Liking our own cooking

Several bloggers I like and respect (including Momalon and Motherese) have recently done a favorite-posts recap of the prior year and even though I’ve only been at this for half of a year, I thought I’d still do my top six.

And in the meantime, I thought I’d share a recipe I made up yesterday that came out pretty well (my younger kid, knowing it was improvised, even suggested that I write it down, and since I can never find things when I need them I thought the best place to leave it was in my blog).  Since I don’t generally eat red meat, yet some of my favorite recipes still hearken to cow-eating days and French Bistro cooking, I thought I’d go off the trail and make up a hybrid dish of hearty winter fare… even though it turned out to be in the mid 70’s in LA today.  The key ingredient is always love, since consciously putting love in any food truly does make it taste better, but also elevates and nourishes our own experience of preparing it—turning it into something of a mindfulness meditation.

I grew up with a mom who wasn’t much of a cook—the joke was what she made for dinner was a reservation.  As a result my brother and I both love to cook, although cooking for me started as an Alton Brown science experiment that you could (often) eat.  Over the years and the influence of my mother-in-law (who was a terrific cook) and my wife (whose former lover was Italian, and through whose family she picked up the very essence of good cooking:  fresh ingredients, prepared simply), I’ve learned to cook, as to parent, by feel as much as by books and experts (not that I don’t appreciate the masters and like watching them cook).

So here goes for my simple improvisation:  Buy or have on hand:  some chicken legs, some boneless chicken thighs and some boneless breast; white wine; chicken stock; onion; garlic; plum tomatoes; pitted Kalamata olives (and some green martini-sorts too); olive oil, salt, pepper, sage, thyme.  As for how much to use, trust your instincts—my main point is to make it up as you go, improvising and experimenting.  This is why cooking off road is a good compliment to parenting—forget the “experts” we (you and me) are the experts.  What’s the worst that will happen?  The food will suck and you’ll heat up a Trader Joes frozen pizza.

In a big pan brown the chicken in some olive oil with sea salt and pepper (legs as they are, rest cut into smallish pieces); in a heavy casserole sauté onion, garlic, peeled seeded chopped tomatoes, salt, pepper, sage and thyme.  Throw the no-longer-totally-raw-chicken into the casserole with the onions/tomato/garlic, then add chicken stock, white wine and olives.  Cover and put in oven for two hours at 325.  Cool overnight in the fridge, take the meat from the legs and add it back into the pot, getting rid of skin and bones.  Simmer on very low heat for a good long time and serve with whatever else you like (baguette, roasted potatoes and Caesar salad did nicely).  Kids might even eat this; mine actually really liked it.

While things are cooking you can browse my top six of the second half of 2009; they are not necessarily the most popular, most useful or most commented upon, they are, instead, the posts I felt most worth reading if you are new to Privilege of Parenting—the ones I felt most honestly connected with the spirit gold I’m trying to bring as I track the elusive beast of the zeitgeist into our dawning age, looking for clues in the scat on parenting’s trail:

June:  The Gold is in the poop

July: How doing things at which we “suck” can be good parenting 

August: Cooking, blogging, narcissism and parenting (naked honesty) 

September:  On Target (my wife’s, found inspiration) 

October:  Divine Tears (some things I learned in the Shadows of Hollywood) 

November: After the Gold Rush… Black Friday? 

December: Through a Day Darkly—seeking spirit gold on the Winter Solstice  

So, let’s dedicate today to liking our own cooking, writing, parenting and ways of being, striving for honesty with ourselves and each other as a way of building nourishing and authentic community—in the service of all our collective children.  Your own opinion is the one that matters most, so Bon Appetite!

Namaste, Bruce

One Response to “Liking our own cooking”

  1. krk Says:

    Thank you for all the recipes you share with us. I can actually smell this one, and it smells delicious.

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