Archive for the ‘cooking’ Category
Cucumber maki + ketchup + the remains of your youngest daughter’s chicken nuggets = no.
For much of the ’90s, I tried (and, ultimately, failed) to live as a vegetarian. In recent years, I went through a pescatarian transition period, and now — even though I choose fish or no meat whenever I can — I’ll eat pretty much whatever anyone puts in front of me. The rationale for that is that my ethical obligation to the people closest to me — i.e., anyone who would cook for me — is greater than my ethical obligation to lower species.
But now I wonder. The ecological arguments against meat may be more powerful than the ethical arguments against meat. They’re also arguments wrapped in self-preservation: eat less meat, save your body, save the planet.
I knew I had food issues, but these are issues.
I made the greatest turkey burgers of all time a few weeks back. I was about to write down the recipe (yes, I realize I should have done this then; don’t go all GTD on me) when I realized I don’t remember whether my secret ingredient was soy sauce or teriyaki sauce. Would anyone out there like to make a suggestion as to which I should try next time?
Over the next week or so, I’ll be writing quite a bit about my two weeks late last month and early this month in California, at TED and ETech. (Took me a bit to recover and the renovation at our house is about to deprive us of our only working shower.)
Monday was cooking day here at Jewels and Binoculars and it’s Tuesday already, so I’d better get back on track. Let’s talk about food hacking, which unites three areas of my interest and incompetence: cooking, technology, and taking things apart. The ETech tutorial on the topic, led by Marc Powell, was a mindblower. Food hacking takes the ideas behind technology hacking — participation, dispersion, experimentation, and a general distrust of authority and centralized systems — and brings them into the kitchen. The three-hour-long tutorial, which included dishes with ingredients like liquid nitrogen, was all about joy and testing. And — lucky for me — it was all about celebrating screwing up and seeing what happens. Powell went on for a while on why cooking with people was superior to cooking for people. As he put it: “Ever eat a Lunchable? Do you think anyone enjoyed making that?” When I lined up to receive something that had been cooked onstage, I felt, for the first time even, like I was on a communion line.
The second half of the session got weird. We saw randomly generated menus and restaurant menus with plenty of insect dishes. We heard exegeses on pickled crab fat and how to cook fake blood for vegan goths. We learned a little about coffee hacks (see many of Powell’s hacks in this wiki). We learned that it’s pronounced “feelo” dough, not “feyelo” dough. We heard about placenta kabobs and other gross food experiences.
Hmm, what’s for dinner?
Over the weekend, I had the great pleasure of hearing Lydia sing with a chorus and small orchestra at Sanders Theater. During the intermission, the harpist wrapped up her instrument and wheeled it away. Since Monday is supposed to be cooking day at Jimmy Guterman’s Jewels & Binoculars, I should note that her wrapped harp looked to me like a giant oven mitt.