Thursday, September 17, 2009

Can't cook?

My sister-in-law often sends me news clippings. The latest story explained the recent boom in simplified cookbooks as well as cooking schools and new here-are-the-basics cooking shows. Apparently, we have a whole generation from the 1970s on that can't cook. This generation is now grappling with tightened pocketbooks and wants to use the farmer's market product to actually make a meal.
Now, I hadn't actually realized we had a culinary knowledge generational gap. Yes, I had heard about the loss of many home cooked meals, the ever-growing reliance on boxed mixes as cooking and the rise of fast food/take out/take and bake/take and eat. I do have a microwave and think it makes excellent popcorn and bacon with minimal fuss.

But, I had no idea that my friends couldn't cook. Actually, my friends can cook--at least I think they can. I may be selective, only pairing up with people who can cook or they may be particularly adept at buying pre-made and swapping containers. Hmmm, I've only actually cooked with a few of them.

My youngest and I spent a cool and drizzly day at the zoo. After reading the article and trekking the hills of the zoo with several kindergartners in tow, I decided tonight's meal must be a basic soup, one of those soups everyone should know how to make, but maybe they don't.

Bacon Corn Potato Chowder
Adapted from Barbara Kafka's lovely book Soup and my mother's 1970s Velveeta Cheese Bacon soup (w/o the Velveeta now)

1 1/2 lb of baking potatoes, peeled and 1/2" cubed
1 medium onion, chopped fine
1 1/2 cups water
Corn cut from 4 ears of corn
1 celery stalk, chopped fine
1 1/2 cups milk
1 cup shredded Fontina or Gruyere cheese
Salt and pepper to taste
Roasted peppers (I had broiled some pepper from our CSA - a mix of sweet peppers - I love the colors)
Hot sauce to taste

1. Place the potato and onion in a medium saucepan and add water. Bring to boil and then simmer, covered, 10 minutes.
2. Add in corn, celery, milk and cheese. Stir and bring almost to a boil. Partially cover and simmer for another 10 minutes.
3. Add salt and pepper to taste.
4. Serve with roasted peppers on top and hot sauce to taste for the adults. We had pitas, sprayed first with an olive oil spray before a short time under the broiler to make them crispy, as a side.


Dr. Rick said...

I do wish I could still eat such wonderful food. You are a fabulous cook, must have got that from your mom and her mom. You have, of course, added your flair to what your genes contained.

Linda said...

This soup sounds like it would be delicious - you are an amazing cook who is gifted in many areas - I'm very proud of you and love you very much:)