Thursday, October 07, 2004

Food from scratch

In the restaurant and hotel kitchens it is common to make stuff from scratch, of course but at home the rule when I was a kid was 'where's the box of mix?' If I want mixes here I have to buy them in Europe or America and bring them back. That is a serious inconvenience, with luggage weight restrictions and former Soviet Union customs agents!

After all these years living in Central Asia, I've gotten to the point where I'd really prefer to make things from scratch. The ability to sculpt the taste is probably the biggest reason although, like most people, I have taste preferences that are repetitive. Ruminations over favorite flavors and the extreme shortage of those foods in the C.A. diet pattern have really revividified my home food preperation techniques. Want hot bisquits, a stack of pan cakes -- break out the basics because there's no bisquick or Aunt Jemima here! Like hot soft dinner rolls tonight -- better get cracking early 'cause the dough is going to take about three and a half hours before you can pop those pale, lusterless pearls in the oven!

I've always prefered my sauces freshly made. I can't immagine anything more pedantic than a bottled bechamel with a long shelf life. I have the arrogance to hope that everyone feels the same way. Looking back over the way my process has altered since I've been here, however, I still think that even when I move to somewhere near "shortcut central" I'm going to hang on to to this slower but more intimate way of putting stuff togeather at home.

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