Cooking On A Budget: New Spin on Old Classics - Really?

Monday, October 3, 2011

New Spin on Old Classics - Really?

I’ll be the first to admit it; I am a food TV phanatic! It started back when I was in junior high school and I watched Julia Childs and Graham Kerr (The Galloping Gourmet) on Connecticut Public Television.  As an adult I began watching CPTV programs like The Frugal Gourmet with Jeff Smith as the host and chef, Jacques Pepin, Lydia Bastianich in Lidia’s Kitchen and another food program, America’s Test Kitchen.

Then along came the Food Network on our cable system.  Bravo added competition cooking shows like Top Chef and Top Chef Masters.  Gordon Ramsey on Fox TV with his shows: Hell’s Kitchen, Kitchen Nightmares and Master Chef.  I love to watch any and all food shows.

What I appreciate most of all is that I have learned a great deal about food I otherwise would not have known.  Food programs on television brought out a great desire in me to try different foods, experiment with food and hone my cooking skills. It’s as if an awakening happened inside me and I love learning every day.  I have a cookbook collection and I actually read them as if I were pouring through a novel.  They are my inspiration for cooking dinners I otherwise would not attempt to make.  The cookbooks open me up to exploring recipes, trying them and putting my own spin on them.  That means I’ll delete or add whatever I feel best suits my palette and my families.

And speaking of spin – I don’t get this nouveau in the restaurant world of putting “a new spin on an old classic”.  There’s a saying “if it’s not broke, don’t fix it”.  Why would I want to put a new spin on the classics?  Do I really want to deconstruct classics like homemade meatloaf, macaroni and cheese or a simple roasted chicken to the point where they are not recognizable as such?  I think not.  There are some foods that just are not meant to be changed and for me it makes me crazy to see a roasted chicken dinner sous vide with some sort of pan sauce! And not to mention some flavored foam that looks like dishwasher soap suds were spilled on the plate along side of the meat. Besides, we are talking about Cooking on A Budget and the classics fit right into that mold.

I think in this area I will always remain traditional and stick with the classic as it is.
A Classic Macaroni and Cheese

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