The Naked Chef

I got the book in the mail today. I haven’t had time to look through it thoroughly but I just randomly opened it and got to a Risotto recipe and I already love the book. The recipe is much like my own and I just have to agree “I am a sucker for dry vermouth” as well and I have often used it as substitute for the white wine most other recipes suggest. The Risotto is just the basic recipe but even so it is already watering my mouth and of course I am eager to try out the changes ….

The recipe is simple and the description is an enjoying read, I cannot wait to get home and cook – something from the book. so maybe we’ll have Risotto tonight. Maybe not …. depending how many minutes I can sneak away from work to read the book.

I already talked to my colleague about it how this type of cooking and the recipes “are much more our generation” than our parents. I believe that despite me having learned a lot of recipes from my mother, there is a profound difference in the things we cook most of the time. I love my Italian cook book and I rarely cook those things my mother most often makes at home.

Risotto is a good example. I love risotto. I made my first risotto from a Johann Lafer cook-book. It was a rather fancy recipe. yet very good. I took a liking to it and refined the recipe with my own experiments and hints from friends …. my mother never made risotto, when I try to explain to her how much I like it and that she should try it she keeps complaining that you have to stir the rice for about 15 minutes and than you need to serve the risotto fresh. It’s nothing to be prepared before the dinner. Risotto just cannot be left cooking by itself on the stove for whatever length of time.

Another one is the infamous “potato soup”. I hated it as a child and I stll do. I’ll still not eat my mother’s potato soup. When I was younger the taste would make me want to puke. I have found my own recipe to cook a soup with potatos. It’s delicious and easy. When I told my mother about that recipe she said: “It’s potato soup, why are you eating that when you don’t eat mine?” My answer: “Really, you’re right, it’s actually potato soup, I never noticed. Well it’s just very different.”

Cooking used to be (I blieve) mostly tradition: a daughter learned the recipes from her mother and grandmother and later taught them to her own children. But nowadays our eating habits change a lot from one generation to the next. I still remember when my mother made her first salad dressing with olive oil and I didn’t want to eat the salad because I didn’t like olives back then and I bet you my cook-book collection that my grandmother never made ‘pasta’ … noodles yes but not pasta. Another big cooking innovation of my mother’s was asian food: mostly the ever same recipe of soy sprouts, bamboo roots and meat stirred in a large pan (she’s too lazy to use the heavy iron wok).

And: I am actually curious which of my favorite foods my children will hate.

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