the tao of jaklumen

the path of the sage must become the path of the hero


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Just a small cooking rant (or why I am not a foodie)

Those of you that have been reading for a little while now, or those who have been following my comments on your posts about food, know that I very much enjoy the art of cooking.

There are times, however, when I find the fussy tastes and preferences of some cooks and chefs quite annoying.  The elitism that they and foodies/gourmands/gourmets/whatever-term-you-prefer sometimes spout just grates on my sensibilities.

In no particular order:

1. Gas vs. electric (or an open flame, compared with pretty much anything else)

The so-called experts, I find, seem to lambast any cooking method that is not over some sort of a flame.  They especially loathe microwaves, from what I'm given to understand.  The complaints are usually similar, regardless of the appliance: "it doesn't heat evenly."

I was especially upset when America's Test Kitchen blasted contact grills.  "They're good if you want to make a pannini", Adam Reid said in one episode.  I wanted to reach right through the TV screen and punch him.  I got our G5 grill so I could replace our contact grill, waffle iron, and sandwich press all in one fell swoop.  Reid was even more critical of grills that had removable plates.  Screw him.  My appliance is working just fine for me and suits my purposes.

I can understand the fuss slighty better about microwaves.  I understand it more so when our last two microwaves that had turntable carosels died.  We opted for an old Quasar that my in-laws weren't using, but it has no turntable.  But I use our microwave only for specific cooking tasks, like quickly cooking rice, defrosting frozen food quickly, or cooking a potato.  But I don't expect it to do anything that would be better served by convection heat, like in an oven.

2. Fussing over quality of ingredients

I don't mind using sea salt.  I buy a lot of my seasonings in bulk, and it's actually cheaper for me to use sea salt than iodized.  I am certain I am getting enough iodine through other means– either by added iodized salt to many food products, or seaweed, which I'm getting either by sushi, ice cream, or occasionally Japanese imported seasoning mixes (which often goes into ramen prepared from a package, because sometimes I roll like that).

But I'm just not picky enough to fuss over "too much" salt in processed foods.  I do not have the money, time, and patience to insist on everything fresh.  If I wind up using something out of a can, or don't make my seasoning mixes myself, I will adjust the recipe I am using it in accordingly.  Same goes for herbs– sometimes I will use something dried even though I am well aware it is not as flavorful.

3. Quality over convenience

Call me unrefined, uncultured, or common rabble, but if a recipe takes far too long to prepare and it is not something I can make a meal out of many times over many nights for my family… I'm not likely going to make it too often.  I will take the extra work that pizza requires, however.  Cimmy and Princess very vocally appreciate handmade pizza, and although it requires long and tiring work, I am willing to do it, as I can often make a much healthier alternative to the restaurant and "you bake" pizza places.

See #2.

Bread made entirely from scratch and entirely from hand also falls into this category.  I will have store-bought bread to make sandwiches and use a bread machine for the rest.  I am aware of the good quality of a nice handmade artisan bread.  Do I have time, space, patience, etc. to do that?  No, I don't.

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