December 26, 2001
A few of the past several nights I've watched parts of "The Naked Chef" on the Food Network. I watched some just a second ago (before it cut to a commercial -- now I'm watching "Springer Soup" on E!) and saw the Naked Chef skewering small skinned chickens with long herb stems (I forgot the herb) and putting them in a pan with neatly sliced potato slivers. The Naked Chef looks like a cockney Raver kid of some sort, with the thick accent that sounds like he's got a bunch of food in his mouth (and a lisp). He wears t-shirts and has stylishly messy bleached hair. And, as far as I can tell, he knows his way around a kitchen. And the last episode included a piece of tape of him visiting a foodseller to buy some mushrooms. The little connection between the Chef and the seller had that sort of comraderie that comes from two people working on the same art project together. Looked cool.
So anyway, I cooked for the House of Commons off-and-on for three years (under the tutelage of the industrious Matt Auger) and have cooked meals for my family and myself. And I've really grown to appreciate well prepared food (not that I have a super-tuned pallette, or anything, but I can definitely register broad quality differences), which leads me to my general appreciation of the act of cooking as an intelligent, multisensory, artistic activity that fills a basic human need (for feed). It'd be nice to have a better set of kitchen skills, beyond my current recipe-book-with-basic-knowledge-of-spice-mixing skills, that I could use to really be creative with cooking -- to be one of those guys who knows the corner grocer by name and can rap about the quality of the current crop of 'shrooms. (I probably wouldn't be doing that in Austin. Maybe somewhere else in the US or elsewhere on the planet...) Back to the point. I need to know more about food. I think I'd like to take a cooking class this coming semester (I still think in semester terms) -- just a simple thing to give me the basics about how chefs might really think.
Maybe I'm thinking these thoughts because I'm really fuggin' hungry for some of the good Austin cookin' I'm so used to. Mm. Trudy's. Veggie Heaven. Kim Phung. World Beat Café. You are all so close and yet so far away. Oh, I know what I'm doing this evening after I get home (with all my Christmas gift money)!
No, I'm really hungry. I'm going to go down to the kitchen and eat something when the Howard Stern Show takes an ad break.