There are so many extraordinary and beautifully photographed food blogs online these day that are so inspiring and tempting and truly I love them because I love good food…one of the truly earthly delights! I celebrate all the good cooks and writers who so generously share their culinary inspirations and secrets! Thank you, thank you, all you good, adventurous and tasty people!
My own blog here entitled Sensuous Soups and Suppers is not extremely sophisticated and shares simpler, easy to prepare suppers that I cook for family, friends or myself on a daily basis. However, I pair the word Sensuous with the concept of “simple” because for me, if what is on the cutting board, in the pan and ultimately on the dish is not full of color, shapes, scents, textures and flavours..all the qualities that trigger our SENSES… it will never appear at supper time again. Simple does not mean boring, or without daring or imagination.
A quick but flat, tasteless, mushy, colorless dinner is a true disappointment at the end of a day, after “paying our dues” to the larger world of work ..and especially so if the one dining is also the cook who spent a lot of time hoping and planning to enjoy the fruits of one’s labour (and play) in the kitchen preparing a tasty reward at mealtime.
So what is Simple and Sensuous Cooking?
#1. Simple for me means not too many ingredients, and an immediate hands-on experience with them to appreciate their uniqueness in their natural state. I am talking vegetables, fruits, nuts, herbs and spices here. Meat and seafood are other categories and not eaten raw.
#2. Simple usually means that food preparation is not a major project taking up lots of time except for the cooking and seasoning tasting and adjustings in things like soups, sauces and stews that require longer cooking times. I recently attended a wonderful lecture by Dr. Ed Iannuccilli who wrote a wonderful book entitled “What Ever Happened to Sunday Dinners?” in which he told wonderful stories of growing up in an immigrant Italian family with a Grandmother who cooked sauces and a variety of delicious courses of meats, pastas and vegetables all week long in preparation and anticipation for the large family gathering of kids and adults who would gather for Sunday dinners every week at her home. What happened was that that was her role in the family and therefore her good vocation and work in the world but done at home. Wow have times changed! We no longer have that kind of time, and other roles..many of them all at the same time..make up the hours and days of our lives now for the average family or single person. Simple here therefore means..”it doesn’t take a lot of time to prepare at the end of the day”.
#3. Simple means also that for the most part, a meal has only 2-4 different things on a plate…and simpler still..everything is cooked and eaten layered in one deep dish or bowl..a little salad, or a little bread and a glass of wine as well rounds it all out.
NOW, about SENSUOUS, the Power and Teaser Word of this blog! Let me explain. I also happen to be an astrologer, so I will use that terminology as a frame of reference for the qualities of cooking and eating that I share here.
I am a Taurus, with a Cancer Rising. Both of these signs are very connected to gardening for beauty, for food, and nourishment, for natural healing, rest and pleasure . Both of these signs are very indulgent when it comes to food from the garden but for slightly different reasons. Taurus grows things, and when eating , eats for sensual pleasure, celebration and delight, and can be quite extravagant. Because Taurus is an earth sign, earthly pleasures like color, shapes and designs, scents, flavours… eartlhly “temptations” therefore ensuing!.. are primary motivations. Cancer grows things in the garden as well, but as the sign of the “Mother”, food must provide optimal nourishment, satisfaction, and community around the table, family/community-style. Therefore, a Cancerian cook, want the food to be appealing and serve the purpose of keeping family around the table, hearth and home and to never miss a meal!
The purpose of this blog therefore is to serve Pleasure, Culinary Temptations and Celebration with color, texture, scent and flavor on your plate and into your body, as well as to be delicious enough to bring you, family and loved ones back to the table on a regular basis for nourishment of body and the continuation of community.
So ending with this so I can go forth and start to prepare my own dinner tonight..I leave you with this example of a very simple but sensuous dinner from several nights ago. Yes, I usually make everything myself, but on a hot and tired evening, I will bring home from our local prepared foods shop which specializes in delicious vegetarian offerings to help me out when even “simple” on some nights, takes too much time. I’m not at all adverse to having some other cook tempt and satisfy me with their culinary artistry and expertise as well!
One Simple and Sensuous Supper in July 2013 on a very hot night
~Gently sauteed (in a little butter) portabello mushroom slices until a little golden, seasoned with salt and pepper and shredded basil, two sweet organic carrots cut in strips, a scoop of prepared Turkish Farro (with farro, chick peas, slivered almonds and slivered green and red peppers, feta cheese and a mild dressing of olive oil and a touch of balsamic vinegar.
~A glass of Casal Garcia rose’ wine (well two, actually)
~And for desert, fresh plump blueberries and one square of dark chocolate.
The textures were varied, the colors interesting, the flavours absolutely delicious and the comfort and satisfaction 100% ! A lovely meal
. A Simple and Sensuous Supper indeed!