Monday, August 13, 2012

The Family Meal.

After our week of low-carb food business, I think it's safe to say the the hubbs and I are ready for something new and different.  While I appreciated the simplicity of the meals I made last week, I long for more creativity in the kitchen as far as interesting dishes are concerned. We both enjoyed the food very much, but limiting what we eat so specifically proved too hard on a day-to-day basis. 

I found the biggest problem for me was with meal planning.  We hit up the market on the previous Sunday and tried to stock up on every item we'd need for the week.  The issue wasn't the amount of the grocery bill- it was keeping an entire weeks worth of yum fresh for 5 days.  I suppose that was my mistake though, I thought it would make my life easier, but boy was I wrong.  It put me on a cooking schedule, made me feel like I *had* to make certain dishes on a certain day.  I just don't cook (or live) that way at all. 

I love fresh food, and honestly, I really enjoy the act of grocery shopping regularly.  Whether it's heading to the butcher for a special cut of meat or to the farmer's market for a bushel of green onions.  It makes me happy.  I can feel the folks starting to recognize me, they smile, they save goodies for me, they are excited to share their product and their ideas.  So I'm sticking with them.  I know it's not practical for everyone to go to the grocery store or market every single day, but I see it as a chance to get out of the house, be dazzled by the food and perhaps find something new and different to try.  It works well for me and I'm blessed to lead a lifestyle that allows it at this point in time. 

Recently, as a gift, I gave one of my best girlfriends my favorite cookbook as a birthday present, "The Family Meal- Home Cooking with Ferran Adria."  She too loves to cook and finds immense joy in food, and we often times exchange recipes and insight as we cook on our own.  I was really passionate about sharing this treasure with her because I know how much she adores cooking herself and this seemed like the perfect addition to her collection, also a beloved member of my own library.  I discovered this cookbook after I watched the documentary "elBulli: Cooking in Progress" quite some time ago.  A tasty peek into the world of some of the most innovative and exciting cooking in existence, this film had both the hubbs and I mesmorized, sitting in silence and awe. 

I became obsessed with Ferran Adria's persona, a quiet and highly intelligent kitchen genius.  His legendary elBulli restaurant in northern Spain was considered the best restaurant in the world until it's closure in July of 2011.  With his incredibly low-key demeanor and meticulous attention to detail, I find myself fascinated with this culinary magician.  I also really enjoy the way Ferran embraces all different styles of cooking, in this case, The Family Meal.

"The family meal is the dinner eaten every day by the 75 members of staff at elBulli restaurant.  We call it that because the staff members are like a family, and the family meal is an important moment when everyone sits down together to eat.  You might assume that the staff would eat the same food as the guests, but the don't.  In fact, people are surprised when we tell them that we eat ordinary food...  Why is the family meal so important at elBulli?  The answer is very simple: we believe if we eat well, we cook well." 

Practical, fresh, seasonal and balanced.  With this in mind, I've decided to attempt a slew of meals from his cookbook over the next few weeks.  I have confidence in myself that I can do it and do it well, plus it just seems like a fun idea.  As I sit here leafing through the book, I find it shocking just how easy an elegant meal can be.  I recommend "The Family Meal" to everyone, at-home chef to young people.  With it's easy to follow recipes and clear, concise instructions, there's really no excuse to not get in the kitchen and get cooking!  We'll see how it goes- menu, photos and commentary to come soon enough.

I think first up tomorrow night will be the Fried eggs with asparagus, chicken wings with mushrooms and sangria with fruit- can't wait!

Eat well, cook well & be well,


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