Mixing it up in the wok: Italian flavors in a Chinese cooking vessel

In the days when I dabbled in creative management consulting, over ten years ago, one case study that came up was how Canon had redefined its business, at one point. I’m telling this from memory, so details may be off somewhat, but bear with me. Instead of considering itself as a manufacturer of particular goods (cameras, faxes, photocopiers), Canon defined itself as being in the imaging business. This helped them adapt to technological changes in many fields, like cameras, where they grew their share by quickly going on the digital path, while competitors who defined themselves around film (Kodak, Polaroid) lost large amounts of market share.

What does this have to do with my title? Here’s what.

You can consider the wok as it’s presented: something to cook Chinese food with. Or you can see it as a cooking vessel invented by the Chinese, that provides certain qualities of high-heat cooking – and then use it for any kind of cuisine.

The other night, Read More »

Posted in Cooking, Food, recipe | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 16 Comments

Going whole-hog with a half pig: how I got meat for the winter and decided to start a food blog

To really get what food is all about, you have to make it. I don’t mean you can’t enjoy it if you don’t get your hands in there, but to really get a sense of how a good meal comes together, to understand why a dish is successful or not, there’s nothing quite like practical experience.

This fall, I’ve taken the do-it-yourself approach farther than usual. A lot of baking, to better understand leavening, gluten formation, hydration – and generally, how you make better bread. I made breads I’d never tried before, like San Francisco Sourdough, baguette and brioche (which was the most successful of the three).

On the meat side of things, I bought Read More »

Posted in Food, charcuterie | Tagged , , , , , , , | 25 Comments