The Art of Cooking

Oh, wow, how to break this down into a few blog posts? Well, let’s start with the source material, shall we, and go from there!

23 The Art of Cooking

Cooking is the art of transforming various vegetables into soups and dishes. Food is of four kinds: bitten, eaten, licked, or drunk*. The food is cooked with condiments to give it a pleasant flavor. Vegetables that are unpleasant to the taste without condiments often become acceptable thanks to the latter. Vegetables are of ten kinds: roots, leaves, seeds, buds, fruits, tubers, stalks, peels, flowers, bamboos….

Products that are pleasant to lick are made of powdered aphrodisiacs mixed with honey, which may be sweet, salty, sour, or bitter according to choice, which are chosen at the right moment to reinvigorate the body or stimulate amorous ardour. Food and drinks are thus prepared, either uncooked, or else cooked to improve their flavor. Although different, these processes all indicate ways of satisfying taste.

Medieval Borscht
Soup for all Seasons

Soups?! Oh, perfect! As I write this it’s grey and drizzly outside and pretty perfect soup weather. Which reminds me of the Fool-Proof Soup post I wrote for my food blog, Nibbles ‘n Bites, back in July. We love soup year-round and soup is one of those dinners that is tough to screw up no matter how little experience you have in the kitchen. And a slow-cooker makes it so much simpler on busy weekdays.

What are my rules for fool-proof soups?

  • Start with your primary ingredient: beans, lentils or dried peas, chicken pieces or stew meat are good places to start.
  • Add flavorings: an onion, a couple of garlic cloves (minced), salt, pepper and a bay leaf are my go-to flavor choices for almost all my soups.
  • Finish with enough stock to cover all the ingredients. When setting up your soup the night before and using anything that sucks up liquid (e.g. dried beans, pasta or grains), wait to add your broth or stock until just before starting  the soup.
See? Simple!

But that’s just the basics. You can add any number of additional ingredients that you have on hand. Toss in some diced tomatoes, carrots and green beans. Try hard squashes or potatoes added to your basic soup with a bit of nutmeg or garam masala. Maybe some kale or spinach towards the end of the cooking time, or barley or quinoa. Sliced-up sausage adds amazing flavor, as do some smoked chicken wings or ham hocks–perfect when you want the flavor without meat being the main course.

*The preparation of drinks is the 24th art so we’ll deal with those parts later!

~~~oOo~~~

What do you want to know about cooking?
And, while we’re out it, what’s your favorite type of soup?

Oh! And before we sign off for another week, the winner of the Satin Hands giveaway is Miranda from A Duck in Her Pond! I already have your address, Duckie, so I’ll be sending out your prize this week 🙂

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