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Gifted Gourmet

keeping exuberance in your cooking?

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When one cooks either for one's livelihood as a chef, or even at home for the family, how is it possible to maintain the liveliness, the elation, the pleasure, in one's cooking day after day? Does the repetitiveness eventually lead to a certain numbing of performance?

As a chef, when you make your own signature dish for the 400th time, does the pleasure drift ever so slightly? :hmmm: After all, your customer is no doubt tasting it for the very first time in all probability ...

Perhaps the concept of seasonal cooking offers one possible answer ... :rolleyes:

What is your "secret" for maintaining exuberance in your cooking?


Melissa Goodman aka "Gifted Gourmet"

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What is your "secret" for maintaining exuberance in your cooking?

eGullet.org


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

Our 2012 (Kerry Beal and me) Blog

My 2004 eG Blog

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Butter. Bacon. Freshly-grated nutmeg.


I'm a canning clean freak because there's no sorry large enough to cover the, "Oops! I gave you botulism" regrets.

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My trick is shopping in places where I find foods that I'm excited to take home and prepare.

I justify the higher prices I pay at Pike Place Market (and Whole Foods, for that matter) with the thought that (a) it's entertainment and (b) if it's gorgeous and fresh and just what I wanted, it's 100 times less likely to languish in the fridge.

~A


Anita Crotty travel writer & mexican-food addictwww.marriedwithdinner.com

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I get 'into' things. Over the holidays I was doing the chocolate thing, buying and seeking out and comparing taste and what %'s and sweetness' go with what. so many combinations! Before that it was flours and now it's been playing with seafood...With Easter coming it'll be savory holiday dishes. I just go whereever time and cravings take me. Hitting little ethnic markets and georgous farmers markets have been encouraging too. It's Spring, I won't get bored real soon!

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Another vote for eGullet, epecially people's foodblogs.

Getting a new cookbook.

A trip to Mitsuwa for something new that's Asian.

A vaction to a place with different food and/or where I try new restaurants. New restaurants in general.

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Butter.  Bacon.  Freshly-grated nutmeg.

:smile: I finally am in the world of freshly-grated nutmeg.

I was kept out previously by an ill-conceived notion that I needed a special nutmeg grinder. Then I realized all I needed was a nutmeg and a hand grater...

Fresh nutmeg makes a huge difference and it can be beautiful (used in the correct amounts) in both savory and sweet dishes...


"Under the dusty almond trees, ... stalls were set up which sold banana liquor, rolls, blood puddings, chopped fried meat, meat pies, sausage, yucca breads, crullers, buns, corn breads, puff pastes, longanizas, tripes, coconut nougats, rum toddies, along with all sorts of trifles, gewgaws, trinkets, and knickknacks, and cockfights and lottery tickets."

-- Gabriel Garcia Marquez, 1962 "Big Mama's Funeral"

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Restaurants...finding new ideas from all different ethnicities.

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That half-buzzed stage a glass of wine gets me when my stomach is empty.

Having my significant other (or anyone else, for this matter) refill my wine glass while I'm not paying attention.

knowing that some of the dishes will have some "magic" in them... like browned cheese, and crusted bits

claiming chef's privilege when I want to taste something


I always attempt to have the ratio of my intelligence to weight ratio be greater than one. But, I am from the midwest. I am sure you can now understand my life's conundrum.

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I must agree wholeheartedly that eGullet discussions energize me to try to reinvigorate my meal preparations .. and going to a farmer's market or a Whole Foods also makes me challenge myself ...

There was a time, long ago sadly, that Food Network got me up and busy trying new things .... but no longer ... :sad:


Melissa Goodman aka "Gifted Gourmet"

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Funny you should ask b/c I had a bit of a struggle with that one tonight, I did not want to cook and then debone another dover sole, they make a mess of the cutting board and the knife, and the towels. I guess what it comes down to is love. I truely love to cook, I love the pace, the sweat, the anxiety, and the releif. I think I am some what of a junky, I need to have that feeling of accomplishment every day. There are lots of other reasons why I do it, but these are the biggest ones.


"He could blanch anything in the fryolator and finish it in the microwave or under the salamander. Talented guy."

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Funny you should ask b/c I had a bit of a struggle with that one tonight, I did not want to cook and then debone another dover sole, they make a mess of the cutting board and the knife, and the towels.  I guess what it comes down to is love.  I truely love to cook, I love the pace, the sweat, the anxiety, and the releif.  I think I am some what of a junky, I need to have that feeling of accomplishment every day.  There are lots of other reasons why I do it, but these are the biggest ones.

Thank you for putting my thoughts into words for me!

I feel the exact same way about it. I love the pressure and the excitement of a really busy night and I find that I crave it when we are slow. I guess "junkie" is an apt description as I need to have the feeling of accomplishment every night.

I also love the immediate gratification that I get when I watch someone really enjoying my work at the table.

It is what keeps me going through a 14 hour workday!!

Oyster Guy


"Why then, the world is mine oyster, which I with sword, shall open."

William Shakespeare-The Merry Wives of Windsor

"An oyster is a French Kiss that goes all the way." Rodney Clark

"Oyster shuckers are the rock stars of the shellfish industry." Jason Woodside

"Obviously, if you don't love life, you can't enjoy an oyster."

Eleanor Clark

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Food mags sometimes, however it being April it was nothing but lamb and ham in everything I picked up. Pretty bleh. We don't get cable out here and it was a pledge week on PBS no luck there.

Feeding the kids I the biggest challenge, the most frustrating part of cooking everyday. The wife and I love hot and spicy foods, foods from different countries and its just not on budget time or expense to cook two sets of meals everyday.

However, my now old friend, Egullet came through, I was pretty stuck last week torn rotator cuff, etc., then I drooled over Daddy-A's foodblog :wub: the excitement was back! Then I was exploring the Mexico threads and wound up making Tinga and then for a first time empanadas. Outstanding flavors some new dishes the kids would even eat.

Today however was a Big winner. A whiff of smoke while I was standing at the bus stop with my girls. I looked longingly over my at smoker, my sweet Betsy, ah maybe this weekend I thought. Yes I named her. :unsure:

Then neighbor stopped buy and asked if the could cut up some old maple I had on the property, I said sure, and asked if he could cut up an apple tree that didn't make it through the winter.

I took a phone call and looked out to see how he was doing and there was a tidy stack of seasoned apple wood. That’s all I needed, I was off like a shot to get a picnic shoulder, a rack of ribs, some cabbage and beans. It was a beautiful spring day. Not too hot, not too cold.

6 hours later the ribs came off. Succulent tender, spicy, juicy and smoky winter was gone in one bite. I tended to the pork and when I came in the wife, sister in law and my daughter finished the ribs with the exception of two for a family friend. Ah the smoky smell of success the shoulder was looking good.

Two hours later I pulled the shoulder off. The meat was incredibly juicy, deep smoke ring with for the first time a specked red color deep into the meat.

It was bliss. Creamy Coleslaw, BBQ Beans and the best pulled pork I ever made. The pear strudel for desert was pretty special as well.


**************************************************

Ah, it's been way too long since I did a butt. - Susan Fahning aka "snowangel"

--------------------

One summers evening drunk to hell, I sat there nearly lifeless…Warren

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Really good discussion question. I think I would qualify as a "junkie". My son has recommended a 12 step program. But, if I have the drags when I first step in the kitchen, I put on a pan of sauteing onions while I set up for production and then when "creative" time comes around, the aroma of sauteed onions has set the juices flowing.

But somehow, anticipating my eater's pleasure gives me the boost to keep going. I like to visualize a crowd of happy faces before me while I cook.

I'm a private chef so I have a very rare opportunity to have direct and repeated contact with my "audience".

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What is your "secret" for maintaining exuberance in your cooking?

I like to eat and I don't like getting poisoned.

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What is your "secret" for maintaining exuberance in your cooking?

The end result is never so perfect that you can't improve on it just a little, somewhere along the way. The prep could have gone faster, the knife cuts more precise, or the yield better. The assembly and pickup could have been balanced differently or done with less verbalizing and more focus. And on and on and on ...

My husband began to understand once he fell in love with golf.


"Oh, tuna. Tuna, tuna, tuna." -Andy Bernard, The Office

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I go to ethinc markets (of dissimilar ethnicity to myself) and buy things I have no idea how to cook. I then futz around on the internet until a recipe that seems tasty pops up. I usually change it drastically...I usually do this on sunday when I have time to lounge and cook things that may very well be inedible. thank god for pizza.

I also try to reinvent things I remember tasting, but have never cooked. last week I did rabbit paprikash I had tasted (litreally, one bite) when I was about seven. This kind of quest keeps things fresh for me.

egullet

having friends around to feed also keeps things fresh.


does this come in pork?

My name's Emma Feigenbaum.

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For me its 3 fold-

1 - Being a home cook and no longer a resturant cook (30 years ago)...allows total freedom of expression without portion control or answering to the "higher authority".

2 - Having a family and friends who are more than willing to try new things...complimenting successes and critizing failures.

3 - Having my children wander into the kitchen to help with 1 and 2...that may be the best of all...

Mark


Edited by MArkF (log)

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What is your "secret" for maintaining exuberance in your cooking? 

Smoke a joint? :raz:

Seriously tho, I browse through eGullet, the grocery store and a few picture-pretty magazines. I usually get excited about something!


Shelley: Would you like some pie?

Gordon: MASSIVE, MASSIVE QUANTITIES AND A GLASS OF WATER, SWEETHEART. MY SOCKS ARE ON FIRE.

Twin Peaks

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In sort of a zen(y) way,I get juiced when that 400th preparation still tastes as vibrant as the first time. If I find myself bored or non interested at any time, i'll deconstruct it ,examine the parts, and see what energy I can infuse to make it "bright" again, without changing the concept of the dish.

Tim

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It's definitely eGullet that makes any exuberance at all, possible. I have resources... wonderful cookbooks, magazine subscriptions, cooking shows, etc. But eGullet is what bridges my knowledge and experience gap, and gives me information and inspiration to attempt projects I would seldom otherwise take on.

I'm going to make Beef Bourguignon (for the first time ever) this weekend from the Les Halles cookbook. I would never have attempted a dish like this before eGullet. This particular recipe was highly recommended on one thread; I initiated a discussion about cooking with wine on another thread. Without this information, no way would I try something so involved, and with the expense of an entire bottle of wine. But I'm going into it fearlessly, knowing that if I hit any snags, I can search eGullet or initiate a discussion, and have my problem solved quickly, and by people whose knowledge I can rely on. That's invaluable!

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I'm going to make Beef Bourguignon (for the first time ever) this weekend from the Les Halles cookbook.  I would never have attempted a dish like this before eGullet....  But I'm going into it fearlessly, knowing that if I hit any snags, I can search eGullet or initiate a discussion, and have my problem solved quickly, and by people whose knowledge I can rely on.  That's invaluable!

Fair to say that eGullet is a confidence-builder, even to the knowledgeable cook? :rolleyes:


Melissa Goodman aka "Gifted Gourmet"

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For me, E Gullet often helps stir the memory or spark interest in something new and unfamiliar which then gets the imagination going and then the creativity flows.

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It's definitely eGullet that makes any exuberance at all, possible.  I have resources... wonderful cookbooks, magazine subscriptions, cooking shows, etc.  But eGullet is what bridges my knowledge and experience gap, and gives me information and inspiration to attempt projects I would seldom otherwise take on.

I'm going to make Beef Bourguignon (for the first time ever) this weekend from the Les Halles cookbook.  I would never have attempted a dish like this before eGullet.  This particular recipe was highly recommended on one thread; I initiated a discussion about cooking with wine on another thread.  Without this information, no way would I try something so involved, and with the expense of an entire bottle of wine.  But I'm going into it fearlessly, knowing that if I hit any snags, I can search eGullet or initiate a discussion, and have my problem solved quickly, and by people whose knowledge I can rely on.  That's invaluable!

WOW

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Reading a cookbook from another time period. How they did things is amazing. Even if we have new whiz bang methods to do in 10 minutes what used to take 3 weeks, there is usually a unique flavor associated with, "The old way" that often is wonderful and different.

It's definitely eGullet that makes any exuberance at all, possible.  I have resources... wonderful cookbooks, magazine subscriptions, cooking shows, etc.  But eGullet is what bridges my knowledge and experience gap, and gives me information and inspiration to attempt projects I would seldom otherwise take on.

I'm going to make Beef Bourguignon (for the first time ever) this weekend from the Les Halles cookbook.  I would never have attempted a dish like this before eGullet.  This particular recipe was highly recommended on one thread; I initiated a discussion about cooking with wine on another thread.  Without this information, no way would I try something so involved, and with the expense of an entire bottle of wine.  But I'm going into it fearlessly, knowing that if I hit any snags, I can search eGullet or initiate a discussion, and have my problem solved quickly, and by people whose knowledge I can rely on.  That's invaluable!

WOW

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