or Connect
ChefTalk.com › ChefTalk Cooking Forums › Cooking Discussions › Food & Cooking › Return to truly simple cooking, always, at home.
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

Return to truly simple cooking, always, at home.

post #1 of 12
Thread Starter 

Anybody here who's had enough of complexity and artistry  in food preparation?  I mean home cooks. (I know that the pro chefs have to cater to gourmet eaters and their endless need for more and more intense food experiences in terms of novelty in taste and appearance.)

 

After a few years of gaining satisfaction from that occasional approach I could not be bothered any longer, not even for special holidays and company.  For moi, it might be that I grow and raise some of my own food and after all that work, while it's enjoyable work, I get my jollies from preparing mostly old fashioned dishes, presented as in a lower middle class or rather poor household decades ago, with a few changes for personal taste (rather than because it's the trend.)

 

Thanks for your input. I am not criticizing home cooks who love making many-step, time-consuming dishes, 'cause I did some of that, too, and loved it for a time.  I don't look down on that.

post #2 of 12

I can’t say that I have ever made the ‘fancy’ foods very often in our home, nor do I go too far out of my way when presenting a meal to my family and friends. 

Honestly, I just plain haven’t got the time to spend on any one dish or meal for that matter that takes me the majority of a day, let alone multiple days in the kitchen. 

I do make a holiday table festive to a point, but I don’t have say, specific dishes or platters and bowls for this or that. 

Trying to jazz up a plates looks with something that my DH isn’t going to eat, IMHO, is a waste of my hard earned retirement monies.

post #3 of 12

Yes and no.  I love making a complex dish, but to me a complex dish is making a stew.  I savor each step, just yesterday I was making a stew and explaining each step to my husband "We have to make sure the meat is completely dry before we sear it" and I went on to describe the magic of fond.  He commented that it looked like I was really enjoying myself.  And I was.

 

However, on my quest to eat more nutritious food I find myself moving away from complex dishes like stews and lasagna etc.  I tend to keep my food light, quickly cooked and most of it raw.  These days rather than make a fancy omelet which I have done often for breakfast I have yogurt with almonds.  Instead of a sandwich I'll compose a beautiful raw salad.  Instead of heavy dinner I'll steam some broccoli and poach a chicken breast.  The healthier my cooking becomes the less cooking I do. 

 

Don't get me wrong, there's still plenty of opportunity to cook.  It's just not everyday like it used to be.

"You are what you eat, so don't be fast, cheap, easy, or fake."

Reply

"You are what you eat, so don't be fast, cheap, easy, or fake."

Reply
post #4 of 12

I've been much influenced by some of the fundamental aspects of Italian cooking, which is to make things simple, using good ingredients.  Vegetables here are so good, it;s a shame to concoct things with them.  Tiny finger-length zucchine with the flower still attached, just blanched, and with some olive oil, salt and black pepper.  Same for the tiny string beans.  Leafy greens blanched, drained and then maybe quickly sauteed in oil and garlic. 

 

However, when i go to a restaurant i want to be amazed with inventive dishes that require more work than i want to do at home. .  Unfortunately the restaurants around here all tend to do the same things i do at home, and not any better.  I do detest three modern trends in food: the tiny serving on the gigantic plate - how obnoxious; stuff that's handled too much (strips of some food ingredient tied around another ingredient with a bow - pretentious, and not any more tasty than the pieces eaten together; and food piled on top of other food (meat on TOP of potatoes (the juice fo the meat sogging up the nice crusty coating of the potatoes) and so on - i actually prefer the sauce to be separate, so i can eat some without and some with, as i like.  I think that if the sauce is necessary, maybe the food it coats is not very tasty. 

"Siduri said, 'Gilgamesh, where are you roaming? You will never find the eternal life that you seek...Savour your food, make each of your days a delight, ... let music and dancing fill your house, love the child who holds you by the hand and give your wife pleasure in your embrace.'"
Reply
"Siduri said, 'Gilgamesh, where are you roaming? You will never find the eternal life that you seek...Savour your food, make each of your days a delight, ... let music and dancing fill your house, love the child who holds you by the hand and give your wife pleasure in your embrace.'"
Reply
post #5 of 12

I like complexity and variation. Why to stick to old family food when we have a panoply of new dishes, new ingredients and new techniques, coming from different cultures. It's a challenge and a learning pleasure.

But i will add two unbearable chef uses to Siduri's list that makes me nervous at restaurants: the micro drops of some herb infused oil, and the ridiculous and overused ying-yang pattern saucing.  And one more: symmetric plating.

Gebe Gott uns allen, uns Trinkern, einen so leichten und so schönen Tod! Joseph Roth.
Reply
Gebe Gott uns allen, uns Trinkern, einen so leichten und so schönen Tod! Joseph Roth.
Reply
post #6 of 12

I don't do a lot of complicated dishes but I do like variety and tend to make something I have never tried before at least once or twice a week. Usually I don't have tons of time, so whatever I try is usually pretty easy to prepare.  I also try to be healthy and seasonal in my cooking and eating, and I try to get my "5 a day" servings of fruits and veggies. What I eat changes frequently depending on what looks best at the market. I'm lucky to live in a very international neighborhood, so I have accumulated pretty much every spice, herb and condiment known to woman. I do a lot of braises, roasts, stews, simple Asian and Mexican dishes. Also lots of salads and fresh fruit. With so much variety, I don't really need to gussy up vegetables and fruits very much. 

 

If I want complicated, I will go out and eat it at a restaurant. Usually for me that means ethnic hole in the wall joints that make things I would never make myself. I don't usually go the "fine dining" route. Can't afford it and I really am much more interested in international flavors.

post #7 of 12

Btw,  blushing.gif I still think of myself as a Home Cook, even though I’ve changed my culinary experience now to owner/operator (of a very small online cake shop); I don’t COOK for money, just bake  thumb.gif

post #8 of 12

I like both actually.   When it comes to cooking Bobby Flay is my biggest influence.   I know some people don’t like him but I’ve never met the guy.   I like his cooking style and he seems like a pretty cool guy on TV.    He does all the grilling/BBQ cooking shows which I love but he can also do top “chefy” stuff like on Iron Chef and in his Mesa Grill restaurants. 

 

That’s what I like to do.  Most of the time I just cook simple healthy things but I like to do the fancier stuff for holidays, date night,  birthdays, or other special occasions.  But no matter what I cook I do try and make sure presentation is nice.  You can cook something with 3 ingredients but if you plate is well people will think you spent hours on it. 

 

Although I don’t think I’ve done anything I consider too complex.   I’ve wanted to try Beef Wellington but there are just too many steps in that process for me.   J  I probably will one day though.   I’d say some of my “fancier” dishes would be red wine braised short ribs or scallops with some kind of risotto.

post #9 of 12

I seldom do the fancy dishes anymore.  Once in a while, I'll do something fancy in the pastry side of things....mainly for special holidays.  I often chuckle over the fact that my food doesn't always "look" as nice as what you see the big Chef's do, but it usually tastes pretty darn good.  My husband will sometimes get fancy with plating things like turkey at thanksgiving (he'll debone and lay it on the plate to look like the turkey....not me....it goes on the plate as I cut it off and if it looks like a pile of meat, so be it)  I do like "complex" as in taste.  But to me, that doesn't mean it has to take a long time to make....stew goes into the pot and cooks for a couple hours, no special prep at all other than cutting things into bite-size pieces.  If I make something that takes a lot of time and effort, I usually make a LOT of it and freeze it (tamales, for instance).  I cut out steps that I consider unnecessary....I have yet to wash and pat dry a piece of meat EVER in my life; very seldom sift anything anymore, etc.  It amazes me how complicated cooking has become.  I've even found myself apologizing that all I had was a "simple" stew to feed people.  It seems like if you want to entertain then you're expected to amaze and thrill everyone with the food.  At the same time, I do like to experiment and try new things.  Living in an area that's not got a lot of cultural diversity, it's up to me if we're going to eat anything besides standard meat and potatoes.

post #10 of 12

Tonight was one of my favorite dinners - some chicken grilled over charcoal and corn on the cob.  And among the recent posts in the 'What did you have for dinner' thread the one dish I most would have liked to try was some home made, hand rolled pasta.  It looked very plain and simple, but delicious.

 

Soups and stews, often based on home made stock are favorites, some things like curries and stir fry have a fair bit of prep work involved, but nothing fancy.  Probably the fanciest thing I've made recently was the lobster risotto on my wife's birthday.

 

But I do like to stretch my skills on occasion, I may do bite sized shepard's pies to take to a garden party coming up.  Or not.

 

mjb.

Food nourishes my body.  Cooking nourishes my soul.
Reply
Food nourishes my body.  Cooking nourishes my soul.
Reply
post #11 of 12

hey i am a very keen catering student i am 16 and just got a apperentship with a kompany and would you guys be able to tell me what makes a good chef

post #12 of 12
Thread Starter 

Many months later, I wish to thank all of you who responded to my question.

New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: Food & Cooking
ChefTalk.com › ChefTalk Cooking Forums › Cooking Discussions › Food & Cooking › Return to truly simple cooking, always, at home.