Tuesday, January 15, 2013

The Girl Who Blogged Anything

I told myself I'd come back to blogging this year - writing every day is good for you. Or at least it is for me. So here I am.

There are a few things I'm passionate about, but two that never stress me are cooking and food. When I'm taking on a cooking challenge of some sort - tackling an ingredient I've never cooked, never tasted or both, or trying a brand new technique - it's stretching boundaries, not building stress. It's therapeutic. And since I'm back at school for the last semester of my MA a little therapeutic is just what I need.

None of this is to say that I'm trained in, well, anything to do with food. Unless you count growing up in a home where your mom cooked everything from scratch, or where your dad brought home game meats for you to try. You could count having a friend who, in spite of being a vegetarian and even trying her hand at vegan in the past, has never been able to say "No" to steamed tripe at a dim sum restaurant and needs someone to split it with when you go out for lunch. You could count growing up with pet ducks and the choices that having something so delicious as a pet eventually forces you to make. (More on that another time.)

All of the above have been formative experiences for me in my food and cooking life. What they've taught me is to never be afraid of food. So while I've never taken a knife class, I've also never looked at a recipe and thought to myself "I couldn't do that." Sure, I've tried and failed, but I never look at a new recipe with fear. There's nothing to be afraid of when it comes to cooking, only opportunities to learn.

In 2012 I made the decision to start toying around with charcuterie in 2013, but when 2013 rolled 'round the first challenge I took on was ending my two-year war with bread - and won. I've successfully produced pizza dough and naan from scratch. They were even good. Tonight I finally made it to a butcher for a duck breast, brought it home, sat down with a pair of tweezers and removed the remaining feather stumps (Honestly, you'd think for $30+/kg they could take out the feather stumps. On the other hand maybe I could have left them.) and it's now nestled away in salt for the next 24 hours, before I hang it up in my basement to cure and (hopefully) yield my very first duck prosciutto.

So now seems as good a time as ever to start chronicling this journey. To spice things up a little more my ongoing challenges include cooking offal well and mastering some arts of French cooking.