Subversive peasant cooking…

One of the things that I often like to say is that I engage in “peasant cooking” when I make food.  By this, I mean that the manner in which I cook and prepare food is almost entirely the opposite of anything particularly refined, structured, or elite.  I like to make foods that use whole ingredients (which is neither here nor there) but it is also almost always the case that when I cook something, it will take less than an hour to prepare.  (The few exceptions to this are when I make Lasagna, but the preparation of it does take less than an hour before it gets thrown in the oven–and since I make so much of it–it really counts as two dinners…)

Additionally, I’ve noticed that my taste in food runs more more in what I (perhaps romantically) think of as “peasant” style dishes, by which I mean that I tend to like breads, vegetables, sandwhiches, soups, stir fries (very expansive definition here…basically cooking everything in one big pan or pot), certain casseroles, and bbq’s.

Overall, I do not tend to get very enthused about exquisite dishes that require massive amounts of time and have very strict guidelines on preparation.  If I cannot just randomly choose the spices to add to it (based on general rules of taste) and sort of “wing it”–then I don’t want any part of it.

In addition–I am entirely unimpressed with various restaurants or cooking shows that try to show you how to make elite entrees. This is where my inner subversive comes out especially.

I eat fucking food–not art.  It doesn’t impress me that we have to pay $100 for some rare dish–it sickens me.  (This does not mean that I don’t appreciate paying good money for exceptionally high quality ingredients–but I’m so stingy that it must be a REALLY special occasion–such as getting married–before I’m likely to engage in such behavior)

Furthermore–trying to get me to appreciate such things is more likely to piss me off than impress me.  Food is not a status object to me–it is sustenance and it is a way for me to connect with my loved ones in a more intimate setting.  It is for these reasons (and many others) that I rarely like going out to eat… I’d much rather bring my friends to our home and cook for them.. thus replicating the lives and stories of almost all humanity for tens of thousands of years…

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2 Responses to Subversive peasant cooking…

  1. Jay says:

    I agree with you on many of the points you have written here. Food as a status symbol is something to be mocked often. But I must admit that I have an affinity for well-prepared food. I seek this out whenever I can and will continue to do so as my meager income allows. My reasons are simple: experience. I don’t get caught up in the latest food fads, nor would I ever pay hundreds of dollars to hear some celebrity chef drone on for hours professing his or her undying love for truffles or kalamata olives. I do love a restaurant that has the utmost respect for the cuisine they represent, understands the importance of seasonality, seeks out only the best ingredients, and thumbs its nose at the food industrial complex. If it can do all of this, make great food, and not be overly stuffy, I will pay for that experience. What’s more, I will want to share such experiences with the people I love. That sense of community, the storytelling, the shared intimacy with friends and family can be enjoyed in the restaurant, as well as the kitchen or the grill.

    • tricstmr says:

      Actually, I don’t have any problem with that approach either. High quality and attention to detail is not elitism for me–it is excellence… and there is a big divide between the too. “Elite,” while it may be a shorthand for excellence in some cases or theoretically, at least, all too often becomes less of an additional descriptor of high-quality and becomes essentialized as a tool to beat down others and make insecure feel better about themselves.

      Excellence, on the other hand, is a whole-heartedly good thing in my book. Seeking out sushi that is prepared with excellent fish–that will cost you, but it is usually worth the price… and perhaps that is the key….

      I don’t have a problem with expensive food in general–just with over-priced food. Too often, these “swank” places don’t actually have excellent food in my view… but those that do.. then I have little beef with them.. (haha!)…

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