Sunday, January 6, 2013

On discovering Brillat-Savarin

For the last few days I have been trying all possible ways to stay away from the stove and I so wish there was a scullery somewhere far away. Just so that I didn't get to set my eyes on the naked stove staring at me like a hapless victim while i did the cleaning of the cutlery and the take away containers.

I swear, this is not the real me. The usual me loves cooking.

But hey, don't people change? Of course they do. I didn't feel like boiling, I didn't feel like baking, I didn't feel like sauteing, I didn't feel like roasting, I didn't feel like mixing, I didn't feel like seasoning...

I have been excusing myself from the kitchen giving the most obscure reasons anybody would come out with. But this year is going to see a change. The recipes in the books stacked away in my kitchen library will see the light of the day. They will come to life. And all thanks to Jean Anthelme Brillat Savarin.

Say who?

Never mind.

I hadn't heard of him for the longest of time in my life. Considering my love for wine and cheese I should have been one of his ardent followers. No, he doesn't have a twitter handle :) He bade farewell to the world much much before my ancestors were born and is probably now sipping a glass of wine with the Greek god Dionysus. But yes, I am glad that I heard of him. And at this critical point of my life where I have to depend on all kinds of motivation to push myself into the kitchen, it is his funny quotes thats doing the trick.

"The discovery of a new dish confers more happiness on humanity, than the discovery of a new star."

"Cooking is one of the oldest arts and one that has rendered us the most important service in civic life."

Oh, you haven't heard these quotes?

Never mind. 

Ever heard of Savarin cheese? Yeah? 
Same chap :)

When I think of how I discovered this brilliant gastronome and his work I start to believe in things like destiny and karma. It so happened that I was at the supermarket around Christmas, in pursuit of ingredients that would go into the making of a plum cake. And this was two years back. The hunt was on for a cake mould, when a soft voice asked me if I was from Bombay. I turned back to see a very pleasant looking lady with an urge to know something. I replied in the affirmative and she looked relieved. But the relief wasn't going to stay long as the next question was a perplexing one for me that threw a string of quests back at her..

"Can you tell me of a place from where I can pick up a savoring mould?"
"Sorry, I didn't get that. What mould?"
"A savouring mould!"
My mind started wondering while my eyes wandered. Is she referring to some kind of fungi that is edible and tasty? Is she looking for a peculiar variety of mushroom? Should I feign knowledgeable or tell her upfront that this was never-heard-of term for me? I chose the latter, telling her that I didn't know what it was. 
"It's a baking mould", she said.
"Ohhhh, a baking mould!?!"

I already knew that the first thing on my to-do list, after reaching home, was to put Google to work. And I did. And as usual Google threw a question back at me. Here it is:

So, it wasn't savouring, but Savarin mould and it was named after Brillat-Savarin (not that if she'd pronounced it right, i would've got it). 
The same  chap who was famous for the famous maxim:
"Tell me what you eat and I will tell you who you are".

I am not going to write too much about him as the internet already has a lot of information.  But, someday I would love to own a copy of 'Physiologie du goût (The Physiology of Taste)'.

 P.S. Tell me what you eat and I will tell you what you are. I am Pasta, sometimes Pizza :)

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Thursday, January 3, 2013

I am back!

"Slothfulness casts into a deep sleep, and an idle person will suffer hunger." - Bible

I haven't been penning down my thoughts for the longest of time now. Excuses aren't plenty either. Nothing but pure indolence. Have been a sloth in the past few months. That's what happens when you are a pampered mother, a pampered daughter-in-law and a pampered wife. And continuously staying from writing has developed a serious case of writer's block. I am trying to come out of it. The only respite is that I am not liable for the multitude of readers who don't throng my blog for more stuff. Hence I can afford to shirk writing. 

But now I am back and have decided to put things in order. There has been a fair amount of travelling in the past few months and before my brain decides to do away with the true collection of events, I need to put it down somewhere.

On a seriously light note, it had been one heck of a year. Couldn't ask for more.

And before I rest on that chair in front of my laptop there are things to be taken care of. I can see the Christmas tree waiting to wage a war for making it stand on the deck way after working time. It's the 4th already and I am yet to get the jingbang down, the whole Christmas paraphernalia.

The ghost in my wardrobe is pushing clothes outside. No, no, no. Don't get me wrong. There aren't too many clothes in the house. The shelves aren't enough, actually. So I have to take care of all that's lying outside waiting to know what it looks like inside of a wardrobe.

And then there are those brown cartons. They look full, in fact they look like they have been filled beyond capacity. I don't know where these things came from. It is a little hard to believe that my house actually stored the things in those cartons before the paint job.

Honestly, I am comfortable living in mess. But the rest of family disagrees. And majority always wins. And majority also stays away from undoing the mess. That has to be taken care of by this poor, humble soul. And this soul has to enjoy the process of cleaning. 

For starters...where's the camera!?!