The secret of cooking in the north
I’m a big fan of Italian food. No, scratch that. A ginormous fan. So much so that I’d easily spend 2 months of every year in Italy just for the food. And another 2 months for the climate, the nature, the culture, the history, and the people. But 2 for the food alone.
I love their cuisine for its simplicity. Great ingredients, presented with minimal interference. I’ve always mocked the french for their elaborate concoctions and their patiently reduced sauces.
But Christina pointed me to an important point when she was here a few weeks ago, which is: Italian food works so well precisely because they have great ingredients. But us people in the north don’t have that.
Enter the French cuisine. The northern half of France also happen to have terrible produce, because of the climate, and that’s why they’ve devised these techniques that can snatch flavor from the jaws of winter vegetables. It’s pure genious, once you realize it.
So I’ve laid aside my air of superiority and picked up the French cuisine. Jacques Pépin is my new hero.
I’ve started out with his Fast Food My Way, which is brilliant. I bought it in November but didn’t find it too appealing at first, because I was in the Italian mind-set. But once that changed and I started cooking from it this month, I’ve been elated.
The recipes are super-easy and quick. I’m having another Jamie Oliver moment, meaning the feeling I had when I first started cooking from Oliver’s books, of how things just taste great and are so easy to make.
They’re simple things, nothing fancy, but they taste great, are so easy to make you can easily make a nice side dish, a salad, a dessert, and maybe a starter, too. And that’s new for me. I usually run out of steam after one or two dishes, so starting to make 4-5 dishes for a single meal has really catapulted my cooking forward a big step.
Get Pépin, and start cooking in French!