The 'what IS cooking?' debate carried on over dinner last night, and we teased out a few more strands of an idea - in part following on from Joanna's comment that food should be properly cooked, and consumed sitting down, around a table. There's definitely a social aspect underlying the idea of cooking - it's something that you do for your group. Which perhaps goes someway to explain the sense that non-cooking is somehow mean - perhaps it denotes a smallness of spirit, or an ungenerous mind?
The Technical Department then started off on a tangent all about families that 'graze' from the fridge rather than sit down together to eat as a group - and as it threatened to turn into a 'the problem with people today is'.....rant, it seemed better to move on. Before we did so, though, we definitely concluded that the 'food as job' exponents should be removed from the debate, as they 're really in a different category, and only muddy the waters. I'm talking about the Ramsays and Delias , here - essentially, I think of these as technicians, in whose recipes you never come across references to childhood food memories, and things learnt at their mother's knee, as you do for example with Raymond Blanc or the inestimable Mr Loubet. No, I haven't explained that one properly.....just because a person wasn't brought up around cooking doesn't mean they can't develop the sense of it for themselves later in life. This is definitely an idea that needs more thought.........
We're off up to Brancoli this afternoon, for a couple of days' R+R. Since it seemed a good idea to replenish our stocks of Brancoli wine at the same time, in preparation for the next grappa distillation, we cleaned out the requisite carbuoys in order to do so - and found amongst the dregs in the bottom of one of them a Vinegar Mother. Not a thing of beauty, but quite a practical discovery. Having decanted it into an appropriate bottle, all we now have to do is to add the remains from future unfinished bottles of wine, and it will beaver away and provide us with splendid vinegar ad infinitum, in the months and years to come. Hmmm. I knew there had to be a drawback. 'Future unfinished bottles of wine.....'? In this house...?!?
I am reliably informed, will be courtesy of La Mora Restaurant.