Wednesday, January 30, 2008

ITS ALL ABOUT PASTA


Farm at Dawn acrylic 24x48

I love to eat good food, and even more, I love sharing the food, wine, and table with friends and family.

I also love to cook. Well, let me qualify that; I love to cook pasta. Which is fortunate, because we eat pasta a minimum of 4 times a week, not counting leftover lunches, something I attribute to my upbringing. In our home we ate pasta faithfully every Tuesday, Thursday, Sunday, and before anything else on holidays and special occasions. It was not until later in my life that I realized how much I missed out by not talking more to my mom about her cooking and getting her “recipes”. The few times I did ask about how she prepared something she would reply, “Billy I don’t know what to tell you. I don’t have recipes, I just add a little of this and a little of that...” I never pushed it.

I understand now what she meant. She cooked with whatever was available, simply mixing and matching to create the most wonderful meals. I can still see my father, sitting at the table leaning on his elbow with hands clasped in front of him and emitting such a satisfying “ahaaa”, as my mother placed a dish of spaghetti in front of him.

Both parents are gone, and here I am, 68 years old, and trying mightily to recreate at least something of my mothers kitchen. I’ve learned to focus my efforts on pasta, and if i can’t re-create my mothers dishes, I can at least follow her process and learn to cook with what is available. There is no doubt that this interest in the food and cooking is an attempt to hold on tomy familie’s heritage, knowing that in another generation only small remnants of it will remain.

I read recipes in the few cooking magazines I get, and in our small collection of cook books, and will occasionally prepare a meal from them. But mostly I look at them for ideas about what foods, seasoning, herbs,etc.,can be combined. I have no culinary background, and like my art, I am self taught. I am guided by my taste and smell. (I rarely taste food while cooking; I use the aroma as a guide.)

All the prepping and cooking is done on the large Island in our kitchen where 5 people can be comfortably be served. Friends and family sit here with wine and cheese while I prepare the meal.

I have a routine of sorts, depending on the choice of sauce being prepared. First and foremost, I glass of wine for the cook; it is not possible to prepare a good meal without a bit of sipping wine nearby. If no meat or seafood is involved, the first thing I do is sauté garlic and onions, with a dash of red pepper flakes, in olive oil. The aroma alone makes this all worthwhile! If the sauce is to have meat or seafood I will brown it in the olive oil first, remove and set aside, and de-glaze the pan with wine before adding the garlic and onions. Beyond this point all routine breaks down and I proceed according to the ingredients involved.

5 comments:

Jean Levert Hood said...

Bill, what a delightful post!!

Your painting is so good. I can feel that morning sky blazing forward!

Villager said...

Ok, you did it...I'm heading to Olive Garden for lunch!!
Great painting too.

timeisoftheessence said...

HEY! I can smell it all the way over here! I was wondering what that was! Now I know!

Abby Creek Art said...

You are blowing me away with these paintings, Bill! I love this one...so full of power and grace.

Hope you're feeling better. Nothing like a good bowl of pasta to help. I just made a new lasagna recipe today...with butternut squash and kale. I'll let you know if it's any good!

dog face girls said...

OMG, I can actually smell the onions and garlic sauteeing. Yum, Yum.

Oh, and of course, what a lovely painting.

Hugs,

Vee