Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Don't be a housewife

Some cookbook I was reading a long time ago said, as advice, "Don't be a housewife" meaning don't hoard little odds and ends of food thinking you might turn them into something good - you won't. This is the antithesis of M.F.K. Fisher's keeping the wolf at bay cooking, saving and savoring all those bits and and scraps. But, even though I hold M.F.K. Fisher in high regard, probably higher regard than whoever that other writer was, seeing as how I can't even remember who that other writer was, I think they were right.

Most of the time, when you try to make something to use up all those odds and ends of food lurking in the fridge and pantry, it's just not very good.

On Sunday I was trying to use up summer squash, squash blossoms, and leftover rice. I made a gratin from a Deborah Madison recipe, and it was OK, but just not that good.

Monday I was trying to use up a Thai spice paste , from one of Nigel's recipes, so I made spicey noodles. The spice paste had lemon grass, chiles, garlic, cilantro, ginger - it smelled great. I sauteed it, added peanut butter, thinned the sauce with hot water, and poured it over noodles. Oh, yeah, and the dish had diced seeded cucumber (another thing to use up) and grated carrot in it too. Again, OK, but just not that good.

I had 16 egg yolks left from Susan's cake. Tuesday I made custard. Tonight I made trifle with the custard, and all manner of odds & ends: savoiardi (crisp Italian ladyfingers) from a bag way in the bag of the cabinet; a small jar of raspberry syrup from Pamplemousse Preserves; the puree from those apricots; and some crmbled up hazelnut dacquoise layers leftover from Passover. And a few raspberries from the market this morning.

Probably this'll be better than OK, but just not that good; instead the problem will be that I made a large bowl, (my regular footed trifle dish) and there just won't be anyone around to eat it.

1 comment:

nichole said...

Cooking with odds and ends usually reminds me of the kids' book by Phyllis Krasilovsky, "The Man who Cooked For Himself." It's really a hoot. And ahead of its time - by the end of the book he's totally a locavore.