Pleasures of the table
if one has not dined well.”
Virginia Woolf (1882-1941), British novelist
A Room of One’s Own, ch. 1 (1929.)
Lucien Tendret (1825-1896), French lawyer and gastronome;great-nephew of Brillat-Savarin.
I have a deep appreciation for good food, wine, and lively conversation—the pleasures of the table. There is nothing as satisfying as discovering a bottle of wine with a beautiful color, sensual aroma and a delightful taste. While the kitchen is primarily the workspace of a master craftsman, it is also an intensely personalized space where everything that I use on a daily basis provokes memory about friends, relationships, events, and places of significance in my life. Having a good stove is essential, I love my italian Boretti stove with the six gas burners and the wok burner.
I use a Global’s Forged Chef’s Knife (21cm), these knives, they are made by Yoshikin in Japan from the finest Cromova 18 stainless steel. These great Japanese knives balance perfectly in your hand owing to the handle’s well-thought-out shape. I put some pictures on this page, my kitchen, the table set by Hélène and some food I prepared.
But the Italian cuisine I love the best. It is all about home made cooking, remember that Italian food has evolved from a peasant cuisine, meaning that meals were often based on what was in the pantry and how much time one had to make a dish. Italian cooking is very difficult to pin down — almost every city and town has its specialties, and there are regional trends too; the end result is a huge number of local cuisines rather than a single national cuisine.
Culinarily, Italy is an incredibly diverse country — dishes, ingredients, cooking times, and spicings change radically from one region to the next. However, the basic philosophy of the meal, seen as an occasion for friends or family to gather around the table and share a relaxed interval before leaping back into the fray (during the work week) remains constant. And that’s what I love about it.
Then later on we stayed in Florence, Italy for a week. Hélènes sister Marion, who is a PhD art historian and teaches art in San Diego, California, was invited for a study abroad program in Italy. She had a this great little appartment in the center of old Florence (di fronte di Palazzo Strotzi!) and a spare bedroom. So we packed our bags and off we went! Florence cuisine arose from the peasant fare of the surrounding countryside. Characterized by rustic dishes created with fresh ingredients and simple preparations, Tuscan food ranks among the world’s best. We had a great gourmet Italian week.
May all your wines have a good year.