Tag Archives: food

Cooking – a Right- or Left-brain activity?

By Guest Blogger Margaret Loyer

The answer lies with recipes. A right-brainer scoffs at a recipe. If they use one, it’s only as a starting point with guidelines. They decide how to make something based on what’s in their cupboard.

A left-brainer follows a recipe religiously. It may be one from a book or from their memory because they’ve made it a hundred times. However, the base instructions must be there and only minor tweaking is allowed.

My sister, Cathy, is a right-brainer without par. Case in point, when my husband and I and Cathy were in Hawaii several years ago, we were invited to attend a welcome party with others at the timeshare resort where we were staying. I pulled out a piece of paper on which to write a shopping list of ingredients needed to make a shrimp appetizer that I knew by heart. My sister started looking in the refrigerator to see what was there. She ended up pulling out leftover chicken, tomatoes, onions, and salad dressing, then putting together an amazing topping that she spread on crackers. I was astounded that she could just wing it with whatever was on hand. What does that make me? A left-brainer.

I can look at a recipe and decide if I’m going to like it based on the ingredients. However, I cannot look at a recipe and decide what I have to change so that I will like it – unless it’s something simple like replacing peppers with celery. I have to try a recipe at least once before I’ll change more than that. Sometimes I’ll get really adventurous and I won’t put in the salt or I’ll decrease the amount of sugar. I may get palpitations as I’m doing it, but I persevere. No one can say I don’t live on the edge.

Next time I’m in the kitchen, I’m going to consider creating a meal based on the wildest combination of ingredients I can find in the refrigerator and cupboards. I may not do it, but I’ll consider it.

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Food Photography, Part I

Every few months, my husband and his brother used to get together and cook a gourmet meal. My sister-in-law and I were the happy recipients of all this good food — although some dishes were rather experimental. Over the years, we’ve had French, Italian, Greek, Ethiopian, Chinese, and Korean food, to name a few. Nothing was off the menu, including ingredients like squid or raw ground beef, exotic spices, rich sauces. All ingredients were fresh or of the highest quality. And, of course, all this was accompanied with the appropriate alcoholic drink.

For a multitude of reasons, the guys haven’t cooked together for the past five or six years. In the meantime, Robert, my brother-in-law, has become an award-winning nature photographer. Last weekend, they resumed their gourmet meal creations and added a new ingredient: photos. Here was the menu (click on the picture for a larger view): Continue reading

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Cooking up music

Two Jamies. Two very different men –young men– with maybe the only thing in common being that they are both British. One was born in 1975, the other in 1979. Both grew up in Essex.

Sure, there are other similarities: both are cute, shaggy-haired, and have more energy than a cooped up panther. Both have followed their passion and are making a name for themselves, despite the odds: one cooks, the other sings jazz.

What ties them together is that they are both chefs and musicians, in their own way.

I’m talking about Jamie Oliver, the Naked Chef, who sees food as an instrument and recipes as the score — you must follow the basics, but there’s definitely room for interpretation.

The other is Jamie Cullum, who uses music to cook up a feast for the ears that is totally personal and unique.

Whether it’s for your stomach or your ears, with either of these two, you’ll end up replete.

Try out some of the Naked Chef’s recipes in his latest, Cook with Jamie: My Guide to Making You a Better Cook, and listen to Jamie Cullum in Pointless Nostalgic, which you can also find on iTunes.

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