The first apartment I lived in in Groningen had no oven. No, I don’t understand it either, but it’s not that unusual for a Dutch rental property to come with no oven or space for an oven, should the tenant wish to bring their own. For two years I roasted my chickens, legs of lamb, and occasional eggplant in a dinky little combination microwave and convection oven.
I really enjoy my work. I find teaching (and research) very rewarding, but sometimes the rewards come in mysterious and unexpected ways. One of the students I am working with spent some time over the summer in France, visiting friends. When she returned, she brought me a jar of salted butter caramel sauce from Brittany! Now THAT is rewarding.
We all know carrots as those adorable orange roots with the tufted green hairstyle and their promise of superhuman eyesight, but that’s not what they really are. Not what they used to be. In the grand scheme of things, orange carrots are very young. Only a couple of hundred years old. Babies! Still immature and infantile.
I have been wanting to get into food writing for a long time now, but somehow never felt the need; the time and place was never right. This changed this morning when the first article of a new food column for the University newspaper was published. The column is called The Epicurean and will be published once a fortnight. At least that’s the plan for now.
Birthdays have never meant very much to me, but this one is special. One of the most important restaurant in the history of American cooking, Chez Panisse, celebrates its fortieth year. Chez Panisse, the brainchild of Alice Waters, opened its doors in 1971 and was almost single-handedly responsible for the birth, or at least the maturity, of California cuisine. With a focus on good-quality, fresh, local, and seasonal ingredients, California cuisine is not about complexity, but about simplicity. It is all about making the most out of the best ingredients, allowing their flavours to shine and to combine harmoniously.
I’m certain that the news has reached you, no matter where you live, dear reader: Groningen is Hoofdstad van de Smaak for 2011! For those not blessed with the ability to understand Dutch, it means that Groningen is the Capital of Taste for this year. I can tell you’re a bit confused (if not bemused), so let me try to explain.