What’s Reading Got To Do With It?
Updated: Jul 14
People often ask me at the farmers market whether I use the products I sell, specifically the spice and condiment mixes. The answer is that ALL the mixes I sell are everyday staples in my kitchen, . For example, the Japanese condiment furikake was sprinkled on the above brown rice, quinoa, tomato and basil salad bowl. Instant chef level Japanese flavored dining.
I have always cooked, from the garden and/or from scratch as much as possible. I was not raised in a fast food, dining out, takeaway culture. For my first 40 years I lived in a culture where, if you wanted to spend time with friends, you invited them to a meal.
Since 2020 and the first pandemic shutdowns which catapulted me into retirement, and curtailed my international travel habit, led by Anthony Bourdain and Michael Pollen, I have been deliberately exploring kitchen alchemy: foods, cuisines and flavors - vegan or egg free vegetarian are my only restrictions. I have the time. It makes cooking for one interesting and engaging rather than a chore or a formula. Especially when informed by reading.
Recently the 6th Avenue harissa was used to spice up a tray of maple syrup roasted (local) pecans. I sprinkle them on salads. Or eat them straight from the jar.
Since the oven was heated, a pan of Brussels sprouts was roasted at the same time. These were tossed in olive oil and flavored with 6th Avenue Shala garlic salt, fresh ground black pepper and 6th Avenue Shala Sri Lanka Curry mix.
Oven roasted Brussels sprouts are delicious hot. However, in the current high summer heat, I am enjoying them served cold (like revenge), sprinkled with the Middle Eastern condiment dukkah. I do make the dukkah from scratch but, like the spiced nuts, it is not an item I will offer in the market.
In the past few days, all the potatoes have been lifted. It wasn’t the world’s most successful potato harvest but adequate and sufficient. I planted red and purple varieties.
There will be lots of trays of potato chips coming out of the oven in the coming weeks. To flavour them, I will select from the savory salt or spice mixes as the day demands. My other favorite way to use potato is grated and mixed with chickpea flour for pancakes.
Yes I do eat well. For one person living alone. I blame it on reading. And the Garden of Earthly Delights.
Long ago and far away in another country the mother of a friend told me, in response to my complimenting her on the meal she had served us: “If you can read, you can cook.”
Kitchen alchemy explained.
Kitchen Confidential by Anthony Bourdain
Anything by Michael Pollen - full bibliography