Sunday, 12 April 2020

The joy of cooking


The principles of cooking
I guess one of the things I learnt from my mother is not so much how to cook, but the courage to decide when presented with an assortment of ingredients, I can make a good meal, not just for myself, but to share with others too. I do love cooking.
Besides, it is the joy in cooking food from its components, the selection, the preparation and the making of it. No time is too long for making a delicious meal, with practice, you find innovative ways to convert the process from a chore to an art. I choose from a variety of cuisines, sometimes following a recipe, but mostly not.
Then again, I remember when years ago I decided to remove taste enhancers like Maggi Seasoning Cubes from my cooking and I remember there was a time we were cajoled into using the nasty Monosodium Glutamate (MSG) back in Nigeria, now I rely on spices and herbs to bring out the taste and the flavour.
Confidence through practice
I have found I cannot taste my food whilst cooking it and when cooking for others, they would probably taste it first. I cannot suggest it is sheer confidence and skill that informs this, but I have rarely had to seek an emergency recovery of a cooking expedition awry. Yet, I desire exciting the taste buds enough for others to compliment your cooking
Knowing how to cook means that my tolerance for fast food is incredibly low, I would generally not consider it food, simply basic sustenance. You masticate, swallow and it keeps you going until you are hungry again. It informs my choosing a high-quality restaurant when eating out, where I hope the chef has a promising idea of what they are doing. It does give me some insight into being able to assess, review and critique, presentation, taste and quality. You never get a second chance to give a first good impression.
My Easter meal
For today, I decided on Asaro, I stick to the traditional names rather than find an English equivalent for it. Asaro is from southwestern Nigeria, Yoruba cuisine, made from diced pieces of peeled puna yam tuber, garnished with herbs and spices, cutlets of barracuda and catfish that were steamed for an hour, onions, garlic, chopped tomatoes, chillies, olive oil and palm oil. I have seen many recipes and I seem to prepare mine quite differently without any superfluous elements. I should work on writing out recipes.
It's a big pot and as with our West African foods, ensure the pot gets a good heating at least once a day. So, I will have a couple of days eating this. Like the old nursery rhyme, the porridge tastes better 3 days old. Maybe, it is an unintended ferment or some other natural activity, enough of the science, time to assuage the salivating.
Happy Easter! Everyone.

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