Right now, the thing that brings me the most joy is cooking for people. I love having people in my kitchen, chatting, while I slice vegetables and sip wine. And the dinner, of course, eating together and conversing. I love the feeling of feeding friends, and in that act, orchestrating community.
I’ve always enjoyed dinner parties, but lately, I find I need them. And, fortunately, my friends oblige and lend me their company and appetites.
With my new food philosophy (I’m trying to eat only whole foods, not packaged, preservative-heavy foods) cooking takes on a different meaning and care. Cooking is now an act of assembling dishes that not just taste good, but are made from fresh ingredients, preferably organic, and ideally local.
My preferred soundtrack right now for dinner parties: Jack Johnson’s new CD (he continues to impress me with his music) and all of Jack’s soundtracks to his surfing movies—Thicker than Water, A Brokedown Melody, and The September Sessions. The mellow vibes make for a fantastic background.
I've been experimenting with more meat dishes--I've never been much of a meat eater, and cooking it always intimidated me, but I'm finding it surprisingly simple to make. My favorites so far have been lamb coated with garlic and rosemary, and a peppercorn steak recipe that I attempted. My secret? Cooks Illustrated, which is a monthly magazine (I've bought one of the cookbooks that has all of the annual recipes)that shows you, scientifically, how to cook. They test hundreds of techniques and recipes before presenting the "winner," and the steps are explained in a way that makes perfect sense. It's a rather foolproof way to cook.