08 September 2005

Returning to a good lunch

As a child I knew I was blessed with a mum who, being an excellent Indian cook, instinctively understood the role of herbs and spices in food.

As a child I knew I was cursed having a mum who, being an excellent Indian cook, habitually turned everything into a curry (try explaining to schoolmates why cinnamon and gingerroot are in the meatballs).

This is what I grew up with. This is what I knew.

As an adult (but not a gr’up) I now appreciate what I originally dismissed as trivial and common knowledge is something that isn’t trivial and not all that common.

This realization came a few years ago. Sitting in the office caf with a brown-bagged sandwich (made from home-made bread and real roasted meats) or maybe it was a leftover supper of simple, but flavourful pasta, I watched colleagues with their greasy assembly line burgers, microwaved frozen, pre-packaged, over-sugared and hyper-salted collections of processed animal parts, and leftover takeaway dinner remnants. They looked fatigued. They looked bored. They looked unhappy.

Someone asked where I bought my lunch because “it looked so good.”

Do “good” lunches only exist on menus?

No…of course not.

Good lunches (and suppers and breakfasts and 2am bingefests) exist as part of an accessible and ever-changing collective food knowledge. Keeping this knowledge alive is what this blog is about.

I’m not going to profess lofty goals of shepherding a lost culinary generation. I’m not a chef and I don’t have a degree in home economics. Heck, most days it takes great effort to leave my kitchen with all my fingers in tact and most of my blood still in my arteries.

What I am is someone who likes to cook…and eat…and feed.

What you’ll find here is the evolution of my foodie writing, begun on the Get Connected site, continued by informal cooking lessons and late-night calls, answering general cooking questions. I’ll write about ingredients and restaurants. I’ll explore feasts and foods. But most of all, I’ll encourage people to try something new to them.

I’ve written elsewhere that cooking is more than a means to an end, more than satiating the primal need to eat.

Cooking is about developing an innate, almost intuitive understanding about food. It’s about showcasing an ingredient’s best qualities and, of course, it’s about stimulating your imagination.

Sometimes there’s indigestion. But sometimes, through a series of cleverly diguised trial and error meals (aka hideously-smelling and vile-tasting sluice), you learn, you grow and you trust your culinary skills.

And from that, you will return to a good lunch.

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