Friday, July 16, 2010

More from Grandma's cookbooks

WOW! I'll say it again, WOW!

I now know how to make pastry - and who knew it was that friggen easy?!?!
This is the best book from the lot of cookbooks I was given (the scary thing is mine isn't in colour!)

One of the most notable things about this book is that it is made to be a complete book of every recipe you need to know to feed your family and make whatever you want - but there's a catch!

Something that I have been pondering on with our confusion about food, in Australia we don't stick to cooking from one culture.

We dabble in English, Australian, Chinese, Japanese, Indian, Mexican, French, Thai, get my drift?

No wonder our cupboards are filled to bursting point with 'jars of this' and 'packets of that', are we trying to do too much?
My thoughts are, for everyday family cooking - pick a culture and stick to it! One thing I noticed from this cookbook is the continuity of ingredients from one dish to the next. They are just rearranged in varying techniques depending on what you are making.
While this would have been an English based cookbook, there are basic curries (probably because of England's occupation of India) and pasta (which really made its way into *everywhere*)
What it does not try to capture, like many modern cookbooks, is the nuances of the region's cooking, like the more complex curries and dishes from India.

Is this where we have gone wrong? Are we trying to do too much?

We are so time poor these days why do we try to cook Thai food like a home grown Thai person would? I know Thai food is delicious but does having your pantry 'bulging' at the hinges to the point that when you come to cook Thai food next time the ingredients you bought are out of date make it worthwhile to keep 80 different cultures in your pantry?

While reflecting on this I was thinking about Indian and Chinese foods - have you noticed that they utilise similar ingredients for every recipe? The same spices, sauces, vegetables and dry goods come up recipe after recipe - we are trying to do to much - the turnover in the pantry is too slow and we are wasting food just because we have too much choice in food cultures

If you want to feed your family wholefoods (vegetables, grains and meats) then I for one are going to 'pare back' on the different cultural foods - it is NOT because I don't like them, but because it is costing this family too much because it is expensive to waste food.
We should know how to do our own culture's food well, you only have to go to Italy, China, or India to see that they DO their foods with expertise and ease

Keep it simple - pick a culture and stick to it! Branch out to differring cultures by dining out or on special occasions, borrowing ingredients from a non-savvy friend ;)

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