Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Thinking of Julia Child and Cooking.

I was watching a TV program last night were a group of young chefs where attempting to honor Julia Child by preparing something that she would have done on here TV program years ago.

This whole fancy food obsession and cooking information overload was so simple 25 years ago. Now you have multiple satellite channels and Internet avenues all catering to the home chef allowing information and taste-bud overload.

I got interested in cooking primarily because my mother was an disappointment in the gourmet cooking department. My grandmother on the other hand was the one who taught me how to do several Russian dishes that I still prepare nowadays.

My interest was satisfied years ago because there really were only two cooking shows on the TV. You have to remember now, that in the dark ages, we only ad 3 or 4 channels of video entertainment. Now there are upward to 750 channels on the satellites and another 1000 or more via streaming on the Internet.
Being deprived and living in those dark ages I had to settle for Julia Child or a guy with a funny accent, with his show that was called the Galloping Gourmet. Graham Kerr's show was a daily show on one of our 4 channels in the City in the mid 60's and unless you permanently overwhelmed with the herbs of the 60's this was the only two avenues for someone that had the interest.

What I find amusing is how turned around this celebrity chef thing has evolved to. Prior to the hysteria of home cooking, day to day chefs were common folks like you and me. The last decade has propelled some of these guys to immediate Primma Donna status simply by having a handful of patrons oooh and aah over some mashed potatoes or meat loaf that emerged from his kitchen with some secret ingredient.

What a bunch of BS.

Cooking at that time was an process where you would attempt to take the finest available product and with a few common readily available ingredients, make a nice uncomplicated meal.

Living in Mexico has allowed me to diversify my menu and also allow me to have some of the freshest finest grown items around.

I am  talking about plump red tomatoes that are gorgeous, but have no taste to them when you cut into them.
 When we drive through the state of  Sonora we pass miles and miles of tomato fields that grow those tasteless orbs for export to the US. It's funny to see the overloaded trucks with the red tomatoes piled high, following the trucks all you have to do is wait for a pothole to see some of the overload  bounce off the truck like brand new tennis balls.

They look marvelous but have no taste.

They are for export.

Mexico exports about 26% of all the vegetables the US sucks up. Followed up by Guatemala and Costa Rica, adding up another 40 %.
I wonder how many people in the states have never had a proper tomato?

There is absolutely nothing finer than a vine ripened tomato to eat. Dash a little salt and pepper, perhaps some shredded basil, a little olive oil and I am in heaven.

Sadly the US no longer gets those kind of tomatoes because everything grown nowadays is genetically engineered for something. Tomatoes have been engineered to look great and travel even better.  Just imaging how your home grown tomato would look if you piled up tons of ripe tomatoes in a bouncing truck on the way to the packers.

Not a pretty picture.

Most all of the tomatoes you buy at supermarkets are lacking the taste of a home grown orb. At the mercado there are lots of vendors selling beautiful red tomatoes.. and guess what, they all have very little taste.
Perfectly looking produce

I always go to the Indian ladies or ferret out the tomatoes that are home grown. The are often misshapen, have funny spots on them. Those are usually the best tasting ones you can fine. As long and they are fairly fresh, you will not be disappointed.  There have been articles in the press of how  consumers have been spoiled to only purchasing stellar looking fruit and vegetables. They now expect perfect looking produce.

I got news for you, nature makes items that look weird sometimes. After all, we would never get tomatoes that have a  miniature nativity scene  in the crease or some phallic looking zucchini of each item was perfect.
 Growers routinely toss away anything that just doesn't look perfect, how sad when you think about all that waste that could go in feeding people instead of being ground up for hogs or fertilizer.

The Indian ladies are also my source for limp celery, watercress and other freshly grown items.

Even in the sadly looking state, these items produce superior end results simply because they are allowed to grow and mature for the taste, not the look.

Perfect Looking but no taste
Now the popular trend NOB is to cook offal.  Huh?  I got news for you, Mexican chefs have been using that stuff for years.

 We use to eat that stuff years ago, chicken feet, pigs feet, liver, kidneys, brain, tongue, on and on.

If I mentioned that I was making some boiled tongue, people would say eeewwh. How can you eat that stuff?
But now that cuts of meat like that have become trendy and expensive, It's OK because some popular chef figured out how to cook it so the squeamish people think it's cool.

I remember how grossed out people use to be anytime I would purchase squid 25 years ago. They would say, how can you eat that stuff, that's fish bait.

But now they pay 15 bucks at a restaurant  for a handful of squid breaded in some old bread crumbs and fried, but now they call that, Calamari Frito....

How times have changed.

Gotta go, I don't want my beef tongue to boil over.

Tasty little morsel as long as you don't overcook.

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