the finer things

I will never understand fine dining.

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to my mind, it is the opposite of what food is about: it is showmanship, pretension, artfulness and extravagance as opposed to authenticity, warmth, nourishment, grace.
food should be simple. food shouldn’t be stuffy. food shouldn’t have rules, beyond this–use the best ingredients you can get your paws on, and let them shine.

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season them properly. don’t blanket them in cream. don’t make them into structurally-questionable monuments or playful science experiments.
food should make you feel special because it is literally sustaining you and is also–from grubby little carrots, that look like orange, chubby fingers to a perfectly roasted chicken, as golden and regal as a crown–the stuff of happiness. it is the basis of relationships not just between you and your friends, lovers and family, but between you and a cast-iron skillet & chipped serving bowl; between you and the earth, its seasons, its animals; between you and your own soul and sentiments.

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a couple of nights ago, I made one of my favorite soups–ribollita.
a thick italian vegetable soup with mirepoix as a base, several cloves of garlic and a whole head of parsley; tuscan kale, savoy cabbage, san marzano tomatoes, cannellini beans, and, this time, some itty-bitty pasta. the flavors are layered, cohesive, rich and round. it is thick, rust-colored, full of good things. it tastes simultaneously of blustery winter days and the heady last days of summer.

every time I eat it, I think: this. this is what it’s all about.

images: saipua, wednesday chef, brian ferry via modern hepburn, orangette, kinfolk, orangette


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