I’d like to state the obvious and declare to those who don’t know me that I thoroughly enjoy cooking. Oddly, this does not stem from a love of food (not that I don’t), but from a fixation with process, and the right way of doing things to achieve a defined end result. It isn’t art, where its acceptable to deviate from the journey started at the beginning of an artistic effort and appear in a completely new neighbourhood, perhaps at times even nicer than the original artistic destination.
This isn’t an approach I advocate or would enforce on those around me. The product of many, if not most culinary innovations is probably the opposite school of thought, that of organic cooking, of using what one finds around oneself and altering proportions as per mood or inclination. Its just the method I follow; my way of doing things. The advantage this offers to you, the reader and potential practitioner of the things listed here is that it offers a systematic process to follow, a building block to build and once built, to build upon.
The initial entries here will be very basic ones. The non-culinary inclined world currently seems to be divided into two broad groups of people. Those who don’t do so because they don’t need to and those who suffer from the misconception that they can’t.
It’s like Douglas Adams’ method of learning to fly from the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. Its all about jumping off and forgetting that you have to hit the ground, of being distracted and removed from the fact that falling or failure is a possibility. Kitchen process is something that can usually be made a mess of with neglect (and sometimes too much attention or effort (insert the number of times one has whipped whipping cream to butter)), ignorance (and conversely too much information (the Internet being one to blame in this case) and a general lack of confidence. The simplicity of the first entries here are meant entirely to draw outlines for baby steps into the realm of higher culinary endeavours. Automation and availability (the fact that you can pay very little money and have a creamy and albeit ridiculous pasta instead of making something infinitely better with just ten very readily available ingredients in exactly 22 minutes is a testament to this fact) have made contemporary man and woman forget the simplicity of things that were once common (making perfect pan toast for example, which will have an article dedicated to it in the near future).
I’m also taking a slight departure from the usual way of representing culinary processes. I love to draw, so I plan to illustrate the articles by hand. Sometimes the essence of a step or a method is easier to distil into a diagram than represent it in a photograph. This is something I plan to develop and change as I add more articles to the site, so I’d call this a first step, more than a final, rigid method that I plan to follow.
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Almost on cue, my dinner has just arrived. It consists of parathas with vegetable subzi that would have been quite nice if it wasn’t for a solitary piece of pineapple that randomly appeared in the middle of it. Its now pitch dark outside. Time to climb onto my upper berth and don my headphones.