Friday, December 23, 2011

Eating to cook

You have to eat to cook. You can’t be a good cook and be a noneater. I think eating is the secret to good cooking.
--Julia Child
I came across Julia's quote this week on Twitter. While I haven't found the source article or book, it reminds me that eating is essential element in the cook's journey. The only way the cook can develop a sense of flavor is to eat.

To become "well eaten," the cook must eat at a variety of tables, both home and restaurant. Relish the occasion when you can eat at the table of an accomplished home cook, especially one who descends from a long line of cooks. Enjoy a great meal, soak in the good company and make mental notes of the meal.

And don't discount a good local restaurant. Beyond an enjoyable outing with the family, I always watching out for new a flavor or sauce to incorporate into my culinary repertoire. Get out of your comfort zone and eat around. Most neighborhoods are full of homegrown local eateries that showcase the chef's culinary wares.

Being well read as a cook is just as important to the cook. As a picky cookbook buyer, I don't want to fill my shelves with books that I'll never read. I focus my limited resources on specialty cookbooks (The Sporting Chef's Wild Game Recipes by Scott Leysath), regional favorites (Chef Paul Prudhomme's Authentic Cajun Cooking) and ethnic tomes (Diana Kennedy's The Art of Mexican Cooking). (I purchased and read each cookbook listed this year.)

Julia's right. The only way to develop a sense of taste and flavor is to eat. Good food, bad food, mediocre food -- you have to eat it all. Only by eating (and reading) can you learn how to cook good food.

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