Thursday, July 7, 2011
Cooking with the soul...
I was watching a TV show named Chopped the other night. It is a show where they take four chefs and put them up against each other with a mystery basket of ingredients and then they have a time limit to create a meal. Each round once chef is chopped and removed from the show until they have a winner. Typically they do an appetizer, entrée, and a dessert round.
Beyond reminding me of my restaurant cooking days the reason I love this show is because it forces chefs to combine ingredients that most would jump back in fear of. The one I watched just the other night featured a chef from Jamaica, (who curiously had an English accent), and in the first round he explained his motto for food. “We sing and dance with our soul, we make love with our soul, and so we should cook with our soul.”
I have been known in the past to combine ingredients that most of my roommates at the time were shocked by. In general my theory is that if they taste good apart why can’t they taste good together?
The joy of cooking is found in creating what you love and staying true to your soul. My mother just moved to Santa Barbara and one thing she always loved about it is the Chile Rellenos. Shannon, my co-creator of True Treats, happens to have a family recipe for them. So we worked with my mom a couple of times to show her the process. Now in her first full weekend down there she is inviting a friend over so they can make some Chile Rellenos and reminisce about old times.
This is cooking with the soul. Creating what you love because you love and doing it simply for that. I will say that with any love must come some moderation. Eating a Chile Rellenos every night is not going to extend your life. The same as how eating pizza or fried chicken, two of my favorites, will not help you stay healthy. But that does not mean cut it out. Put it in moderation. What is the point in living if you cannot have fun and do what you love from time to time?
I love creating and combining and seeing what new creations I can come up with. When I was in high school and worked for KFC I remember making a mac-n-cheese and popcorn chicken burrito. Man that was great! Got some weird looks but I didn’t care it was delicious. Or at the bagel shop where I get the “Everything” bagel, with plenty of garlic, and have a fruit cream cheese on top. Garlic and fruit! Most would say no but I say why not? When I was a line cook at Geppetto’s I used to sell out of snapper sandwiches with smoked cheeses on top, many would tell fish and cheese do not work but it worked well for me! Until you try how do you know it is not something you will love? Experience is everything and with cooking that is where the joy comes in.
Take the time at least once a week to cook with your soul. Make something that you love to eat simply because it tastes good to you. No need to worry about what others think, it is your life and you are in control of it. Reach into your soul and have some fun, love life because life is worth living.
Posted by Shannon Rodrigues at 11:04 AM