Why I’m learning to cook

Is it too too cliché to say that I miss the food of NYC?  I was never a fancy schmancy restaurant eater so it’s not that.  It’s the diversity for one thing.  And I guess we all long for the food of our childhood.

NOT granita.  An attempt at real New York style Italian Ice.  Needs work.

NOT granita. An attempt at real New York style Italian Ice. Needs work.

But it’s mostly this –  with all the fresh produce and real live farms around here, why aren’t folks making better value-added products than what we’ve got here?  Contrary to the old risqué comparison, bad pizza is not “still pizza” and I WOULD rather do without.  I know old timers who can make a gourmet meal out of ordinary pantry staples, yet the businesses around here, which have easy access to the finest of ingredients are selling bland, paper-crusted bread and other garbage I won’t waste my calories on.

I’m assuming, it’s primarily an economic thing.  If I can’t even get a decent cut of beef* without driving nearly an hour because it’s all being shipped to the cities where people will actually pay good money for it, then what are my chances of getting real cheese and fresh tomato sauce on my pizza?  Yes, I’m harping on the pizza and, yes, that’s another cliché, but can’t SOMEONE open a decent recipe book and find out what sauce is supposed to taste like?

Things are coming around, I guess.  There are wineries – mostly catering to tourists.  There are some slightly more upscale restaurants that I think are making an effort, but they are often criticized by the locals for being overpriced.  Maybe they are, but I think it’s just that preparing good food, from good ingredients, from scratch costs more.  And perhaps some folks don’t think it’s worth the money because their palates can’t discern the difference?  Is that possible?

Anyway, I’d like to see some more regular old mom-and-pop storefront places making real food, from fresh ingredients and exhibiting a bit of artistry and flair.  To be honest, this was becoming harder to find even in the city.

  • A café serving pastries should be serving fresh pastries, not mass produced, preservative laden pastries.  If I can taste the chemicals, I’m not coming back.
  • Hamburger shop?  Burgers should not be skinny pre-formed patties with all the juice cooked out of ’em.
  • A deli?  Great.  Use good bread, make your own potato salad, go crazy – roast your own beef, make fresh cole slaw, real mayonnaise, fermented pickles.
  • Fish and chips shop?  Real beer batter, fresh-not-frozen potatoes, good vinegar.

C’mon people, it ain’t fancy, but it’s good!

*Yes, there are CSA alternatives I am looking into but again, it’s the value-added products I’m mostly disappointed with.

Jen at Conversion Diary is hosting a write-every-day-this-week-challenge.  I’ve got a fear of commitment, but I’m trying.


2 thoughts on “Why I’m learning to cook

  1. Julie says:

    Oh boy, if you master GOOD home-made pizza, post your recipe because my pizza is… meh.

    I’d love to see pics of your new(-to-you) house 😀


    • sara says:

      I’m not sure I’ll ever get my oven hot enough for really good pizza, but I’m bound and determined to try.

      Good idea – I think I’ll try to do a house post tomorrow.

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