Saturday, October 07, 2006

The Butterfly Effect

I've been tagged! For the first time since I started writing this blog! I sometimes get the impression that many bloggers are a bit annoyed when a meme is passed on to them but I'm not, I'm very excited and pleased - so thank you, Neil!

The meme in question originates here in Dan's Salt Shaker:

My thought in this meme is food items or events that changed your foodie life. Not some oh, it's the first time I didn't put jelly on a peanut butter sandwich and used bananas instead sort of change, unless you truly feel that affected you profoundly. That's the key - it affected you profoundly, in some manner. A moment you can look back at and say that was a defining moment. The questions are simple, the answers might be harder - an item, person, event, or place that had that effect on you, and why. They don't have to be big splashy things - sometimes it's something very small and simple that changes the way we view the world - the famed butterfly effect (and I'm not talking about the Aston Kutcher movie). So, to those who want to participate, copy this and pass it on (and, if you're so inclined, do a trackback to the originating post). Here are your categories:

1. An ingredient
2. A dish, a recipe
3. A meal (in a restaurant, a home, or elsewhere)
4. A cookbook or other written work
5. A food personality (chef, writer, etc.)
6. Another person in your life

Straightforward, it seems, but indeed, the answers are hard.

1. An ingredient
For many years, I used to buy cheese at the supermarket, vacuumised. Convenient, relatively cheap, pleasant-tasting. Until the Boyfriend introduced me to the organic cheeses from a little shop in his (and now my) neighbourhood and I experienced a cheese epiphany. It makes such a huge difference - there is no use describing it, just go and try yourself. I never looked back.

2. A dish, a recipe
Pirikara maki at Okara in Zurich. I have written about them before. Ever since sushi restaurants opened around here, I went there once in a while, mostly with friends, but to be honest, I was not entirely convinced. It was (and still is) very fashionable to have sushi but sometimes I simply did not like it. When I first tried the pirikara at Okara (and their other sushi, too, pirikara is just a particular favourite) I could suddenly see - or taste, rather, what everyone was so enthusiastic about. There is more to sushi than cooked rice and raw fish. The ingredients have to be of impeccable quality and perfectly proportioned. It needs to be made with care. Probably sushi is just very unforgiving, showing no mercy when it comes to little imperfections, but when you think about it, the same principles apply, no matter what you're making. If you're sloppy, just throwing random things together, your dish may taste ok, but it's only when cooking with dedication and care that you'll achieve truly great food.

3. A meal
In may, my parents, my sister and me spent a few days in London. Just the four of us on a holiday, like we used to. We went to Hampstead to see where my mother had lived for a while many years ago and afterwards, we had a copious picknick on Hampstead Heath. The good food (best of British), the beautiful surroundings, the sun and the fact the we were all there, everday chores and worries far away - it was perfect. I cherish the memory of that meal.

4. A cookbook or other written work
Cooking for Mr. Latte by chef, food critic and writer Amanda Hesser. Some love her writing and some find her ridiculous. Personally, I enjoyed reading about her romance with Mr. Latte and whatever they cooked and ate while it developped, except for few parts, which were just a little bit too kitsch for my taste. What I genuinely loved is the way she is openly obesessed with food. While I have always loved to cook, I used to be a bit nonchalant about it, I would never have admitted that cooking was actually my passion. Reading Cooking for Mr. Latte was in a way a starting point for me. I gradually started to embrace my food-obsession. For now I'm just writing a food blog but who knows what's next!

5. A food personality (chef, writer, etc.)
Georges Wenger from Le Noiremont in the Jura region. The restaurant is hidden in a tiny village in the middle of nowhere, but people (including me) willingly make the journey. Georges Wenger's cooking is inventive and innovative, yet never attention-seeking. To a great extent, he uses local produce for his cuisine du terroir, making his guests rediscover regional specialities and almost-forgotten recipes. I remember eating a dish made of potato, wild mushrooms and leeks. I don't know whether many star-studded chefs would put such a rustic, seemingly simple dish on their menu but he does - and pulls it off with aplomb!

6. Another person in your life
This one is easiest for me: my mother, who is my all-time favourite cook. Ever since I was a little girl, I used to watch her cook, with the consequence that
a) I wanted to try and cook, too
b) I picked up ways of doing things and little tricks
c) I always thought it perfectly normal to spend a considerable time in the kitchen every day. My mother made most things herself, I don't remember her serving us a ready-made meal ever. She's to blame for this blog, really.

I'll pass this one on to:

- Ilva of Lucullian Delights
- wheresmymind of C for Cooking
- Orchidea of Viaggi e Sapori
- Wonderblogger of le petit brocoli illustré
- Stevi of bread and butter.

By the way: the butterfly in the picture is aptly called Zitronenfalter in German - lemon butterfly.


wheresmymind said...

Cool!! Thanks for tagging me...I think I'll post a couple posts tomorrow :D

Dan said...

Thanks for playing in the meme! Now I'm off to Jura to find that restaurant...

Btw, Ilva was one of the early players already, so if there's someone else you want to tag...

neil said...

I'm so glad you enjoyed the meme, you're right some people don't. Lovely list, nice touch to put your mum on your list too. Le Noiremont sounds wonderful, if I ever get back your way...