Earthcakes: The Lazy Person's Guide to Cooking


The way I'm approaching it, there is not much to the art of cooking. It's not even an art form, but basically throwing some things in a pot, and stirring a bit while heating it. I'm a lazy person with the taste buds of a four-year old. If there is too much metamorphosis in cooking, too many different stages, I won't have it in my kitchen. I don't want to watch a caterpillar turn into a butterfly - figuratively speaking. That's how much I hate the long-winded reaction chains of chemistry. And cooking is basically chemistry, but a more harmless version of it, like riding bumper cars instead of driving an SUV. Yes, there are similarities, and sometimes, like in a lab, you should wear a protective coat and goggles when you make gravy or tomato sauce. But unlike chemistry, most of my cooking is idiot-proof.

As I said I like to throw things in pots, colorful things, things that make a splash at the bottom. And I don't like to utilize more than one pot, because who's gonna clean that? So with the way I do things, there is limits to what I am willing to sacrifice in the name of cuisine. Usually I'm already hungry when I start the preparation, so it mustn't take too long, otherwise my drool becomes part of the dish, and no one but me will enjoy that ingredient. Yes I am a selfish cook, I cook for myself most of the time, and hubby is trained to like what I like. Minimalist rice dishes, potatoes, or highly elaborate noodle dishes (you know, the ones from Napoli or Bologna..). The stuff I make supposedly tastes good; that's what people have told me. But can it ever be as good as a dish by someone who is willing to sacrifice more than one pan for the sake of the taste adventure?

My answer is yes, it will taste just as good, but it will never be as flamboyant to look at. So if the way things look is important to you, don't hold back on using the baking forms shaped like little stars. And sprinkle little green things on the plates before you serve them. People go nuts for those. And do something with the sauce and a tooth pick to make it look like culinary lens flare. And dear heavens, don't you dare forget to serve the Pinot gris with the rice dish. Because nothing says pro like a glass of wine.

That's one of my specialties. Rice dish - Balkan variation. One pan: Secret ingredient: cream.
It interacts with the rice and makes my taste buds happy.

One of my other specialties. Pork roast: one pan: Secret ingredients: time and more time.
Also a dash of malt beer never hurts - or the real thing, if you're the adventurous type.

Bon appétit.