“Tell me what you eat, and I will tell you what you are.” Jean Anthelme Brillat-Savarin
For most gastronomes, culinary specialists, chefs, nutritionists as well as home cooks, food being cooked, served or even eaten reflects a lot of the “mood within”. For instance, if one is extremely tired after a long day, the easiest meal to make in a jiffy for a home cook is pasta and cheese followed by ice cream for the sweet end. On the other hand, to mark any special occasion, the requirement of a full three course meal (salad or appetizer, main course and meat) completed by a splendid (if not necessarily elaborate) dessert is a must. When in an angry mood, every chef at heart will go with their inner basic meal, not tuning to art of the eye, but just ensuring that the basic taste is palatable. Too irritated or bothered to cook, it will be pizza or “Chinese order” on the house. And when the mood is sad, it will be the comfort food , homemade, with a striking resemblance to one’s childhood or mother’s style, or the fast food version.
“The preparation of good food is merely another expression of art, one of the joys of civilized living.” Dione Lucas
Essentially, cooking is a very sensitive art. While one mayn’t have the intensive training or qualification to be a chef of Michelin three or five star rated restaurant, but if one can make a complete wholesome meal for self, family and friends, that alone is enough. In fact, cooking is an expression of love. For every ingredient which balances the meal, it is a reflection of the care, precision and the basics of science behind it.
“Anybody can make you enjoy the first bite of a dish, but only a real chef can make you enjoy the last.” Francois Minot
The “effective cooking” of today, is a balance of food and fun, of taste, experimentation and readily available ingredients. While baking involves following the written or “handed down” instructions to the point; cooking involves a little experimentation of ingredients, spices as well as art. The evolution of cooking into “culinary arts” over the years, has resulted in a whole new range of varied dishes blended together with taste, nutrition, quality, tradition, serving, managing as well as visual presentation to complete the effect.
“The discovery of a new dish confers more happiness on humanity, than the discovery of a new star.” Jean Anthelme Brillat-Savarin
Entering into the month of “culinary arts” (July); the professional cooks and chefs who bring innovative cuisine from their kitchens to our tables every day are being recognized not just for their talent but devotion as well as contribution to cooking as an art form. For the home cook to experiment with technique and style, vast differences can be made by the order of adding the ingredients, plating as well as trying and blending the new recipes with the old ones. To start off, experimenting in small amounts can be tried. While most of the time, home cooking involves the regular, to celebrate this month, it would be good to plate the regular different or try something new altogether. For every cook, is indeed a chef with a hidden artistic side.
“Culinary tradition is not always based on fact. Sometimes it’s based on history, on habits that come out of a time when kitchens were fueled by charcoal.” Alton Brown
“In the abstract art of cooking,
ingredients trump appliances,
passion supersedes expertise,
creativity triumphs over technique,
spontaneity inspires invention,
and wine makes even the worst culinary disaster taste delicious.”