So maybe it’s because I went from making a 12-ingredient* fruitcake over Christmas to drizzling Baileys into snow last week that’s really making me appreciate the value of simplicity. Or maybe it’s because I’m an editor as well as a writer, and stripping the superfluous out of everything from copy to my Facebook friends list to food ingredients appeals to me. Or—this is probably it—it’s that the simpler the ingredients and prep, the more satisfying the dish.
People usually assume that since I’m a food writer I put all of my focus on fancy restaurants, but to be honest, the opposite is true: I don’t care about fine dining. I care about ingredients. Choose the best ingredients and don’t mess with them too much. Why should you? They already had big plans to speak for themselves.
Years ago Dr. Andrew Weil said his idea of the ultimate dessert was good-quality dark chocolate along with fruit, in season (this matters) and perfectly ripe. It’s both healthy and heavenly.
For a real challenge along those lines, for a week (or more) keep recipe ingredients down to the bare minimum—three to five, tops. Pared down just to the essence of themselves, offered in the best possible light with the matchmaking** of your two sweet hands, and people start to call you a good cook. It’s nutty.
The shots here are bloody good memories of mine. Every component of every dish is of good quality and consequently didn’t fail me. And none have more than five ingredients.
I’d continue, but I don’t want to shoot my premise in the foot.***
*And it would have been 13 but I couldn’t find candied angelica.
**I couldn’t think of this word. I could only think of ‘shiddoch’. True story. So I Googled that to get me to the English word. The nine remaining drops of my sanity are going to fall out of my ears one of these days.
***I also mix metaphors the way good things come to those who take the bull by the horns.