I spent quite a bit of time today thinking about how emotions can have an effect on not just the things we make, but the items we use to make them. When your angry, people think of the saying “seeing red”, your hot tempered, saucy and can be vivid and colorful. I think of extremes when it comes to angry cooking. Stress can force my hand sometimes when I’m under too much pressure in the kitchen, and that’s when I start to make mistakes. I’m bitter at my mistakes, yet I keep on making them, my temper flaring and a new curse flying out of my mouth with each minor failure. I sat and thought about this feeling offrustrationand a recipe started coming to me.
I love to use heat in cooking. It’s something that provides amplified flavor, and distinct response in everyone, by way of sweat and scovile. My father is Italian, and nothing bring me back to my sense of angry childhood like stuffed hot peppers. Only I think of temper tantrums as a boy as fresh habeneros, small diced and mixed finely in a blend of sweet chevre and mascarpone; my representation of the calming period before flare-ups. The mixture of toasted pinenut and breadcrumbs that lay atop each pepper, gives thesemblanceof a warm home. Which brings me to my next feeling of warmth and tranquility.
Growing up, my favorite time was spent outdoors enjoying the brisk weather of fall and the great smells of my house every weekend. My mother used to make all kinds of rustic dishes in the fall from the classic American pot roast with root vegetables, to the homestyle French dish of Ratitouille. When the weather would get really cold she would call my friends and I in from playing football, to the smell of chili cooking on the stovetop. Her chili would always be thick and meaty, filled with all types of pork, beef, and chicken, not to mention a great variety of beans and hot chilis. No matter how long we had been playing or how cold we felt, nothing warmed you like a bowl of this chili.
Bring It Back
Its really amazing how some foods bring you back to points in time, or can inspire you to make beautiful creations. I really felt moved by the urge to sit down and think about what made someone a great artist of the craft. Those chef’s really pour their hearts and souls into their food, letting everything ride on the consumer’s enjoyment of how they feel into a few small bites. I want to be like that, creative and inventive. All it takes its a few memories. Maybe a couple emotional ones.