My favorite cookbook right now is Twelve Recipes by Cal Peternell. The premise, a chef from Chez Panisse writes a series of recipes to teach his college-bound son how to cook. Yesterday, I made beans for the second time and LOVED it. There is something about cooking beans (the overnight soaking, the simmering with aromatics) that is so involved and loving, that I end up being infatuated with the final product.
Last night I also teamed up with L to cook a pork shoulder, something that historically terrifies me. I have an odd, irrational fear that I will accidentally kill myself through food poisoning. I confided to a friend about this and he looked at me funny. “Honestly, man, the worst you will probably give yourself is a tummy ache.”
Still, the fear lives on. The solution is having someone else in the kitchen to reassure me that everything is going well. When I suddenly panic when the corner of the uncooked pork has touched a corner of the kitchen counter, L is immediately there to tell me “it’s fine.” Together, we were able to slow-roast the pork shoulder and have a successful dinner.
I also bought a serrated bread knife two weeks ago, which I finally used (!!) on a fresh loaf of bread last night. Our meal of beans, pork, sliced apples and bread felt rustic and autumnal, and was one of the best meals I’ve cooked so far. 2016 marks the 2nd year in a row that my New Year’s Resolution has been “to cook more”, and after two years I feel I am finally seeing actual progress.