Food Glorious Food

Food Glorious Food

In which our intrepid reporter discusses, Fangsgiving, the hotness of Tony Bourdain and whether or not RRay is the Antichrist:

Fangsgiving sickness 2007 progresses. I’ve got a slight fever, stuffed up nose and a sore throat. I’m tired, tired, tired. I’ve take so much zinc I might have galvanized my bones, or maybe that’s that secret government project.

I’ve got to get better for I have a house to prepare for Fangsgiving. 7 family, 3 friends. I’m also responsible for the:

Brined Turkey (and it is so good it makes people steal the leftovers, seriously)

Sage cornbread dressing

Brown Sugar Carrots

Sweet Potato er, souffle? I dunno that tasty thing with all the butter, cream, raisins, and marshmallows (one with nuts, one without)

homemade cranberry sauce.

Two pecan pies, two pumpkin pies (two for dinner, one for a neighbor and one for a friend)

Our friends Spooky S and Spooky B (The Bean’s name for them)are bringing a huge amount of potatoes, and my sister is bringing green bean casserole, once I supply the non MSG and additive laden ingredients (soup=huge amounts of MSG).

God, I’m cooking a lot. It’s a good thing I like it. Well, I like the result and the sense of accomplishment. And after reading so many chef books, I find I’m enjoying the process a lot more now. I put on music, pour a glass of wine, lay out my meez ( as Anthony Bourdain, that sexy rockstar of cheffitude calls the mise en place) and begin the chopping. My “knife skills” are horrid, but maybe with time will improve. Hah, I can but dream.

What’s funny about the whole chef fascination thing is that I used to hate cooking. I wasn’t raised to cook. My dad enjoyed cooking, my mom didn’t. I never learned how to boil water. My roommates B and G taught me that –seriously, I didn’t know how to boil /make spaghetti with pasta sauce from a bottle. IN COLLEGE!

This should be surprising since all my after school and support myself in college jobs, at least up until I moved to San Francisco were in food service. I was a fast busboy. I washed dishes. I did salad prep and sauces (badly). I was a HORRIBLE waitress and a worse cocktail waitress. I was a great hostess –excellent memory.

And I didn’t like that either. It was just good money.

Sad really. I liked food off and on and always appreciated a great restaurant. I went to several many in San Francisco. From Famous–like Postrio, Stars, Acqua (for a promotion lunch, wow) The Fly Trap– to Trendy like Park Chow, House, Mars –to neighborhood secrets like that excellent Vietnamese place on 6th street in the middle of crack hell or The Raintree with the Irish Waitresses and blood pudding …sigh. I miss SF. Not enough to move back mind you, but I miss the variety of well, everything. But when I’m reading one of my chef obsession books I think about some of the amazing meals I’ve had and most of them were in San Francisco and Berkeley. I’m surprised, after enjoying, but not being fanatical about food (until the last few years) how much I remember about meals I had . Like I said, I enjoyed good food, and really liked pretty food but it wasn’t a fascination.

When I started cooking myself, after I married J that’s when it began. First just workmanship and lots of mistakes. That poor man ate some horrible horrible things. But he never complained and we often ended up eating peanut butter while laughing at my glutinous masterpieces.

(Much unlike my first marriage where he would nag me about cooking and I would…make an all orange meal. Usually very starchy, out of boxes and more than a little frightening).

I got better. And then I got a lot better when I realized that hey, this is my job now and I love him so he should eat well. And when we discovered my additive and preservative sensitivities (that’s putting trips to the emergency room in anaphylactic shock gently) I wanted just to eat safely myself.

And when the Bean could eat food, well she was going to eat food I made myself. At least half the time. The other half the time it was organic baby food with nothing but food in it.

I really started liking cookbooks. Then I got curious about the people who wrote them.

Then came the FOOD network. And Alton Brown, my first love–he explained cooking like chemistry and my brain liked that. I tivo his shows because you get so much info at once it takes awhile to , er digest it all. And I like Paula Dean though I’d probably never cook that way (would you like a stick of butter with your butter?), Nigella Lawson was interesting and at least convinced me to like eating again. She made it fun and sensual.

And then there were the personalities. Like Bourdain, who’s a sexy manbeast of ex junkie rockstar French cooking sauciness and Gordon Ramsey the footballing, foul (fowl) mouthed evil dictator of Hell’s Kitchen. And Top Chef–Oh I love watching the cheftestants go at it at high altitudes or on beaches cooking on heated rocks or something. And dammit, I hate reality shows. But maybe these aren’t so much as competitions? Top Chef seems somewhat based on the Certified Master Chef exam of the CIA.

Honestly my friends here who I grew up with, are somewhat mystified. They knew me as the strident never will I be enslaved to the kitchen feminist of my younger years. And while I remain a feminist and not enslaved (except perhaps to cats and coffee) I enjoy the kitchen and many things about cooking and chefs and learning about cooking.

I don’t understand it myself.

And no, I don’t like Martha Stewart, she’s a Yankee with a stick up her hind end and a bad case of OCD. And Rachel Ray? I can’t say I am rabid in my dislike as so many others are. I mean I don’t think she’s the Antichrist or anything. But she’s way to hyper and cutesy which gives me gas.