Monday, July 4, 2011

The things that matter

We arrived in Winnipeg yesterday. For me, it means moving home for the summer. We’ll be here for two months—just long enough for Manitoba to sink in, and to get good use of the best of Manitoba’s farms and gardens.

We’re living in a small sublet apartment, in Wolseley. It’s a place where, when it rains, you can stroll on the sidewalk without getting wet. The thickness of the elm canopy protects you. There seems to be a bakery at every corner.

I only packed one cookbook, in an effort to pare down. The Flavour Thesaurus is not a recipe book, but an idea generator. It treats ingredients like they belong on a colour wheel. For each entry—from figs, to capers, to chicken—it has a long list of pairings.

For instance:

Dill. Why not dill and beef? Dill and avocado? You’ve heard of dill and potatoes, of course. But did you think it might work with turmeric and chilies, as an Indian dish?

Of course, The Flavour Thesaurus is more eloquent than I'm being here, but you get the idea. Its purpose is to inspire and guide, not to instruct.

And that is the kind of summer I’m ready for. A pared-down, inspired summer. A summer where the few essentials—close friends and family, a single cookbook, and a few things in the fridge—are the source of inspiration in my cooking.

As for those few items in the fridge, here are some of them. The bare essentials, according to, well, me. Happy summer, and expect to hear more from me.

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