Musings on Cooking

Cooking is a lot like photography. It's possible to create a serviceable product at almost any level of proficiency, but as you become more knowledgeable and skillful, you also become more ambitious and critical of your previous results. I started cooking fairly late in life, and my early efforts were pretty sad. Over the years I've learned a lot, but I'm still only a moderately proficient cook.

Like photography, there's also a lot to learn about cooking apart from the sheer doing. I enjoy reading cookbooks and books about food. My all-time favorites are A.J. Liebling's Between Meals and The Cuisines of Italy by Waverly Root. The former is worth reading just because it's so well written. The latter offers real insights into the relationship of culture and cuisine. Unfortunately, both are out of print, but you often can find them in used bookstores..

The recipes below are a few of my favorites. They are "original" in the sense that I didn't ever read this exact version, but I'm sure that they are all variations on something I read about or was served in a restaurant that evolved through trial and error to its present form . They all are pretty rudimentary (that's the kind of cooking I do), and most take less than an hour.

Monkfish and Vegetable Stew

Duck Breasts in Orange Sauce

Doctoral Chile con Carne

Chicken Breasts Picatta

Arugala Risotto with Chevre

Vegetable Couscous

Veal Stew with Mushrooms and Basil

Baked Chicken Thighs à la Max

Linguine with Shrimp

Pork Cutlets with Prunes in Port