Oh the view from afar.
A very different meaning anywhere else in the world. I feel I have made a luxurious trade in my life to be in this community and climate. Definitely a trade though. This town is rather lacking in culinary confidence. Strange for a place where people try to hit unfathomable speeds on rather unsupervised mountains of mud or snow.
Recently a local pro skier enquired ‘am I meant to eat the skin?’ after being served a fabulous squash that had been grilled whole on the BBQ. My only reply to this is simply; ‘well does it taste good?’.
That day I was able to get a middle aged man to eat all manner of things he truly would not have, yet he (claimed to have) enjoyed them all throughly. The papery protection of an ear of corn included, not recommended by most, including myself.
The big news came from another emigre neighbour, the furry sharp kiwi skin is always eaten in New Zealand (in her ‘ends’ anyway, as she so lovingly put it). My contribution; pickled watermelon rind, always around my house in the late summer, an item I am immensely proud to serve. Taught to me by my North Indian neighbours back in London (they really knew how to skin up the original way).
I come from a land where we eat the skin on the onions, we char them thoroughly and blend them into a wonderful powder to season soups and salads alike. We are still slightly in the dark with world foods which is understandable, but foods that grow in our own garden we really should know inside out.
A Laura of some distinction recently told me it is the effort we should praise not the accomplishment. I feel this is rather well suited to the cooking world I live. The sweet core of an onion requires little to no work for it taste simply perfect. The skins however require that extra step or two. The beef cheek contains so much more flavour, but requires so much more love and attention than the almost arrogant filet mignon.
Sometimes you completely miss and and piss me off with the result. I still fear making raisins for a dish at a Heston Blumenthal’s restaurant ‘Dinner’. Take the finest grapes you can find in France, fly them to the UK, grade out the correct sizes only, peel the tiny little haemorrhoids and dehydrate them to release them from all their honeyed earthy musky happiness. After all that, make sure to only use three of them for each guest as they really do take away from the dish in high volume.
Long story short, we should all take a minute to ‘skin up’. It is a joy to take an extra minute or two out of our day for simple effort.