This memoir by chef Marcus Samuelsson was a great read - offering insight not only into his own life experiences, but also into the culinary world. These are a few of the excerpts I found particularly relevant or interesting:
"I was learning the beauty of food within a context: how important it is
to let the dishes be reflective of your surroundings...If the ingredients are fresh
and prepared with love, they are bound to be satisfying."
I would also say dishes should be reflective of the people you're feeding - a lesson I learned many times over in the five years I cooked and baked for my student staffs.
"One thing I believe with all my soul: Don't try to guess somebody's ceiling...
I would never be the one telling you what you can or can't do. Who was I to tell [him]
he didn't have what it takes to succeed? I brought him along, never knowing where his limit was."
This reflection stopped me in my visual tracks. Granted, the concept isn't new - but I really connected with the way Samuelsson says it. What if, instead of building ceilings for people, we eliminated them?? (This feels especially timely given that my new job focuses on providing support to students who are designated as academically at-risk.)
"What I served was far less important than how I served it...when an extraordinary meal
is placed in front of [people], they feel honored, respected and even a little bit loved."
For anyone who's ever seen me fretting over what dish to serve a meal in, or how the decorations on the cake look, this is why. Because even something as simple as soft tacos or tomato soup can be transformed by putting some thought into the presentation. I want the care and respect and appreciation I have for people to come through when I cook for them.
I would highly recommend this book to anyone interested in something that is both straightforward and reflective - equally a story about man, food and life.
Where I am: home
What I'm reading: At Home on the Range by Elizabeth Gilbert