Friday, December 25, 2009

Merry Christmas 2009

Wow, hard to believe another Christmas has come and gone. I've been thinking that this has been the best Christmas yet, and I haven't received one single present (OK, from my friend KD in Arizona). Lots and lots of time visiting family (all 3 sides) from baking with all the kiddlings in the family to sharing Christmas Day brunch with youngest brother and Christmas dinner with middle brother.

Here's to hoping that you and yours (lightly included) have a wonderful holiday season, or, what's left of it.


Thursday, December 03, 2009

Cooking with Mario Batali

Three times this week, I've dreamed I've been cooking with Mario Batali. There I am in my Chef whites and orange Crocs -but thankfully not in shorts- chopping, dicing, and mincing alongside Mario in the Iron Chef kitchen.

In this latest dream however, I'm grousing about how much I hate chopping, dicing, and mincing. I tell him I'm more of a folding, whipping, and beating kinda gal (as in baking techniques, so get your mind out of the gutter!) He starts lecturing me about how all great Chefs start out doing menial tasks like washing dishes and peeling potatoes and how sometimes we have to do things we will not understand until much later. Pretty wise words from a culinary school dropout who believes that shorts are acceptable attire every day of the year.

But the whole exchange reminded me of the conversation between Daniel-san and Mr. Miyagi in the Karate Kid:

[Miyagi returns from fishing as Daniel is painting the house] Oh, miss spot.
Daniel: What spot? Hey, how come you didn't tell me you were goin' fishing?
Miyagi: You not here when I go.
Daniel: Well, maybe I wanted to go, you ever think of that?
Miyagi: You karate training.
Daniel: I'm what? I'm bein' your goddamn slave is what I'm bein' here man, now c'mon we made a deal here!
Miyagi: So?
Daniel: So? So, you're supposed to teach and I'm supposed to learn! For 4 days I've been bustin' my ass, and haven't learned a goddamn thing!
Miyagi: You learn plenty.
Daniel: I learn plenty, yeah, I learned how to sand your decks maybe. I washed your car, paint your house, paint your fence. I learn plenty!
Miyagi: Ah, not everything is as seems...

Even in my dream Mario was right: the basic skills (for anything in life) are the most important of all. But ultimately, Mr. Miyagi was right "Man who catch fly with chopsticks accomplish anything."