Barking Kitten

Fiction, musings on literature, food writing, and the occasional Friday cat blog. For lovers of serious literature, cooking, and eating.

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Close to forty. Not cool. Politically left. Atheist. Happily married. No kids.

Sunday, August 27, 2006

An entire day cooking

I rose at 5:30 this morning with a migraine. After hurling the medicine chest down my throat, I staggered into the kitchen and baked squash bread.

As I measured out more cloves, ginger, and cinnamon than the Joy of Cooking recipe called for, I wondered why in hell I was up before the sun, cooking. Partly it was practical: the farm sent a Red Kuri Squash that must have weighed five pounds. Hockeyman and I like squash, but five pounds would simply spoil. So I made half into the bread, and now we have breakfast all week.

The other reason, though, is I could. Like many people, I spend the the better part of my days tapping into a computer. None of what I tap in will have any lasting impact; it's all just a sea of commentary. But cooking is visceral--flour gets everywhere, there are sounds and smells and heat. Afterward, along with the dirty dishes, there is the finished, hopefully edible product.

Following the theme of edible product, last night's confit was a raging success. Even Kitty gave it the big paw up. It's amazing that meat can sit in your fridge for six weeks and emerge tender and fresh-tasting. Hockeyman feels we must do this again, allowing the confit to mellow for even more time. Meanwhile, I have a enormous vat of duck fat left over, truly a lifetime's worth for making fried potatoes.

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Following the squash bread, I showered and drove over to Three Stone Hearth, where I had volunteered to spend the day in their kitchen. While I am not a member of their Community Supported Kitchen, I do attend their feasts and like what they're doing. I had never spent time in a real professional kitchen and was eager to see if I'd hold up.

I was quickly put to work slicing and de-seeding tomatoes, which I then cut into small dice. I was competent if slow, and asked worriedly if Mario Batali would be along to smack me. I was kindly reasssured that quality was more important than speed.

Following tomatoes came several zillion cukes, also in need of seeding and dicing. Then separation and smashing of numerous garlic cloves. A large bowl of yogurt cheese was produced. I was instructed to fold the cucumbers and some of the garlic into it, along with fresh dill, lemon juice, and salt. The yogurt cheese had the consistency of thick cream; stirring it was quite the workout, amply rewarded with taste testing and a delicious lunch of lamb, rice, and salad.

Then, alas, it was time to leave. I was warmly invited to return and look forward to doing so.

Not until I was on the road, driving homeward, did I recall my earlier headache, which repaid the favor by returning. More drugs, but still, a sense of accomplishment. I'd never make it at Babbo, but here in Berkeley I did just fine.

Food, Cooking

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