FAM who?

The "Mostly" Approach to Cooking

One could describe my food philosopy as "mostly". My cooking is "mostly" seasonal, "mostly" local, "mostly" quick, "mostly" healthy, "mostly" vegetarian, "mostly" straight-forward, "mostly" environmentally friendly, "mostly" organic, etc. Whenever possible I go for the "entirely" seasonal,"entirely" local, etc, but there occasionally reasons, usually gustatory, when "mostly" will have to do.

Our kitchen: other middle-aged men buy a Harley Davidson, I opted for a good cooker.
I also admit to being less than a systematic cook, which is perhaps a problem when you try to write up recipes for folks to cook by because I very often don't preplan and hardly ever weigh and measure when cooking. Often I will come home after work, open the fridge or look in our larder, a recent and very useful addition to our house in the Bernese (Swiss) countryside, and figure out, almost on the fly, what will be for dinner. My family and friends have described my cooking as creative (which I hope is not damning by faint praise), and much of it is non-reproducible, partly because the ingredients I happen to have are not usually available in the same combination, and partly because I forget to note down what has worked.

In a way what I am doing here is to work against that last tendency.


The Chatter or the Food


I often find that recipe writers, especially on-line recipe writers, are fond of holding forth at great length about their opinions, and I know that most foodies are by nature tremendously opinionated, yours truly being no exception. But it is my firm intention to provide lowdown on the dishes before the pontificating; this allows folks to consider the ideas for a dish and to skip the soap box stuff or the philosophy. It will be there, I'm sorry, but it won't get in the way of the central issue, which is the nice nosh!





Why Seasonal Also Means "Special"



What I love about truly seasonal food is its window of availability. That's when they are naturally ready to be eaten and that's when they are tastiest.

I don't want to launch into the usual and absolutely correct rant about how immensely idiotic it is to ship strawberries that have as much flavour as a piece of wet cotton wool halfway around the globe so that in the middle of winter consumers in Europe and the US can waste money on something that looks but certainly doesn't taste like strawberries.

Strawberries like any other seasonal fruit or vegetable really only taste good and special because there is only a short period when they are truly, i.e. freshly available; making them last beyond that period requires the practice of conservation, which is interesting and can be delicious in itself, but it also changes how the produce tastes.

Anyway, what I am trying to say here is that seasonal dishes are so wonderful because you can't have them all the time, and the period when they are available is when they taste best; we should do everything to enjoy them then and in the following months do our best to recall how lovely it was to eat them at the yearly peak of their existence while looking forward to savouring them again in a year's time.