The idea came to me last evening as I was preparing dinner. All I had left in the pantry were really good potatoes from the Farmer’s Market. So I made French fries and ate them with just a bit of salt. I could not remember when I had enjoyed just plain French fries for the last time. No ketchup, no mayo, no chicken or filet on the side. Just plain fried potatoes… I don’t know why we always complicate things. I really don’t. Elaborate, creative dishes are wonderful to prepare and share, but simplicity brings out the best in most things. We must reacquaint ourselves with the basic taste of things. We must reconnect with authentic, basic foods and cooking techniques.
Nobody can really tell the authentic taste of a potato when it is swimming in sauce or the goodness of free range chicken in the middle of a 7 ingredient sandwich with mayo… Granted those are fantastic, it’s not the point I’m trying to make…
- This exercise will help us realize or remind ourselves of (as I know that all of my fellow foodies already know this) the core importance of the quality of a single produce
- It will encourage us to do some research and ask the right questions to the right vendors (who should be experts)
- This will also help us really taste and feel the exact impact of different cooking techniques. So I encourage you to try as many as possible for each main ingredient you’ll choose to put to the test
- It will bring to light the benefits of seasonal shopping, organic produce etc.
- Reacquainting yourself with the taste of one single original produce, may trigger your creativity and give you ideas for new dishes or new food pairings
So here is your mission should you choose to accept it:
- You may only use one produce + salt + butter or olive oil or lemon
- If not scolding hot, you will eat with your fingers! We want the most symbiotic, raw experience possible!
- The main ingredient has to be in season or available year round (like eggs)
- No garlic, vinegar or ginger or anything that could overpower the taste of the main ingredient
- You’ll have to eat this alone or with other foodies. No kids allowed! When I say kids, I mean anyone who could distract you from the experience. Husband, best friends or wives can be considered kids in this scenario :0)
- Eat with your eyes closed if possible!!! This will really help you be more aware of all your senses
- If at all possible, eat something you fished yourself, grew in your garden or picked in the woods (be careful with berries and mushrooms!). This will bring this experience to a whole other level…
- Smoked salmon with a touch of lemon
- Poached egg with a little salt
- Rack of lamb
- Seared scallops with a drop of lemon
- Steamed kale or bok choy with olive oil from Provence, Italy or Greece
- Plain French fries
- Boiled potato with real butter from the farm
- Filet of beef with salt and pepper
- Wild fish cooked in salt in the oven
I recommend using the most authentic cooking techniques: steam, BBQ or oven.
A real cook can impress on produce and cooking method alone. A real foodie will know how to appreciate one single produce cooked to perfection!
As Chanel said: “Simplicity is the keynote of all true elegance.” Think of the “dish” you are going to prepare for this challenge as making the most simple and most elegant little black dress Chanel ever made… a precious present to yourself!