and change them depending on mood or what's in the house.

I actually plan to change that ans start what I decided to call threesomes, I plan to pick a random book off the shelf and make any three dishes from it, picked at random or by reading through the book. Mainly to make use of my books.

I doubt though, that I'll ever have a signature dish.

Oh, and guest are usually guinea pigs around here, it's one of those times where I do make recipes I've never made before. It's more fun to enjoy a successful meal with more people - or laugh about the disaster :laugh:

I sometimes dream of becoming a butcher once the kids are old enough for me to have to work again....


"And don't forget music - music in the kitchen is an essential ingredient!"

- Thomas Keller

Diablo Kitchen, my food blog

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What a fun question and what interesting responses. I have greatly enjoyed reading this thread.

I would call myself an eclectic, intuitive, from scratch cook.

Eclectic because I cook the cuisines of many countries and cultures and intuitive because I rarely follow a recipe. I either cook off the cuff from taste/flavor memory or I look at several recipes for a dish to get a basic idea of what I want and then I go from there without actually following a recipe.

I tend to cook farm to table but am not a slave to the notion. I don't buy commercially raised meats but I do buy veggies and fruit from the market in the winter when things are not available locally. I put up a lot of the bounty from my CSA so I can enjoy a good bit of that throughout the winter but if I want fresh broccoli or oranges I am not going to deprive myself.

I have never been a baker (I'm sure because I can't follow a recipe!)but I have experimented more with baking lately and have been enjoying it.

Wowing my husband or guests isn't my goal but of course I want them to enjoy what I make. I also want them to feel thought of and cared for. Cooking is really my only creative outlet and it is also one of the wayss I express my love and fondness for family and friends.


Edited by LuckyGirl (log)

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I am compelled to cook the way some athletes are born to run. I like to cook more than I like to eat what I cook - but I eat plenty of it. Cooking, whether to faithfully recreate a memory or tradition, or to improvise from the leftovers is my creative necessity. I gave up one profession to do it and it is endlessly satisfying for my inner self. The bonus is that it brings me endless pleasure to see my family and guests and clients moan with pleasure. It is such a disappointment that my husband is indifferent to it.

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Great question!

I think I was going for the Tweet/elevator speech/SEO mindset when I came up with the handle "The Tightwad Gourmand" that I sometimes use to describe myself. Current fiscal realities have made me even more of a tightwad than before--and recent constraints on my time have forced me to become a bit of a time-miser as well--but I still manage to have fun making fun and interesting food. In fact, it's become my favorite form of cheap recreation to go sleuthing out budget markets and meals. This frugality also intersects well with my interest in ethnic cuisines, especially the Asian ones, as these food traditions tend to be a lot kinder to people who don't have a bunch of money with which to sustain themselves. I mean, yeah, you can of course go all luxury with 'em when and if you want ... but you can go low-budget and still have an interesting, fabulous meal.

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