Tradition and taste


Forgive my inebriated ramblings (thank, Blogger, for installing a spellchecker so I won't be making too big of an arse of myself) but tonight's post is on taste.

It was prompted as I stood over my kitchen sink, feeling like an ordinary scullery maid scouring the pots and pans that I used for tonight's dinner. As I dried off the pots, I realized that this evening, I had taken out my dad's pasta cauldron (for lack of a better word) to boil our conchiglie rigate. Not only does it contain half a swimming pool's worth of water, it also comes to a rolling boil much faster than any of the pots that I own.

On top of it, in the pic, or rather inside of it, sits my newest favourite, my sauté pan. It took some time before I started loving it, and a rather explosive incident with the lid and some ragu stood between us for the longest time, but now I have wholeheartedly embraced it. I use it for sauces, oven preparations and risotto. Ah, risotto, how long since we have had some. Must have some this week.

But above all, I must mention Giorgio Locatelli. Because in buying his book, it is as if my father is once again around the house, fiddling with ingredients, insisting on taste, aroma, on using all the senses when cooking. The clanging of stainless steel in the kitchen as he prepared pasta. The steamy windows. The visits to the market. The confrontations over fish, as we children railed against his restaurant choices and demanded, oh sacrilege, chicken or hamburgers. Little did we know that one day we would all come around to his views; that we would be instilling them on the next generation.

And so tonight, we rediscovered tomatoes and pesto. The beefsteak tomatoes of my youth, which my mother prepared with meatballs in the oven. Cuore di Bue. Coeur de Boeuf. Taste sublimated. Basil ground to pesto, with good salt, toasted pine nuts, an organic mature Parmigiano cheese, elephant garlic, and the best extra virgin oil. Pasta. Conchiglie rigate, chosen because they capture the sauce within, revealing it as you bite down on them. Boiled in salty water. 12 minutes. Al dente. No checks required. You simply remembered that that was how it was done.

It's all about taste. Because taste is what matters. You can dine on the simplest ingredients and still feel like a king. The smell of freshly baked bread. Of tomatoes ripening next to apples. Of a watermelon in summer, sitting in a market stall. Of cheese, that has been made lovingly. Of peaches so ripe that the juice runs down your chin. Rucola, the scent of which permeates your kitchen as you bring it in, freshly cut and washed.

Live. Eat. Taste. Love.

My creed.

2 messages:

Milo said...

Reading that has just made me really hungry!!

Vikki said...

Beautiful! Absolutely. Some of my most vivid memories from traveling are of simple meals, prepared lovingly and then shared with friends/family.

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