Wednesday, July 02, 2014
Cooking is like sex. The more creative you get, the better it is. But don't put too much on your plate if that means you don't have time to really eat and sip slowly.
So behold, my Pinterest page, Mis-en-place, which is a fancy French term for getting all your shit together before you cook something or making cocktails -- it's the best, most organized way to do it, because cooking and mixology, like sex, is all about timing.
First, let's talk about food. Think of it as something beautiful. Almost tantric. The way you design how the food is presented. Just like you choose a perfect scent or lingerie before greeting your lover. You "marinate" yourself in the joy you are about to receive.
That inspiring expectation of what you are about to taste.
One of my ex-boyfriends used to eat like a velociraptor. You know, like his prey was going to run away, never mind if that was a cauliflower instead of a small mammal.
I don't enjoy that kind of eating. I prefer that the energy at the table be low and slow.
Maybe that's why I like cooking soups, because it's a process that takes time and then the home becomes redolent of that delicious, hot and wet thing that's going to go down my throat, its sole purpose to nourish my body and soul. Oh my!
And what greater pleasure than sharing that with someone I love?
I just don't understand why people rush through pleasure. Never scarf it down, unless, by mitigating circumstances, it's a quickie. Yeah, sometimes you have to eat a cracker in your car while rushing through traffic. But consuming food shouldn't be an unconscious act.
Where's the fire, otherwise? The way your lover eats might be the same way he or she makes love.
So yes, there's flash cooking. But also there's slow-food cooking. Maybe that's why I like Crock Pots, although I just don't dump everything in there in one big lump. I always caramelize the onions, do a mirepoix -- that's carrots, celery and other vegetables you sauté before you combine them with other ingredients. I love the textures of raw before it cooks. I take a nibble of a vegetable here and there.
And then there's the sounds of chopping. The sizzle of the olive oil.
But then it just stews and comes to a lovely climax on the table, with something hot and steamy that's not just in a ceramic bowl -- a prelude to something wonderful.
Cooking is like sex. Think of it as culinary foreplay.
The same goes for drinks. Here's a white wine sangria I once made with starfruit (carambola), marinated in dark Appleton estate rum. It was an amazingly refreshing summer drink but it took two days to make, with blueberries and strawberries in the mix, added on the second day, finished off with some seltzer when poured. Chilled, of course.
An easy drink to make, but slow and fine.
Even single ladies get hectic, but don't forget to slow down as much as you can. Eat and sip slowly. Life isn't meant to rush by. What's the point otherwise?
A LESSON FROM A PARROT
My nine-year-old macaw relishes a peanut every morning. I always say to her: "You love your peanut and it loves you." Even though she has had a peanut every morning since she was weaned off her baby formula, she still rushes eating a peanut like it's the last peanut she'll ever have. It's the survival scarcity model: "I better eat this now before it escapes me or I might not get one tomorrow or some predator eats me first."
But before she gobbles it down, peanut in claw and beak chomping away, she walks slowly from one side of the cage to the other and dips the peanut in water; she does take the time to moisten the peanut shell, which makes me laugh every morning.
And also, she won't eat her regular pelleted food until I sit next down to her by my computer when I start working -- not that I ever sent her to charm school. She stares me in the eye at me and then she eats. It's as if she's asking: "Is it OK? Can we eat now?"
Birds of a feather flock together, I suppose. Or somehow I taught this avian critter good table manners.
Treat your food and drink the same way. And enjoy it slowly, whether alone or with good folks in your life.