Thursday, August 25, 2005

Homemade Food

My businesses and my fondness for good food have allowed me to eat at many coveted restaurants over the years, but now I don't visit those places as often as I once did.... they have lost much of their allure for me. These days, I look for examples of what I call "homemade" food... the sort of food that is too simple to charge top-money for. Cassoulets or stews that cook for hours over a slow fire, or maybe the pies that are made with the fresh fruits from the garden, or a perfect hearth-baked bread... these are the foods I seek now. I'm looking for subtle secrets and flavors that were handed down from generation to generation. These dishes can make me just as happy as any of those made from priceless ingredients served in gastronomic temples.

I have had many fine meals, but one of the most memorable was enjoyed more than a decade ago at the tiny Hôtel Emma Calvet in Millau, France, where a wonderful woman cooked and served a simple meal for my wife and me. That night we were the only guests in the hotel, but we never felt any of the awkwardness that people sometimes feel when they are alone in a restaurant. Instead, we enjoyed every bite while over-hearing her and her family engaged in a lively discussion about the day's events in the kitchen. After our dinner, she proudly presented us with a tray of local cheeses, slowly explaining each one, hoping we would understand her French.

To me, the simple tenderness of this woman, her good food and her warm heart were worth as much as all the stars of any Michelin chef.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I agree with you Ed. The subtle secrets handed down from generation to generation exceed new fangled creativity in so many cases.

I tend to get annoyed with chefs who claim to have "invented" something when in reality a concept or technique has been recontextualized.

5:27 AM, August 30, 2005  
Blogger Edorovio said...

I agree, If you ask most honest chefs they will tell you they cook to reclaim the flavors of their youth....that is certainly my motivation..well that...and I like to give to my guests. ;)

11:24 PM, November 10, 2005  

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