Tuesday, September 11, 2018

Like Water for Chocolate

Last Saturday night, after getting back from visiting mum in hospital and dad in the home,  my brother and I opened some wine and went to work preparing a large and elaborate spicy lamb pilaf in the family home's kitchen.

It was comforting to have something that required attention, without being overtaxing, to do after the rigours and emotions of the day.

I will be back again this weekend so we will do the coq au vin from Anthony Bourdain's Les Halles Cookbook; my copy was a birthday present from my mother in 2005.

The recipe is legitimately on the internet here so John can bone up on it before I get to Cardiff if he wants.
Another easy dish that looks like it’s hard. It’s not. In fact, this is the kind of dish you might enjoy spending a leisurely afternoon with. There are plenty of opportunities for breaks. It’s durable, delicious, and the perfect illustration of the principles of turning something big and tough and unlovely into something truly wonderful. I know it looks like a lot of ingredients, and that the recipe might be complicated. Just take your time. Knock out your prep one thing at a time, slowly building your mise en place. Listen to some music while you do it. There’s an open bottle of wine left from the recipe, so have a glass now and again. Just clean up after yourself as you go, so your kitchen doesn’t look like a disaster area when you start the actual cooking.
You should, with any luck, reach a Zen-like state of pleasurable calm. And like the very best dishes, coq au vin is one of those that goes on the stove looking, smelling, and tasting pretty nasty, and yet later, through the mysterious, alchemical processes of time and heat, turns into something magical.
That sounds like therapy.
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