Home Ec for All, Bourdain’s Technique Show

Home Ec for All, Bourdain’s Technique Show

Although I like Tony Bourdain’s show, and he did a great job when he came here to Livingston (a show that featured the ex-boyfriend known on this blog as the Mighty Hunter, as well as some real glamor shots of Jacques the bird dog), I was thrilled by his techniques show, especially his assertion that instead of killing Home Ec in the name of feminism, the nation should rather, have required Home Ec of everyone. One of my pet ideas. Home Ec should be a requirement in high school. Learn to cook the kinds of basic items Bourdain showcased, a stew, a roast chicken, an omelette, spaghetti with red sauce. Also, teach every high school kid how to do a basic home budget, balance a checkbook, understand interest rates, shop for groceries (basic ingredients from which one can make a meal, not processed crap).

Anyhow, looks like it’s going to be another day of TV, antibiotics, hot tea, and perhaps that Ian Rankin book I got from the library yesterday. But this episode totally cheered me up. First of all, I love Jacques Pepin, and his omelette demonstration was perfect — mine was pretty close, but now I get the last crucial bits I’d been missing. (Trivia alert: did you know that it was Jacques Pepin who invented the recipe for the amazing Howard Johnson’s fried clams? And the HoJos’ hot dog, my favorite childhood road food — fried in butter, in a toasted bun that had been lightly fried in buttter on the outsides. Heaven.) Thomas Keller’s roasted chicken was gorgeous, and might just be what’s for dinner tonight. And Laurent Tourondel insisting that a hamburger can only be dressed with American cheese! Love love love.

So with Bourdain, I want to encourage everyone to go out and cook something basic this week. Roast a chicken. Cook some good spaghetti. Make a stew.

3 thoughts on “Home Ec for All, Bourdain’s Technique Show

  1. I was distracted when Thomas Keller was roasting his chicken, but I caught the “take out the wishbone” part. That was completely new to me, and I think I’ll have to track down what that was all about.

    Also, I was shocked when I watched him shove his pepper grinder into the inside of the raw chicken. Made me think a bit what it means that I’m that afraid of a raw chicken.

  2. I’m not sure what the wishbone thing was about either — except maybe to make the trussing smush the bird a little more? Myself, I’m dedicated to the Marcella Hazan “stuff a perforated lemon inside” method of chicken roasting. Which worked out well when the poor bird spent an extra hour in the oven while I had to go rescue the Sweetheart last night at a trailhead (his car battery died). We ate a very well done, but not dry bird. I’m so in love with Jacques Pepin that I was just happy to see him making an omelette … mostly though I just loved the general admonition to take back some responsibility for knowing how to cook some basics — it’s not enough to order well or know the best restaurants — learn to cook a few things. Sometimes the secret-insider-Chowhound aspect of Bourdain’s show bugs me. (Although everyone had very nice things to say about him when he was here.)

  3. Just found your blog through Ruhlman’s site, and love it!

    I loved Bourdain’s show on Techniques, but have to agree with Heather, I almost passed out when I saw Thomas Keller and his pepper grinder stuck in the chicken, very bad example, I could not believe a chef of his caliber doing that.

    I am a microbiologist, work around bacteria 24 hours’day, so I am not paranoid at all. But raw chicken needs a lot more respect..

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