Thursday, March 20, 2008

The Creative Chef

Back when I twenty-something and Swingers was big, I learned to swing dance. I'd take my weekly lesson and get in additional hours of dancing at the 9:20 special. Sundays I'd be one of those people in the park, dancing in the band shell. Between age and experience I haven't gone out in a couple years.

Anyway, one of the neat people I knew when dancing was Jesse Miner. Very nice guy, even though he is vegan. I ran into him a month or so ago at Rainbow and I just found his card. He's moved on from being an exceptional jazz DJ to Personal Chef. Here's his website:
He must be good - he cooks for one of the founders of my company & his wife. And I'm temped to try him, except that I'm hopelessly hooked on meat and cheese. Jesse did cook me dinner once, years and years ago, a fantastic lasagna, albeit vegan. I did enjoy it, even with the odd consistency in the cheese.

Now, as my faithful readers know, I love cooking. However, I stick to recipes. I use formulas and I find cookbooks with good, consistent formulas. I dislike substitutions. I prefer high quality versions of exactly what I'm instructed to use in the formula. Experiments are kept to a minimum, even with the full range of ingredients. Boiling a chicken on Monday involved checking with Greg about the precise number of onions (2) to add to the pot.

Then I see Jesse's card and wonder how he can get so creative with the dietary limitations. And Blue in Bristol's sister with the wonderful name - who creates recipes for her food column in the newspaper. When calling on the sister, she was experimenting with battering & frying up fish. She offered us samples as she tweaked the recipe slightly. It was heavenly, I had no suggestions. Jesse's lists this as a dish on his site: Creamy Butternut Squash and Sweet Potato Soup - Yum. He created it himself. My stepmother has twice tried to get my help with the vegetable dish... she cooks it up and then asks me what it needs, "Thyme? Mint?" "Salt?" I suggest, wishing I could check The Art of French Cooking for advice.

Until we're able to iactivate the food creativity center in the frontal lobes, I'll keep my cookbooks handy or hiring those with talent to do my cooking.

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