My DSP buddy, Jean Laroche, told me I should have a cooking blog. Since I already started a blog, I thought I would just enlarge this one --- besides, who wants to hear me whine and complain about linux administration all the time?
So, since I lead a food centered life, I thought I would start by writing about my cooking ideas and philosophy. I don't believe in fast food, I believe in slow food. I don't like to buy other people's ideas of how things should taste, so I don't buy prepared food (for the most part). One of my strongest beliefs is in the transformative ability of a great meal. Babette's Feast is my example of what a meal can be. Not every day, but every once in a while.
Most of my cooking is of the Italian/French variety, in part because I am a carbohydrate eater and I like pasta. I have cooked other styles including indian and chinese, but because most of my life I am cooking like a short-order demon, I choose what I can do fast -- with minimum prep work. Most of the time I cook without measuring. And cooking requires all the senses: besides sight, I listen to the timbre of the frying food, I feel the meat to see if it's done and I smell what I am cooking. I taste when I am in doubt, but my sense of smell is often enough.
I am much more of a cook than a baker --- which is a bit strange since I excelled in the chemistry lab in both high school and college. But I am now to the point where I can use yeast very reliably. But to get the crust to have that nice crunch, that requires steam in the oven. I've tried but it just don't compare with what I can get from the nearby bakery. That's a topic for another entry.
There a very important aspect to reading a recipe: imagining what it will look like in the various steps. I can't explain how I know what to expect, but I do. I think this can only be gained by experience. So, when I read a recipe, I have to understand the transformation at every step. Only when I understand the procedure will I start. In complex meals, I will take the time to diagram the "flow" so that I know what I can do in parallel. It's task scheduling and it's NP-complete!
My last comment concerns guests: I look forward to having guests because they are my excuse to experiment and try new and complex recipes. But I don't have many guests for dinner these days, so most of my cooking is of the fast "trattoria style".