Les bases simple....
*************When I started this blog, I supposed, wrongly it appears, that visitors would have a vague minimum of ideas about the art and Science of Cooking.
Seems this isn't completely the case, and actually, in this day and age of "ready-made" I'm not too surprised. I was surprised that whilst doing simple research, I found it quite difficult to find anywhere that covered all of the simple and basic operations in every kitchen.
I'm not too sure whether nowadays the subject still exists in Schools and Colleges - probably not, probably declared "demeaning" or "sexist" or "discriminating" the ancient subject, taught in all Girl Institutions of "Domestic Science" tells us, in its name, everything we need to know ..Cooking is and was and always will be - a Science, and a necessary one, even if we are used nowadays to opening a packet or a tin, and hoping it's going to taste of something-recognisable!
Certainly I am not against "time-saving" nor do I think that females should be bound and tied to the kitchen and other "domestic tasks", but I do think they should be at least informed of a few basic facts, as indeed should the male of the species....It is true, in my day an image like this would not have existed. Boys did not have "Domestic Science" lessons at school, we were too busy learning how to make stink bombs or becoming experts in dissecting frogs, both useful in the kitchen! Pictures like this were quite rare as well, it is only really after the discovery of "quick food" that the male of the species found out that cooking wasn't only a Science, but an Art, and a very useful one - one which could save a lot of money, could give a lot of pleasure - both in the preparation, serving and eating of the products. He also found out that the female of the species did not have an automatic power of attorney in the pleasures of the kitchen, and things took off - occasionally at least! Of course, professionally, the male Chef had really always been the "one in charge" ...waving large knives or wooden spoons or metal ladles around and screaming into the distance....!
Nowadays, both sexes do it....which can make it all quite confusing, if more interesting...Cookery courses, strangely enough, are visited more nowadays by males than by females...maybe because the female believes herself to be already more than capable, or maybe because of the higher divorce rates...either way, there are always things to be learnt in the kitchen, as men are finding out....
I'll give you all just one link in case you want to discover a few basics for yourselves...my only regret is that I can find nowhere sites which inform and use a sensible mixture of old and new. (unless I go back to times pre-historic to items like "Mrs Beeton's Cookbook")
"Old and New" - is the operative statement. After all - apart from a few very selective Hotels and Restaurants, not even the professional kitchens use exclusively "old" recipes, or "old" ways of preparation and cooking.
Where there is a sustainable quality whilst a great saving in expense and time, then I am in favour, and nowhere more than in the home kitchen. After all how many of you have EVER made your own meat stock in the old and doubtlessly best way....first burning meat bones in an oven to seal the flavour, getting colour, smoking everybody else out.......then get it all into enormous containers, with all the other ingredients, spend hours and hours of expensive energy in extracting the taste and the goodness, then more hours in "reducing" it ready for use over the weeks to come.....?
All 10 or 20 gallons of it!
Although without doubt the very essence of all things good, we all have tendencies nowadays to reach for one or another of the prepared products.........amongst others.................The problem is that these commercialised products do have their own individual taste, not always appreciated or needed, and often overpowering.
Ironically, I found this site which is an AMERICAN/CANADIAN one...the continent of almost every thinkable culinary short cut.....and then some...pleasing in a way, but I wonder how many people invest.....?...Here is the link, because they give a brilliant recipe for simple meat broth or stock, usable for all other recipes, and they explain a bit about the uses.....
Mysteries like the "Mirepoix" are explained, and cooking times explained as well, and you can sign up for a newsletter, and get free recipes from their style of cooking.
Of course every type of food needs it's own type of "stock". Making good sauces is based on having good stocks. For fish dishes even more important, try making a palatable fish dish with a good sauce from a meat stock....impossible...!
You need.....just for the stock!
If you know a good fishmonger ask him for the trimmings, skins, debris after fileting, actually - he probably sells it otherwise, very few just throw it away nowadays because of the price!
Here is a link to HOW to make a fish stock or "fumet":
I think the words used in this Weblogsite (reproduced here) are so true and you will only appreciate the fact when you start making your fish and meat dishes from your own self-produced stocks and fumets.
Next time around, we'll start having a look at those basics to be made from your own stocks and fumets.....the sauces "Espagnol" - "Bechamel" - "Fumets"...... and all the rest.....
"Stock to a cook is voice to a singer"
Doesn't need to be "pre-made"............even better if it isn't.......
|Aunt Bessie's Bechamel and general Mix......|