Friday, May 18, 2012

How To Cook

First, consider- how do I feel?
This doesn't only mean what do I feel like eating, it means, how do I feel?

If you are feeling perfectly fine and normal, you do not have to consider food as medicine, only as tonic and sustainer and appetite satisfier. If, however, you are under the weather and suffering from one form of malaise or another, you need to consider what would be best for your body. Oftentimes, the things you crave are the things you need.
Not always, though.
Craving fried chicken and gravy or a hot, juicy hamburger is rarely representative of a true need. That's a WANT. Ignore that shit.

Next, think about what you have. For me, this means, what do I have as leftovers or in the garden or in the freezer? 

Do not forget to consider what it is that you need to cook. As in the verb of cooking. What can you cook which will help you to restore health in both mind and body and spirit? What sort of chopping and simmering and mixing and adding will satisfy everything that you need?

The answer to all of these questions is often soup.

So it is for me tonight.

The best things for all problems respiratory are garlic, citrus, and hot peppers. That's the facts, Jack. For sustenance, you need some protein and some carbs.

And so tonight I am making a soup of chicken and garlic. Lots and lots and lots of garlic. Lime juice will be added at the end. I had leftover stuffed peppers and I chopped all of that up and added it to the pot. Peppers and tomatoes and rice, mostly. A little bit of venison.

Venison and chicken together?

Oh yeah. Not too much of either. Think about our ancestors and how a handful of this and a few fingerfuls of this made up supper.

Mmmm. Spices. Chili powder and crushed red peppers. Some soy sauce and some chilies. I had banana peppers from the garden and added those. Onions. Oh my Lord. Always onions. Carrots and celery. 

Let it simmer. Let it all stew together. Did you know that carrots cooked with garlic turn out to be sweet? Oh. They do.

When it is all ready I will cut up corn tortillas into strips and heat them into crispness in an iron skillet. We'll add this to our bowls of soup. I will add lime juice, as I said, to the soup and also minced cilantro and chopped avocados. I will serve it up with hot sauce. The more heat, the better.

This is how I cook. I like recipes but mostly I use what I have with what I need.

I like to think this is the way of the Maya.
I could be wrong.

But it's the way of the me. 


  1. This is the way I like to cook too. You motivate me to cook. I can't bake, so I don't even try, but I can cook if I want to. This post was really lovely. I like to think about how our ancestors ate too. It simplifies everything. I like the way you cook.

  2. DTG, you need to get over there and eat some of yo' mama's soup!

  3. Impressive. Do you use chicken stock or water? And The Way of the Maya statement cracked me up. Did you know that "maya" also means "illusion?"

  4. Sounds delicious. Ginger works wonders too.

  5. All I want now is that soup. I crave it and damn I am not a cook.

  6. I bet you made the right food for body and soul. Wise woman you.

  7. I was ill this week and the husband made me proper Jewish chicken soup. He is Jewish, so he knows how. And now I am better.

  8. That soup looks really good. Delicious as a matter of fact! It is a chilly morning here.

  9. Nicol- It feels pretty good to cook like this. Not fancy but really real. I don't turn down fancy food if it is offered, though!

    Food and Brew Love- Good.

    DTG- There is plenty left over...

    Lulumarie- Long drive for a bowl of soup.

    Elizabeth- I use chicken stock if I have it. Yesterday I did.
    Yes. I know that Maya is illusion but not in the sense of the people. Of course.

    Anonymous Jo- True. I had none, though.

    Andrea- I never understand not being a cook. It's in my bones. But I always make enough to share.

    Photocat- It tasted so good.

    Annicles- I have always wondered what makes Jewish chicken soup "Jewish." It's the cook?

    Syd- I can't believe how cool it is here too. Really.

  10. I'm not sure - there are certainly no Jews in the soup. On the other hand, until I met my husband I had never come across chicken soup like it, so maybe it is the cook!

  11. When i used to teach cooking class in homeschool co-op, i would tell them "we don't need no stinkin' recipes, cook with your heart!" It's the only way.

  12. Ohhh, yeah. The other night I had some shrimp, a couple chicken breasts and a can of fire roasted tomatoes. Add the onion and celery, ooh and a few potatoes (what?), ooh, green peppers... it shaped up into a mighty satisfying gumbo/jambalaya type thang with the right seasonings and some rice.

  13. "Craving fried chicken and gravy or a hot, juicy hamburger is rarely representative of a true need. That's a WANT. Ignore that shit."

    I wish I could say it like this to my patients. . . .ha ha ha


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