Monday, February 23, 2015

The Cheater's Way

Giada de Laurentiis, Ina Garten ("The Barefoot Contessa"), and Rachael Ray were cooking together on a talk show. Each of them topped their dishes with copious fistfuls of parmesan cheese.
Besides for my annoyance at this traifening of potentially kosher meat dishes, I consider parmesan cheese to be the cheater's way out of cooking. Let's be honest: Shredded cardboard would taste fabulous if flavored with that much cheese.

When watching true chefs, like Jacques Pépin (Fast Food My Way, Essential Pépin) and my newly discovered runner-up, Michael Smith (Chef at Home), parmesan rarely gets any screen time. They concoct supreme deliciousness without relying on—in my opinion—the cheater's way out by adding unnecessary sodium and calories.

I am equally unwelcoming to soy sauce, in which one tablespoon contains at least one-third of the daily value of sodium. The reduced version brings it down to one-quarter.
Food does not have to be salty, fatty, or cheesy in order to dance upon the tip of the tongue. It does require a little technique, an awareness of what general flavors work well together, a willingness to learn, and a dash of patience. Sometimes one even discovers an easier, yet tastier, way of doing things.

Example: For years, Ma would mince onions before sautéing, which can be a hassle. But from Laura Calder (French Food at Home), not even one of her usual quotable television chefs, she learned that simply slicing the onions thinly—into half-moons—results in a different, yet heavenly result.
She also found out that by mixing a serious spoonful of paprika (regular and smoked) into the oil gives her staple paprikás fabulous flavor.
Ma is a fan of shortcuts; it could be said, even, that she often cheats. But her cheats results in succulent, yet nourishing, meals.   


Mr. Cohen said...

Considering how much Princess Lea knows about cooking and nutrition, she sounds like she could make a good wife.

Why has no man married her yet?

Princess Lea said...

Now THAT is the question . . .