During the vlog this week, I mentioned nostalgia brought on by tasting food. The movie I was referencing was Ratatouille. For those of you who don’t know what the premise of the movie is, it’s that anybody can cook, even if you are a mouse. It follows the narrator, Remy through his journey from the Parisian countryside to ending up in the heart of Paris at the restaurant Gusteau. The scene I was referencing comes toward the end, where this critic Anton Ego is coming to the restaurant and they bring him out a plate of ratatouille. He studies it almost sceptically and then takes a bite. The next thing that happens is that we are taken to a glimpse of his childhood. He’s standing in the kitchen looking like he’s just been beaten up. The scene cuts to the young Ego sitting at the table, his mum handing him a bowl of what looks like ratatouille and he tucking in, a smile forming on his lips before we’re taken back to present day. Continue reading
I’m not a baker and this fact should be evident. Baking, to me, is far too precise. You can’t deviate from the recipe in the slightest way without something going awry. That’s part of the allure of cooking for me. While baking is more of a science, cooking is an art. You can throw a little of this here, add a dash of that there. Yet, you also have to know when it’s enough. Every artist faces this dilemma, of knowing when to stop and say it’s enough.
That aside, My sister Sydney and I tried our hand baking together. While I dabble in cooking, she dabbles in baking. She’s made some of the best cookies (aside from Mum’s) that I’ve ever eaten. Her monkey-butt muffins are delicious and she makes a to kill for coffee cake. We were sitting around bored when I decided to show her the cookie cutters that I bought for my birthday. They’re from the game Portal by Valve and I absolutely adore them. She has a macabre sense of humour and thought that the portal men cookie cutters looked like chalk outlines of murder victims, or better yet ninjas. I’d never seen her so thrilled by something and I suggested we go bake cookies. Continue reading
After a hearty breakfast Friday morning, I offered my help in my Aunt’s kitchen wherever I was needed. I learned how to cut and pit a honeydew (pitting was fun, just pulled the seeds out with my hands. It reminded me of pitting a pumpkin), helped assemble a huge fruit salad, and then made the buffalo chicken dip. Continue reading
Over the years, Meatloaf was always a dish that Mum would make on cooler nights. Sometimes it would be early in the spring, late in the summer when we would have an uncharacteristic crisp night brought on by heavy rains. Perhaps it would be late in the winter and it would be waiting on a plate when Sydney and I came in from sledding with the neighbourhood boys. She always prepared it the same way, Mum did. She would make the meatloaf, green beans (depending on the time of year, fresh or canned), and potatoes. Some nights it would be mashed potatoes, other nights potatoes au gratin, or if she had the time, twice baked potatoes. No matter what kind of potatoes she made, they were delicious with the meal. Her mashed potatoes were never gluey (like mine will occasionally turn out), the twice baked potatoes would be perfectly cheesy, not overbearingly so, yet not lacking. You get the idea. The meatloaf was always cooked the same way, yet until a handful of years ago, I never knew how she did it aside from the fact she would use her big white mixer. It was always the same, her meatloaf. It was never crumbly, perfectly moist, and had a plethora of flavours that left even the pickiest of eaters going back for more. She would add a half a bottle of barbecue sauce to the rest of the ingredients she was mixing, form it into a loaf, add it to the casserole dish and the spread more meatloaf on top before baking it. With 10 minutes left, Mum would remove the pan from the oven, only briefly, and add more barbecue sauce on top, careful to spread it evenly before putting it back in the oven to finish baking. When finished, she would allow it to sit, and the house would smell absolutely delicious. Finally, she would cut into it with a knife into slices. Each slice was uniform and sat perfectly on the plate among everything else. Before eating it, Dad would always take the barbecue sauce and add more to his plate. Growing up watching him do that, it’s no wonder that I started doing that too. Each bite, with or without the extra barbecue sauce was tangy and delicious. Depending on the barbecue sauce Mum had on hand, there would be that slow burning kick that was present, but did not inflame one’s mouth, or it would just be tangy, the onion from the soup mix having baked and lending to the meatloaf it’s flavour, the breadcrumbs were just a binder, but you could taste the subtle hints of Italian herbs that they brought with them. In short: it was a symphony of flavours that graced my tongue and that’s how I grew up thinking everyone’s meatloaf was. Continue reading
This weekend was chaotic: I worked a bunch of hours (more money for food, which means more cooking) and it was my kid sister’s birthday. We went to Olive Garden for dinner Saturday night and I tried a dish that inspired a recipe thought. However, that plays no purpose here. Continue reading