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I have just been reading the "Dinner" thread and, while all the things on there sound wonderful ( not as wonderful as my posts on there mind you but then I am Bengali and as Cecil Rhodes put it " have won first prize in the lottery of life" :biggrin: ) I noticed that

a) The meals by those in the group who I know to be in their twenties are quite complicated involving lots of ingredients and and flavours and time.

b) The meals by those I know to be older than me ( I am 39 in a few weeks ) see to be much more simple with one or two ingredients.

I am not comparing one to the other as they all sound exemplary, but I do find myself drawn more to the simpler dishes

I have found in eating out also that my tastes have become increasingly simple. I would always choose a plate of well grilled meats with a salad over a lavishly constructed dish that works on many layers. That is not to say that there are not times that I would have the latter, but my preference is clear.

Is this to do with age? Is it to do with eating such a variety of things that I am jaded? Is is just a personal thing?

Any other experiences?

S

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I know that the meal we have enjoyed most in the last week was pan-fried tilapia topped with a simple lemon/butter sauce. Is it age? I don't know for sure but I certainly qualify! No matter how fancy we may get, we are glad to return to simplicity - like last night's dinner - French onion soup - so delightful we were silent until our bowls were empty. Or maybe too old and too married to have much to say! NOT. But we do talk more when the meal is more complex - when its simple it's as if it's enough to relish the simplicity and save the talk for later.

Anna Nielsen aka "Anna N"

...I just let people know about something I made for supper that they might enjoy, too. That's all it is. (Nigel Slater)

"Cooking is about doing the best with what you have . . . and succeeding." John Thorne

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b) The meals by those I know to be older than me ( I am 39 in a few weeks ) see to be much more simple with one or two ingredients.

Perhaps we're just less energetic, and chaos has less appeal.

Susan Fahning aka "snowangel"
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i want to cook for myself and my husband every day, yet i don't have the time to experiment or produce labor-intensive meals very often. nor have i access to the kind of ingredients i prefer, so i basically work from staples, including lots of grains and spices, and the occasional piece of fresh fish.

laelty i'm very into using bourdain's instructions for fish--salt and oil then roast in foil in a very hot even. and i use other egullet tips for flavor--rubbing with cracked peppercorns and coriander; the next day the cold leftover salmon goes well with some simple vegs--last night i made gujarati carrots--they were just heated with black mustard seeds popped in oil in a skillet, and some cabbage and peas heated with cumin and turmeric and chile powder.

i also confess health and weight are two constant concerns for me. i love to eat and i don't deprive myself, but i stick to a very healthy diet during the week, or when i am feeling particularly in need of some rest and self-pampering. the challenge is to eat healthily and deliciously at the same time. i am very much on the no-carbs bandwagon--that is, no refined flours, sugars, white rice, etc.--i notice a huge difference in how i feel. but it gets tricky, becasue sometimes i just want a slab of hefty bread with butter, or a giant homemade brownie. i try to satisfy my cravings with big salads with nuts and avocados, or smoothies made with soy milk and blueberries and a banana. any other suggestions for easy low-refinded carb fare would be appreciated.

if my tastes change at all as i age--and, hell, i'm only 35--they change only in the sense that i listen more carefully to my body and try to take care of it, as i am reaching the age where it won't always do what i want it to do. i want to be able to bend over and tie my own shoes when i'm 80. :wink:

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Simon, a most interesting thread.

Makes great sense. I have seen even in my last 10 years that progressively I have gone from craving and preparing complex dishes to enjoying the bold pleasure that is mine after savoring simple dishes today.

If things remain as they seem to be naturally headed, I fear like my grandma, I will one day use canned beans with little if any embarrassment. Maybe I need to be the next canned bean user to fill her void. She used them when she needed to. Beans had been reduced to a pleasure they indulged in sparingly. They are not easy on the tummy, especially older ones. So the far lighter lentils and peas were used for daily cooking. And they also just happen to be easier to prepare.

Life has a great way of humbling us.. and certainly our tastes evolve and just plain ole life happens.

As for Indian food being simple, I have to agree with you that your recipes are very simple and I enjoy them for that reason. But what may be simple to you and I may seem frightening to some here for it is foreign in some ways as well.

A simple bruschetta seemed a great ordeal for me to prepare until I had lost my fear of the unknown. The same is true for preparing corn bread.

But yes, my tastes are getting simpler by the day.

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:hmmm: Ruth's first law of cooking: Pleasure derived must equal or surpass energy expended.

As I get older, it takes more and more energy to cook and there is just not enough pleasure available to justify complicated recipes. I also have simpler tastes now. And sometimes when making a favorite dish that I haven't made for a while I sadly find I don't like it anymore.

Is it age or loss of ability to taste, or does one follow the other? I lost some of my sense of smell to a particularly bad virus several years ago, and have a theory that about half my taste buds must have burned off because i like my food so hot (temperature, not peppers).

There is the joy, still, of finding a fantastic new recipe, of having the first BLT of the season,with a thick slab of beefsteak tomato.

I think I'm getting depressed.

Edited by ruthcooks (log)

Ruth Dondanville aka "ruthcooks"

“Are you making a statement, or are you making dinner?” Mario Batali

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There is the joy, still, of finding a fantastic new recipe, of having the first BLT of the season,with a thick slab of beefsteak tomato. 

I think I'm getting depressed.

Do not be. You are describing a joy many people share with you.

While I am not able to enjoy a BLT, I know people I love that crave it often and find it very satisfying. And a thick slab of beefsteak tomato is a wonderful and joyous thing. Especially in those summer months.

You have made me smile with joy, hope and fond memories. Thanks!

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Sorry, Suvir, I think I should have reversed those last two paragraphs to reflect a hopeful note. The depression seems to be coming from somewhere else.

What a poetic tribute you wrote to your Nani. I, too, had a wonderful grandmother. She has been gone for over 40 years, but I still think of her almost daily. My thoughts are with you.

Ruth Dondanville aka "ruthcooks"

“Are you making a statement, or are you making dinner?” Mario Batali

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Sorry, Suvir, I think I should have reversed those last two paragraphs to reflect a hopeful note.  The depression seems to be coming from somewhere else.

What a poetic tribute you wrote to your Nani.  I, too, had a wonderful grandmother.  She has been gone for over 40 years, but I still think of her almost daily.  My thoughts are with you.

Thanks for your kind thoughts.

No need to reverse what you said. It was said and it is behind you. You have moved on. The moment is changed.

We are now here and speaking of your wonderful grandmother.

I am sure as you think of her and those wonderful things about her that have haunted you for over 40 years, you will find many reasons to let you momentary depression not be anything more.

Thanks for helping me deal with mine better. :smile:

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Will Durant noted that civilizations grow decadent and effete with age. I would have expected the same for people, not the opposite. However, I myself am well into my dodderage dotage, and my diet consists almost entirely of tepid water. When I feel decadent and effete, I mix some Evian with some Badoit for flavor layering and add an ice cube, but mostly it's just tap.

I thought dodderage was a word.

Edited by ivan (log)

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ID

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Is this to do with age?  Is it to do with eating such a variety of things that I am jaded?  Is is just a personal thing?

With the passing years one sheds one’s impressionability, thankfully, and becomes less distracted to that which is designed to attract attention and more drawn to that which has integrity.

With language, even when grammar is obeyed, lexical permutations are limitless. And so, with ingredients and technique culinary possibilities seem boundless. However, only a very small part of what is possible makes sense, gastronomic or otherwise. Maybe it’s through this realization that we realize that there is far more probability in rubbing shoulders with perfection amongst the commonplace than beneath a bevy of outlandish, but novel, garnishing.

I should add that I am still only nineteen.

(Shouldn’t this thread be in the Symposium?)

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In my humble opinion, I think that the simplest dishes can be the hardest to prepare. You really have to have the best food quality, great kitchen skills and freshest ingredients/spices to pull it off. You can mask a multitude of sins with a heavy hand in the kitchen.

What disease did cured ham actually have?

Megan sandwich: White bread, Miracle Whip and Italian submarine dressing. {Megan is 4 y.o.}

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Is this to do with age?  Is it to do with eating such a variety of things that I am jaded?  Is is just a personal thing?

With the passing years one sheds one’s impressionability, thankfully, and becomes less distracted to that which is designed to attract attention and more drawn to that which has integrity.

With language, even when grammar is obeyed, lexical permutations are limitless. And so, with ingredients and technique culinary possibilities seem boundless. However, only a very small part of what is possible makes sense, gastronomic or otherwise. Maybe it’s through this realization that we realize that there is far more probability in rubbing shoulders with perfection amongst the commonplace than beneath a bevy of outlandish, but novel, garnishing.

I should add that I am still only nineteen.

(Shouldn’t this thread be in the Symposium?)

"...it's through this realization that we realize..."

You're not a day over 16, are you?

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ID

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Simon: This is the first topic I read this morning, and it was if you were reading my (not that well-furnished)! mind. It's taken me all day to semi sort it out.

Lord, the wonderful/terrible food waves I have lived through. Remember Adele Davis...all that wheat germ and blackstrap molasses? Blech. Then old style Cantonese, decidedly "non-Northern" or even close to authentic Italian. Steak houses. Bistro French and trattoria Italian, and yes! English food during the Grand Tour. Still love Scotch Eggs and Bangers and Mash.

Marriage to a man even more food-obsessed than I. Making sausage and gallantines. Truite au bleu and Pithiviers. Ravioli without a pasta machine.

Then, as my cookbook shelf attests: Cuisine Minceur. Books without number on Chinese and Japanese food. Charlie Trotter. Eric Ripert. Thomas Kellar.

I can no longer eat Asian food..(except maybe an eggroll.) Those decades where we made it four times a week, and practically learned Mandarin from our conversations with the greengrocer! Bok choy makes me gag, as does the scent of sauteeing ginger...or even soy sauce! Tragic, and I mean it.

I want a hanger steak and frites and a good salad. Potatoes in any of their delightful guises. Vegetables that are actually cooked. A duxelles omelette a la Elizabeth David. Montreal smoked meat. Oysters. Pea soup. Roast chicken. Rhubarb pie.

I don't feel good about this. In our cooking prime my husband would arrive from the shops with a mystery basket and announce, beaming: "This week we will sample the foods of Upper Volta!" Or Albania. Or Lappland. Or B through C in Escoffier. And I would be terribly happy and excited.

He is still that way, God love him. But for me, for awhile...just fresh, plain and lovely

Margaret McArthur

"Take it easy, but take it."

Studs Terkel

1912-2008

A sensational tennis blog from freakyfrites

margaretmcarthur.com

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I changed in my thirties, and I could even list the eating experiences which I associate with the change.  It wasn't quite overnight, but I stopped thinking that dramatic new combinations of ingredients made eating exciting.

perhaps your perception of "dramatic" has changed as well?

people, generally, become more conservative as they age. it's no surprise that the most exciting chefs coming out, still, are in their 20's and early 30's. they're not afraid.

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Simon Majumdar

I have just been reading the "Dinner" thread and, while all the things on there sound wonderful ( not as wonderful as my posts on there mind you but then I am Bengali and as Cecil Rhodes put it " have won first prize in the lottery of life"  ) I noticed that

a) The meals by those in the group who I know to be in their twenties are quite complicated involving lots of ingredients and and flavours and time.

b) The meals by those I know to be older than me ( I am 39 in a few weeks ) see to be much more simple with one or two ingredients.

You know you are getting older when it takes you all night to do what you used to do all night. :cool:

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i'm 45, and i have yet to come to a stage where i'd be able to make something complicated/complex. still working on simple combinations of tastes and flavours. and slowly, slowly...i'll probably never live to experience to be blasé or jaded.

christianh@geol.ku.dk. just in case.

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The first cookbook I ever bought was The New Basics. I didn't know a thing about cooking at the time, and I was intimidated into believing that a long list of often-expensive ingredients meant more sophisticated results. In those days, I also used to listen to big, Germanic symphonic works and and dress in complicated, affected styles (post-punk boho, or whatever).

Now, I like to cook simply for the most part, not because I've gotten lazier as I get older but because I know what's essential and what's superfluous in a dish. I prefer austere chamber music to full symphonies. I don't own heaps of trendoid clothing anymore. I think the fun experimentation gradually gave way to clarity. I just hope that this contentment doesn't eventually turn me into a conservative curmudgeon.

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