Thursday, November 03, 2011
My father was a chemist, and some of my best memories of growing up were after dinner, when we'd push the dishes aside and he'd start explaining something and writing equations all over the napkins. An hour would disappear into his stories. Alton Brown picked up with food chemistry, but with puppets and models rather than equations. I read Shirley Corriher's book "Cookwise" (which, I think, was his model) when it first came out, and I was thrilled to see someone else who was as entranced by her approach to cooking as I was.
From Alton's "Final Thoughts" at the end of his last book:
"I do know that we have some pretty big problems in this country, and I think that at least a few of them could be solved if we concentrated as much on cooking as we do on eating. Food is fabulous stuff, to be sure, but cooking can also be its own reward. Cooking is an action, and it's time for more action and a little less consumption."
Truer words were never said. In our land of plenty, with microwaves and frozen and packaged food, consumption has been separated from creation. No wonder we are in such thrall to the food marketers! When we prepare our own meals, we have TWO joys: creation as well as consumption.
Alton ends with "And it wouldn't hurt us to be a little thankful every now and then."
I am far more aware of the bounty of today when I assemble my own meal than if I just stopped by the drive-in window. And awareness leads to gratitude.
All 3 of Alton Brown's books are fun and informative, and I only wish my father could have lived to enjoy them. And the food that resulted.