Most days Mother would go to town to "fare la spesa", do the shopping. What she found at the vegetable vendor or at the fish-monger who showed up a couple of times a week, mainly on Fridays with just caught seafood, these ingredients became her inspiration for the day's meal.
How do we pass kitchen literacy to the new generation that knows only packaged meat and bagged greens. We could watch the Food Channel, the Cooking Channel, Public Television, or assorted morning shows where chefs show off some dish or other, and we might learn a thing or two.
My eldest son fascinated by Emeril Lagasse, tried to replicate what Emeril did. The results were sketchy at best. Since he had never spent much time in the kitchen, preferring to listen to his Heavy Metal music instead, he could only guess what saute' meant.
I plan on inviting a class of fifth graders to visit with me for a few weeks and cook with everyday ingredients they are growing in their school garden. What will we cook?
Peas and beans and zucchini will be plentiful. We'll cook pasta and other grains and learn to make a variety of sauces utilizing our fresh veggies. We'll make pizza, focaccia and simple tarts again using fresh ingredients from the garden.
We'll make notes:
1. Saute' means to fry in very little oil or butter/oil mixture until the vegetable is soft.
2. Blending or crushing herbs with oil, garlic, cheese and nuts will produce a fresh-tasting raw sauce that can spread on bread, on pasta, on rice, on potatoes.
3. Cooking pasta "al dente" allows the pasta to absorb more of the sauce flavors.
4. Eggs can be eaten for breakfast, lunch, dinner.
5. Cooking your own food allows you to control portions, flavorings...
I plan on having lots of fun finding out what they would like to learn, and simplifying steps so they can understand and replicate the processes.
Everyone needs to know how to feed himself/herself.
Everyone needs to feel confident in the kitchen.