Tuesday, 18 October 2016

The Joy of Cooking

*DISCLAIMER: I'm NOT proposing that I make the best or most delicious hummus*

I'm not a trained chef; I'm a home cook who was taught by both of my parents and my grandmothers. Thinking more deeply about cooking and baking, however, I have to admit that those aren't the only people who influenced my cooking. My aunts and uncles (both Canadian and Japanese) have helped along the way, as have cookbooks, cooking shows, my friends and my partners. These people have all contributed to the food I prepare. So, while I was making hummus the other day (prepared the way that the Irish chef and I like it), I was curious about the recipes on the internet (other cooks/bakers and, of course, YouTube). I came across a website that made me laugh and then cringe because it made me think about cooking/baking and the preposterous theory that there's only ONE way a dish can be prepared (does anyone still think this way?!?). The website, a blog about hummus, criticized people's overuse, lack of use, or misuse of certain ingredients. It was really disheartening to read.

Just so people know where I'm coming from, let me give you some history: I grew up in a city full of people from all over the middle east; I have friends from Syria, Lebanon, Palestine, Egypt, Kuwait and Oman. I have lived and travelled around the middle east as well, so I know that even people all over the middle east prepare hummus differently. Furthermore, when you have such a popular dish that's made by people of all different nationalities all over the world, who honestly buys into the concept that there's a foremost authoritative recipe that everyone abides by? It's a farce. The writer's criticism was so negative and authoritative that it made me question his/her intentions. If you want to use 10 cloves of garlic in your four-person serving of hummus, do it. If you want to use lemon juice from a can or bottle instead of fresh lemon juice, go for it! Your taste is just that: YOURS. Everyone has a different palate, and after trying MANY different recipes and methods of preparation, I have finally found the hummus recipe I love...For me. I like my hummus with a kick of garlic and punch of lemon. The Irish chef is a major fan of tahini. I really don't like using a food processor to make hummus (I mash it with a potato masher). So who cares how you prepare your hummus? The hummus police?!? Isn't the goal to enjoy the process and the end result???

The foremost authority on hummus can be found here: http://humus101.com/EN/2007/11/27/10-common-mistakes-in-hummus-recipes/.
P.S. This recipe breaks a ton of the former's hard and fast "rules" and comes from a Syrian: http://syrianfoodie.blogspot.ca/2009/08/one-hundred-and-one-mezze-7-hummus.html.

By the way, if you want to talk about how there is NO authoritative governing body over taste anywhere, look at the difference in opinions about the oh, so popular dish called 'okonomiyaki' among Japanese people (read all about it here: http://j-hoppers.japanhostel.net/2015/05/a-big-controversy-over-okonomiyaki-in.html). Let's go with a Japanese dish as popular as hummus: miso soup. I learned how to make miso soup from my Canadian mother who learned how to make it from my Japanese father who learned from his mother. A show of hands, please, as to those who believe my mother's miso soup was exactly like my grandmother's. My mom didn't love fish or seafood, so she used less of the fish-base. She wasn't a fan of sodium, either, so she added less miso paste and tended to favor shiro miso (white miso paste) over aka miso (red miso paste). I never ate miso soup with additives like clams, fish, carrots or celery, but that's what I ate in Japan. After all is said and done, I much prefer aka miso and have experimented with all sorts of different ingredients, including kelp soup base instead of fish. To be honest, I love my Auntie Keiko's miso soup best (my dad's brother's wife).

My mother's old cookbook (published in 1989).
She modified recipes time and time again.

Canada's no better. Simply ask people about butter tarts and you'll have a heated debate on your hands! (read all about it here: http://www.capital-cooking.com/top-10-foods-past-present-7-butter-tart-controversy/). Here's one of the more interesting butter tart controversies in Ontario: http://www.canadianliving.com/life-and-relationships/community-and-currents-events/article/the-canadian-butter-tart-wars. Speaking of, the two places I love butter tarts from are The Little Beaver (in Komoka), and Canada Comfort Foods located at the Saturday market at the Western Fairgrounds. Ohhh, man! Two different styles that are equally delicious!!!

 Meeting the Vagabonds at the Saturday market for coffee...
AND warm apple fritters from the Dutch Bakery (https://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Dutch-Bakery/353921442101), and, of course, great conversation!!!
 The pierogi vendor!!! How awesome are all those potato heads?!?
There were even more!!! Love it!

So please don't tell me how hummus should be prepared. Instead, offer me a recipe and let me figure the rest out on my own, please and thank you. For all of those who have contributed to my hummus recipe, a big, warm, garlic-infused THANK YOU!!!

My homemade hummus (left) with whole wheat pita that I baked in the oven with an olive oil, cumin and sea salt glaze (right).

Still Cooking: autumn dishes
 Pasta with a twist! The sauce (which I know you can't see) is a cream sauce with the lemon sheep cheese I bought from the market! Ohhh, that cheese is to die for!!!
 This HUGE butternut squash is from my friends' garden! The before picture :)
After picture (#1): butternut squash, cauliflower, carrot and pumpkin curry soup!!! I have a HUGE pot of this soup, lol!
 After picture (#2): I still had so much veg left that I roasted it :) This time, I tossed the raw veggies with olive oil, butter, salt, pepper and other spices then let the oven work magic.
 I finally made it to a Starbucks that had pumpkin spice syrup, lol! Mine is on the left (tall, half-sweet, non-fat, with whip, extra hot pumpkin spice latte), and my dad tried out the new salted caramel mocha (no modification).
Mmmm! Hello, autumn!!!
It may be autumn in Starbucks, but there's still a lot of green outside!!!

No comments:

Post a Comment