Since I’ve moved to Berlin, I’ve made a lot of really nice food, but it’s basically consisted of just two or three ingredients and various additions of heat.
Part of it is that I can afford all kinds of foods that I couldn’t in Denmark. The price of an eggplant went from $2 to $0.50. A mango went from $4 to $1. And don’t even get me started on the yogurt.
The other component is that there’s just a lot of great food that can basically be prepared recipe-free. Today for lunch I had cheddar and a banana (it’s even better melted!). Dinner last night was Eggplant and olive oil, roasted an hour.
I wonder how much of the intimidation people feel about eating healthy (or eating at home, anyway) is due to the perceived pain in the ass of making something from scratch. The cooking shows are Exhibit Fucking A on this. Rachael Ray and Jamie Oliver are all ‘crush this garlic!’ ‘zest this lemon!’ ‘deep-fry this garnish!’ in order to turn a mundane household task into fodder for a visual medium. Even the 15-minute recipes have like 19 steps.
If I had a cooking show, it would be devoted to shit that has no recipe: Buy sweet potato. Insert in oven. Wait an hour. Eat. After editing, it would be 45 seconds long.
There’s lots of ingredient-based meal ideas out there, but I feel like the food columnists and TV chefs don’t want to tell you because then you’d be all ‘the fuck I need you for?!’
One response to “Food Needs a Recipe Like a Fish Needs A Bicycle”
Really? I find Jamie Oliver’s approach very simple and moderately inspirational. He mostly just chucks a load of good fresh stuff together without too much fancy preparation and it seems to work. The inspiration comes from the combinations that I probably wouldn’t have come up with on my own. Take your example with the sweet potato – ok, “bake for 45 minutes and eat” sounds good. But while you’ve got 45 minutes why not quickly zest a lemon and sprinkle it over the sweet potato before eating? Maybe it will taste like shit (unlikely) but it could be fun to find out.