I mean, Tuesday night cooking for me is all about the sea urchin roe.
This is fine if you are cooking in a fully equipped state-of-the-art kitchen with a pantry stocked with the finest and most exotic ingredients, but this doesn't really apply to the average home kitchen, or play to my strengths. It makes me feel a little 'inadequate'.
As you would know by now, I am a rather thrifty cook. I buy simple ingredients and keep a well-stocked basic pantry. I cook with love and my heart, and the meals I create are uncomplicated, healthy, generous and very satisfying. Sometimes if I can afford it, I will buy more flashy ingredients if I want to spoil myself. (Or go on an ego trip rather than a shopping trip).
There are certain ingredients that have never crossed the threshold of my shopping cart. Unless I really research their use, or need them for a particular recipe I doubt they ever will, but I have seen them pop up on reality cooking shows. How often do you use these ingredients?...
Black (or white) Truffle - (For my Friday's Truffle Pizza Night? Tres magnifique!)
Chanterelle & Porcini Mushrooms - (It would be an upgrade from button mushies, sure)
Aged Beef - (Mmmm... Meat hanging for over a month really gets my juices flowing, no matter how much it costs per kilo)
Jerusalem Artichokes - (Ummmm?... Boil/pass through drum seive/smear small spoonful on plate for presentation)
Couveture Chocolate - (Because my chocolate tart is only good if I buy $20 worth of chocolate to fill it with)
"I said 'Don't forget the French Letters', Darling..."
I could go on. It is funny, because as I look at the above ingredients, I think, 'Hmm... I could probably create a wonderful menu if this were all in a mystery box'...
I don't mean to knock these ingredients. I know that they have their place in certain cuisines and recipes. I just find the hype over some a little pretentious. I think I am more about what is 'in season', rather than 'in vogue'.
My food philosophy (yes, even though I am just a lowly home cook I have one) is to just buy what you can afford, to cook what you like to eat. I don't want to be sucked into foodie peer pressure! But when Ina Garten tells me to use good vanilla, I get a little verklempt!
I can just picture myself on a food challenge TV show, with a box of unfamiliar ingredients and a 30 minute time limit to create a dish, I most certainly would have a nervous breakdown. Yes, you would see me crying into my fois gras and white anchovies and I would probably be the first person eliminated.
Leave the fantasy cooking to television. We can all eat the real food, while they do the experimenting for us.
Until next time...