The GM is on her way to Idaho for her grandfather's funeral and a gathering of even more of her family. Once again I get to stay home. One of the benefits of owning your own business.
I hope to make a serious dent in my reading. I've been a voracious reader my entire life. One of the drawbacks of owning your own business is there always a little more to do, which means a little less reading. Over time the stack of books to read has grown to almost my full height. Not much of a stack think those of you who know me but still a considerable amount of material. Plus, more are on the way. I'm picking up a carload of books from a friend who is moving and needs some help with storage until she's sorted out.
Right now I'm in the middle of The Modern Art of Chinese Cooking by Barbara Tropp. I really regret not reading this or going to China Moon when I lived in SF and she was alive. At the time I dismissed her with a sentiment I've recently heard expressed about Rick Bayless. What the hell would a white gal know about Chinese cooking? Quite a bit it seems. Often a passionate, intelligent outsider can bring more to a subject than someone immersed in it. Especially one who can write descriptively about food.
"When the oil is hot enough to sizzle one scallion nugget, add the scallions to the pan. Toss briskly about 15 seconds to glaze the scallions and explode their fragrance, then splash 1 tablespoon wine into the pan. Wait a second for it to hiss, then immediately add the lilies and tree ears. Stir-fry briskly to combine, about 10 seconds, then scrape the mixture into the remaining bowl or plate."
All this brisk sizzling, hissing and exploding gives very clear, yet lyrical instructions for stir-frying. This is the kind of book that makes me want to just give up because I will never have this much knowledge in my little head.
One of my fellow restaurateurs up here worked with Barbara Tropp. I'd love to talk with her about it. Hopefully now that they have hired a new chef she'll have a little time to do something other than work. That is if she wants to talk about it. There's another person up here who worked with Georges Blanc. I was keen to talk with him about it because The Natural Cuisine of Georges Blanc was the first beautiful coffee-table type cookbook I ever bought. I agonized about spending the $40 to the point of bringing a fellow culinary arts student to the bookstore to look at it. We agreed it was worth it. However this other restaurateur is remarkably close-mouthed and I couldn't get much out of him. I may try again to see if he's loosened up over the years.
Right now it's time to go try some Northern-Style Chinese Roast Pork