Thursday, January 15, 2009

Life's too short

Food has been important to me throughout my life.  From childhood boxed-cake recipes through self-preservation budget cooking in college, on through youthful gluttony, bar-be-que cuisine and family holiday dinners, up to to my present interest in truly tasty foods, food preparation has always meant more to me than just heating things up.  That's not to say I haven't eaten my share of Oscar Mayer wieners with Kraft Dinner, but as my tastes and understanding of the ingredients and nutrient value of foods have matured, I've come to realize that no matter how intellectually satisfying a food may be due to it's healthy constituents, if its bland it usually won't make it into the keeper file or be satisfying to the appetite.  But include some garlic, use the right herbs or baste it with chimichurri and odds are it will at least be memorable and will most likely be very satisfying on all fronts. In short, life's too short for bland food, especially since bland can be banned so easily by adding just a few ingredients.  

Garlic is one of these ingredients; I currently grow and use it in fairly large quantities.  Perhaps my taste bud configuration has matured (some would say deteriorated) to the point that I need an extra boost, or perhaps I am a late bloomer to the remarkable capacity these little bulbs can bring to food seasoning.  Either way, garlic-laced mashed potatoes (as an example) are so incomparably better than plain old mashed that they hardly seem to be the same food. Typically over-done ultra picante hot seasoning is not in my game book.  I think seasoning food that way is a cop-out, letting capsaicin-induced discomfort distract from the true flavor of the food. Those who favor it should keep in mind that that style of seasoning was originally used to cover the off-flavor of partially spoiled meat.  I'll use a little pepper-derived seasoning from time to time, but it is no mainstay in the rigging of my cooking. 

As a professional bench scientist, I greatly enjoy each dish I prepare and find the process quite comparable to the the analytical biochemistry I have built my career around. Assay data feeds your lab-funding entity while cooking feeds the family, and tasty food made with healthy ingredients feeds the soul.  Best to do them all well.

In this blog I'll share some of my ongoing food experiences and even include recipes where the text doesn't do the preparation justice.  Let me know if you find my comments useful.

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