A culinary online center dedicated to promoting the importance and the joy of American home cooking with an emphasis on local products and talent, celebrating the unique spirit and energy of the new food world ethos, especially in Vermont.
I love quotes that add meaning to my life. Here are a few to live by:
Americans who have been to France and come home craving a reminder of their magical European experience, love Vermont cheeses.
â€”Allison Hooper, founder, VT Butter & Cheese Creamery
Practice not cleaning your plate: it will help you eat less in short term and develop self-control in the long term.
Sweet taste buds develop before all others, thatâ€™s why small children love sweets.
Donâ€™t eat breakfast cereals that change the color of milk.
My rule of thumb is, when in doubt, cook more than you think you may need.
â€”Marian Cunningham, from Learning to Cook
Cooking with Evan Jones: My Father’s Recipes, Part 3 of 4
My First Dinner
But, now, there I was making my first dinner with my father, Evan Jones, practicing my first efforts as the family sous-chef. The crumbs were mixed into the meat and Iâ€™d chopped the parsley â€śvery finelyâ€ť, as my father had ordered. â€śBe careful with that knife,â€ť heâ€™d said, as he handed me a large square butcher knife, sharpened for all it was worth. The tiny fronds of herbal flower became bright green confetti under the knifeâ€™s edge and weight.
Everything was in the large striped bowl. â€śDid you get an egg out?â€ť my father asked. I opened the â€śmagic boxâ€ť once more and lifted the perfect brown egg out of its cardboard crate. He handed me a smaller bowl and a whisk. â€śWhisk it together and pour it inâ€ť, he said. I loved to use the whisk. Iâ€™d been whisking eggs for omelets for at least a year. As the white and yellow of the egg blended together, I reached for salt and pepper on the shelf above the stove. I heard his acknowledgement that I was doing the right thing and suddenly felt that I was part of the kitchen dance, a member of the corps de ballet a la cuisine!
Â A Little of This
Now the Salisbury steak was ready, I thought. Ground meat, breadcrumbs, parsley, egg and salt and pepper. â€śAnything else?â€ť I asked. Yes, there was. â€śLets throw in a little of thisâ€ť, said my father as he reached for a small bowl in the refrigerator. To this day, I donâ€™t know what was in that bowl, but maybe something from an Indian dinner eaten the night before because the flavor of cumin and coriander perfumed our Salisbury steak as it cooked. He also brought out two slices of bacon. â€śLetâ€™s shape the meat and we can put it into the oven.â€ťÂ
I worked the meat with my hands until it resembled a rounded hilltop. I placed it in a Pyrex platter and my father crossed the bacon slices, almost ritualistically, over the top.
I was dancing as I crossed from the counter to the oven set at 350 degrees. My father opened it and the Pyrex dish slid onto the top shelf.
Â A Memorable Meal
That night I sat down at the small round table that served as workspace and dining room to eat the first dinner Iâ€™d ever cooked with my father. My stepmother, Judith Jones, lit the candles, a ritual always observed at mealtime, and my father brought out the Salisbury steak on a blue pottery platter. Heâ€™d topped the crisp bacon with a sprig of parsley. The juices from the meat had been augmented with a few tablespoons of red wine and poured over the top creating a deep brown fringe around my â€śhill topâ€ť.
Â â€śDeliciousâ€ť, said my father. And my stepmother concurred. It was perfectly done. My fatherâ€™s new recipe was my first cooking adventure. It set my course for a lifetime just as his mentoring about literature and history and the arts set me on my way to explore the world. And it wasnâ€™t long before I was making fresh pasta from scratch, helping him to pick out just the right cheeses at the eastside cheese emporium, Ideal, where Eddie, the owner, was his cheese loving co-conspirator; or walking East 59th Streetâ€™s treasure trove of food shops in search of the perfect cut of meat for braising. My father already had a love affair with New York and sharing this with him, a mid-westerner transplanted, made the city a paradise for me.
Please check back in 2 weeks for part 4, the final post on this thread of Â My Father’s Recipes. Please check back or subscribe to my blog to automatically receive it!
Posted: 6-18-2012SUBSCRIBE TO THIS BLOG’S FEED
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