Sunday, June 13, 2010

Why this blog?

I've been mastering the art of cooking for 25 years, deliberately and passionately. I love to cook; this is my second favorite activity after sleeping. I never regretted time spent in the kitchen. To me, cooking is the form of art.

My first cooking experiments started when I became a university student. I didn't know the elementary things. And my university roommates were as illiterate as I was. When for the first time, we decided to cook pasta, we vote 3 against 1 that pasta needs to be put in cold water. So, on my first fall break, I interviewed my mom and wrote down a small notebook of recipes. I still keep that book and for 25 years added my recipes to it. When 10 years ago we moved from Russia to the U.S., I started collecting and writing recipes in English.

I should say that cooking in this country is very easy and interesting because of so many ingredients available that I never saw or heard of in Russia. I thought of keeping this blog in two languages, but haven't decided yet if this is a good idea, because here I started using many ingredients and even ways of cooking that were (and still) impossible to use in Russia. At the same time I stopped cooking many dishes that I mastered for perfection, like pirogies small and large, sweet and not, because they are too fatty, contain too many calories but not nutritious. My idea of cooking that dishes should be healthy and fast and easy to master and cook, however, when you need to feed a whole family for little (that is what I did for many years in Russia), you might opt for more calories...

The idea to keep this blog came to me today when I decided to roast a chicken after reading an interesting and new (for me) recipe in Cook's Bible. This is a very good book, and I bought it for my daughter, so she can survive through college. I like reading culinary books; that is amazing reading, I can imagine what a dish will look like and think how I would modify it. If I can imagine the final dish and if this is something new and unusual, that means for me a good recipe and I buy a book for my collection and future inspiration. But I almost never follow a recipe exactly, because it is practically impossible. Why do we have so many culinary books printed every year? Because it is so hard to explain in words and even pictures how to cook. Because this is art, because you need to know many little secrets and have a lot of experience. So, I roasted the chicken and realized that my daughter would never be able to read the recipe and follow it. And I thought that I might start writing about all those little secrets that I’ve learned and use when I read recipes and cook. When she is out in college, she can use this blog to read my advices and ask questions. So, my next post will be about today’s chicken.

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