We went to this family restaurant place today where we had hamburger steaks in a tomato and gorgonzola cheese sauce. I had no idea that stinky cheeses could be used to such delicious effect; I've been more willing to experiment lately, more willing to take chances with dishes I may not like rather than sticking just to what I know I will like.
I can attribute this newfound grown-up attitude towards food to a couple of things: I've been trying to get my weight back under control and being more concious of what I'm eating helps with that. Also, I'm addicted to Top Chef.
A while back a friend loaned me the audio book of Anthony Bourdain's "Kitchen Confidential." Bourdain is articulate, coarse, self-depreciating, and no-nonsense, often within the same sentence. I can appreciate that. But, more importantly, Bourdain is able to convey his love of good food, well prepared to a mass audience. And that was something I had never heard before – that good food was not pretentious, nor unavailable to the masses, rather it was something that should be celebrated at its finest levels and taught at the most basic.
Which, of course sent me running to the internets to find examples of the things he was talking about.
I love the internets.
One of the many things I stumbled across was Top Chef. Normally, I would sputter and spout about how I hate reality t.v. But the truth is, these days, there is a reality t.v. show for everyone. And I had just found mine. Instead of the usual run of arguments and cat-fighting, Top Chef focuses on getting the contestents to make really good food. And, sure, there is some of the fighting, because it is a competition after all, but the focus is always on the food.
What amazed, and continues to amaze me, is the things these masters are able to do that would never have occured to me, not because I lack the skills (although I do) but because I had never been to a restaurant that served these kinds of dishes. That's when I decided to begin re-educating myself about food.
It has been a long, slow process that is still only being started. But already there have been lessons taken from Top Chef that I have been able to apply to my life: Portions should be small and balanced. Food should be taken in slowly, with time taken to savor it. Even a few basic kitchen skills can dramatically improve dishes.
So that's what I've been doing.