Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Dutch Oven Madness

It makes me laugh every time it is said. Dutch Oven. Just laughed typing it. Love the Dutch Oven. Laughed again.

A few definitions are in order. THE Dutch Oven that makes me laugh is an age old trick. You are in bed with your significant other, or a $25 hooker for that matter. Snug as bugs. Then you pass some gas and pull the blankets over their head. Sealing them in nicely to marinate in the stick that is you.

I am happy to report that I've never attempted the Dutch Oven (laugh). Nor has it been attempted on me.

The other Dutch Oven (laugh), the one I experienced this week is an instrument of magic. Cast in iron for our cooking enjoyment. It's wielders, true masters.

I have been a fan of watching people cook for most of my life. I like watching people do a lot of different things, hence my challenge to actually do, and not just watch. My early television memories involve Julia Childs and Jaques Pepin on PBS. Loved Geoff Smith ~ The Frugal Gourmet, I even liked him after he badmouthed the corn beef at Doyle's in Boston, and was accused of diddling a few boys. Man could that pederast cook.

I loved how much they loved to create, and how much they loved to share their wisdom. They could put all these random things together and come up with something completely different, something magical. I still love to watch. The Food Network is amazing. Yet another reason I don't have cable, I'd get nothing done. They really figured it out. Giada Di Laurentis? Hot chick cooking for me? Brilliant. Genius. Yes I did hate it when she introduced her husband on the show. I'm sure he's a great guy, but it really broke my fantasy.

I have great memories of watching her cook with my Dad. It was an afternoon stop for us during our day. I was staying with my parents, helping care for him while cancer ravaged his body. Never his Spirit! Sure we really wanted to know how to cook pasta, it had nothing to do with her low cut tops. Nothing! My late brother even worked for the network in its early stages. Hmmmmmm.....Maybe I should stop watching, seems a wee hazardous to the men in my family.

Luckily I have stopped! Okay it is my must watch when staying anywhere with cable, but I don't get out much so I think I'm safe. And I have created some amazing cooks that happened to be friends. Sure they are a bit more surly than their on air counterparts, but the love they emanate is the same. Such enthusiasm, exploration, teamwork....A beautiful communion of friends creating deliciousness.

This weekend I was introduced formally to the Dutch Oven (smile). A true melting pot. Chicken? Throw it in! Sausage? In. Along with everything under the sun. Now I'm not the cook remember, so I don't have any recipes. I can tell you two different kinds of fruit juice went in. Chicken, sausage and fruit juice? Okay I'll trust you. What they created, I don't have a vocabulary big enough to describe. Nirvana. Bliss. Amazing. And I don't even like chicken. Then it was a peach cobbler. Cripsy, gooey, sugary, buttery.......Oh I want some now. And a beef stew fit for a king. Everything cooked all day, possibly all night. Slow, an opportunity to stop and smell the dessert flowers.

All done in an archaic cast iron pot. On coals from real firewood. In the desert. At an out of the way campsite. Stews may not be the what you think of in 100 degree heat, but wow.....Ahhh yeah, look up mastery and these cooks will be there, somewhere. Possible under the 10 Most Wanted, but they will be there.

These masters of meat are to me a great example of love in action. The time, creativity, devotion and practice they share is love. Pure bliss, and for that I am grateful and pleasantly plump.

As I sit here attempting to end this, I'm wondering where the point is in this post. Then I realized I just wanted reminisce and savor their creations. Perhaps inspire myself to start cooking more! I'm off to burn some toast.

(Pictures to follow. I promise they are worth checking back for.)

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