You need eat only an occasional good meal, or spend a very long stint eating nothing but bad meals, to develop an appreciation for food. Appreciate enough food, and sooner or later you will find yourself up to your elbows in its preparation. From there it is just a short step to realizing food is not merely about calories and minimum daily requirements and metabolic pathways. At its very heart, food is about people. It is an integral part of our social history that has affected our lives since long before Esau traded his birthright for a bowl of lentils...And the Introduction ends
My mentors are ordinary folk, all of them, going about their daily business of baking bread and pouring hearty wine. The ingredients they use are not exotic, their techniques are not complex. Yet as they stand over the stove, they manage to do so very much more than just prepare a meal. They taught me that cooking is an expression of art and of love, of family and self, of soil and the seasons. I lift my glass to them all.And so begins a wonderful story full of humor of the author's history with food, with people, friends and family. Her stories take you on a journey to foreign countries and across the United States. I love the chapter about pie dough and how she introduces it to French pastry chefs who timidly ask if she would show them how she made her wonderful pate brisee . She had in fact telephoned her grandmother in Yakima, Washington for instructions on how she made her pie crust! "No Ordinary Soup" mirrored my own history with what is Leek and Potato soup.
Several years ago in I had a conversation with a Frenchman about what our families would be eating on Christmas Day. I explained to him that I would be making a leek and potato soup for the first course -- because it was a family favorite. He smiled, slightly embarrassed and explained that in France that would be considered perhaps not exotic enough for Christmas. I have since discovered that one of the very traditional soups to be served in France on Christmas is Parmentier Soupe -- which is in fact leek and potato soup and cold leek and potato soup is vichyssoise, which is also hoity-toity!
If you are interested, here are some links: Amazon.com or Amazon.co.uk. I am not benefitting in any way from writing about this book.
- Lust, Teresa; 1998; Pass the Polenta; South Royalton, Vermont: Steerforth Press L.C.