Cooking On A Budget: Walt Disney

Monday, November 4, 2013

Walt Disney


Of all of the great quotes that I could have picked from the mouth of Walt Disney this one struck me as simple and complex in one breath. If you've ever had the opportunity to visit Walt Disney World in Florida or Disneyland in California you will know exactly what I am talking about. There is so much in any one of the theme parks that spark the imagination, awakens childhood memories from a bygone chapter in our lives and gives us hope for a brighter future. It brings the youthfulness of a child out in all of us in ways we may not even notice at the time.

This famous statue in the Magic Kingdom at the end of Main Street U.S.A. and before the castle sparks an emotion in me that I don't know if I have words to explain; but I'll try.

We all know that Walt Disney created the character Mickey Mouse. He parented his character over the years into the Mickey Mouse we know today. Whenever I see this statue in person (and it has been twice now) it strikes an emotion in me and tears begin to flow. It's as though Mickey had become Walt's son and in this statue as he holds Mickey's hand it feels as if he is saying, "I built this for you son, because of you son and this my boy is just the beginning of a great vision. Together you and I will build something for every child on the planet, young and old."

And it is his vision that is still being carried out today long after his passing. His life and legacy live on in the hearts of children and adult children all over the world.

The same holds true for cooking. Although some of the mother sauces may have been created out of a need to mask what could have been food that was ready to go over the edge, they were nonetheless brilliant in vision and in execution. From the era of Duke Philippe De Mornay and the Marquis Louis de Bechamel who are proposed to have created sauce mornay and sauce bechamel, to the chef that perfected them and created more - Chef Auguste Escoffier to a more modern Chef Roger Verge - these visionaries in the cooking world laid a foundation for the chef in all of us.

Julia Childs is most often given the credit for presenting French cuisine and technique to us here in the United States. Wiley Dufresne owner of WD50 brought forth the concept of molecular gastronomy which has taken the restaurant dining experience to a whole other level and has influenced the likes of modern day chefs like Richard Blaise and Marcel Vigneron.

The food legacies that these chefs have created have been written about over and over in biographies, in cookbooks and taught in culinary schools all across the planet. Their visions executed in perfectly mastered dishes on a daily basis.

While not all of us enter a culinary arts program and become a professional chef, the average home cook strives to budget, shop and prepare meals for our family on a daily basis. For some it has become an obsession and we blog about what we cook or bake. For others it's a matter of survival and making sure our families get fed. No matter which way you spin it, it all boils down to this: just as Walt wanted something for everyone that would withstand the test of time and live in the hearts of billions, we as cooks continue to create our own personal legacy in the sense that dishes we create for our family will live in their hearts forever.

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