Five essentials and 50 foods for sensual home cooking

The Art of Eating

When you've been around the food world for awhile, you discover some less-publicized but strongly admired food authors. Certainly not as famous as Alice Waters or Rachael Ray, these are authors who publish newsletters or write books not so much for the fame or money, but to please themselves and as an outlet for their food-related passions. Their publications are personal, quirky, and may - or may not - even involve recipes. But they've learned to consistently appeal to  a select group of readers. John Thorne , who calls himself a "renegade food author," is one such writer. Edward Behr is another.

Edward Behr has been writing a quarterly food publication (The Art of Eating) since the 1980s and has always emphasized flavor over fashion, and the joy of eating as much as the joy of cooking. We are always intrigued when he publishes something new and, in fact, he has a new book coming out  - 50 Foods: The Essentials of Good Taste - which he describes in an article at the Kitchn. Here is the introduction from his essay to give you a flavor:

"This is my big book. It's the summary of everything I've been doing and working up to. There really isn't anything quite like 50 Foods out there because it's just about eating, about how to find more pleasure in food and eating. There have been 10 zillion cookbooks published but no one has written about eating! It's highly accessible and at the same time it's uncompromised in the quality of its information. It reaches both the everyday cook and the culinary professional."

After describing the book further, he lists 5 Essentials for Delicious, Sensual Home Cooking (full descriptions can be found in his article) as follows:

  • You really have to enjoy the physical process of cooking.
  • You really have to love to eat, and it helps to love to feed other people.
  • You need at least a few ingredients that give you special pleasure.
  • You need at least one or two pieces of equipment that you really enjoy.
  • You have to trust your own palate.

He especially got to me on the last three points. You'd have to trade me something very special to get my Grandmother's 100-year plus cast iron pan out of my hand; ditto the fig-, pear-, and maple-flavored balsamic vinegars that can dress a salad without any oil.

 And here are some bonus points he added:

  • If you're not a teetotaler, it helps to drink a glass of wine or beer with your food, or for that matter as you cook - a bottle that more or less goes with what you're eating and increases the pleasure of it. (Of course you can also be both a teetotaler and a great cook, too!)
  • It also helps to cook in a pleasant environment; it's hard to prepare good food in a depressing kitchen.
  • Perhaps more of a 6th essential than merely useful: you have to know how to use salt. Most home cooks under-salt, meaning they use less than people are used to.




  • tangaloor  on  11/2/2013 at 11:47 AM

    I would love to see the Art of Eating indexed on EYB!

  • Bloominanglophile  on  11/2/2013 at 10:09 PM

    I enjoyed this article. I'm glad I'm not the only one who thinks "vintage" cast iron is better than this pre-seasoned stuff they are selling now.

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