QotD: I Was The Sous Chef

Who taught you how to cook?
Submitted by Donna.

I did. Well, me and the New Basics Cookbook were really what did it. It was a matter of learning that the combination of decent tomatoes, olive oil, fresh basil, red wine and al dente pasta were enough to make a delicious dish. Around that time, I was living in Minneapolis for the year. My mom and I were both single and living together. That year, she asked if I wanted to cook Christmas dinner. I tried the orange-roasted capon  and it was delicious. It all went from there, but the pasta sauce recipe was the key. I even immortalized in in 1995 online, on my first personal site. The purpose of pasta sauce is to woo.

All of my friends have memories of me serving them food way too late: I remember one time, serving dinner at midnight. They remember the 35 person Thanksgiving dinner where we sat on the floor in 1998, with the gravy that Maggie made and Molly and Rosemary walking around, serving people the cinnamon ice cream. They remember SXSW the first year I attended, making pasta for 50 people at Lane and Courtney's house when they were roommates, not yet dating.

A New Way to Cook
Sally Schneider

These days, my skills of scale have greatly improved. I cook almost every night (Enrique does dishes) and we usually eat at a reasonable time. Last night, I made a white bean soup from the improvisational directions set out in A New Way to Cook — it had bacon, shallots, onions, carrots, great northern white beans, and mustard greens, and we had garlic toast with it. So good. We eat a fair amount of greens — broccoli rabe and brussels sprouts are favorites, cooked in a little olive oil and finished with lemon. Sometimes, I cook for the rest of our cohort (the five of us) — that was recently beef bourginon, and before that, Rick Bayless's tomatillo-braised pork roast.

I love the creative, warmth and joy that cooking imparts; it's different than what I study, what I read for research and school, what I do on the Internet. It's personal and it brings people together. I actually like cooking more than I like eating.

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  1. Cinnamon ice cream, yes huh! I remember your roommate had some kind of tiny red car that Estro fit into just right. That was a lovely Thanksgiving!!

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