I was eating dinner the other night when understanding found its way into the miry depths of my skull. I’ve thought of myself as a bit of a “foodie” for a few years now. I enjoy cooking, especially when I can cook something that’s as good or better than I would get in a restaurant. But I’m not a “gourmet.” My favorite foods are pretty simple.
Not that there’s anything wrong with gourmet cuisine. If foie gras is your thing, enjoy! I do occasionally enjoy dining at a fine restaurant and enjoying the work of a gifted chef. But I find at least as much enjoyment in my quest to make the perfect macaroni and cheese.
On the opposite end of the spectrum we have convenience foods. Much of my early cooking came out of boxes. Frozen, powdered, dried, condensed, reconstituted and instant pretty much summed up my cooking repertoire. The fact that the “tomato sauce” in the meal-in-a-box for the night contained no actual tomatoes was something I didn’t think about much. Square fish, vague brown “sauce” (or worse, “gravy”) oddly colored foods and ingredient lists that belonged in my high school chemistry class were par for the course.
I find myself in the middle now. I want good, simple food made from ingredients from my food store. I’ll leave the chemistry to someone else. That’s the essence of “Real Food.” I want the food my grandmother made. If I can update the flavor and technique without having to resort to artificial, over-processed garbage, then that’s a bonus.