This is just a beginning. Patience. (This will be a mess for a while)

Go here for everything else:
  1. Index of The Snotty Chef's Other Writings

A Preface?

There are basically two kinds of "recipes": those that show how foods can be thrown together with good uniform results, and those that are in themselves precariously perched works of art that are an art to understand, and therefore an art again to make blossom into the wondrous reality of themselves. Actually, there is a third type that goes under the category of "obvious": slice mushrooms, chop garlic and sautée in oil. That's not a recipe: that's an obviousness, as is in slice carrots, boil, put butter and chopped dill on them. We are not at all concerned with such things.

The first can be used easily, and is immediately rewarding; the second is a reminder that the universe has more to offer than we ever dreamed possible, but that the universe requires time, patience and attention for it to reveal any part of itself, which is to say its secrets.

This is true culinary art, where the ingredients themselves become the words of a language that cannot be spoken, but are merely understood through attention to experience. It is a language that is understood only by sight, touch, smell, sound, time, and ultimately taste - all simultaneously. That this language is so rarely understood, or spoken haltingly should be not a surprise.

The other things you can find here are elemental things about various foods and using certain culinary instruments. Bit about how and why mustard and horseradish need to be similarly treated, how various meats and vegetables are best treated, and why. The recipes for the various dishes tend to take the chemistries of their ingredients into account. Some may look like magical incantations in their tedious specifics, but there is almost always the chemistry in back of their seeming persnickity madness, often enzymes that are either released or destroyed under specific conditions created with purpose. No recipe will contain all the chemical logic that supports its precedures. But, in almost every recipe there is at least one specific lesson to be learned that can be used generally. There is no completeness here.

It takes a lifetime to begin to understand culinary art; to express it takes another lifetime. It is a language of love and caring that can be, and has been, exquisitely refined. Who cares for you but those who would gladly feed and nourish you with no care for payment or reward?

Even in early western civilization, there were laws of hospitality. They were not laws of a damned theiving government. They were laws of realism and of ethics that treated guests with the same courtesy with which anyone would want to be received; the constructed bible is merely a false "hanger on" in such matters. The west has lost these simple and necessary ideas, while other rather "nonbiblical" cultures still have them. Is there an obvious message from reality here?

When I was a child, even here in the US, there was the dictum in my family that no one should ever leave our table still hungry, and we were not rich people, yet it would be dishonorable for that to happen.

Now, with the ritual joy of eating together as a social coming together in the sharing on food, this seems to have disappeared along with ritual, joy and food; instead, everyone goes to McDonald's, or whatever. See the joke about this in Demolition Man. The winner of the "food wars" is Taco Bell. It can't get much more ridiculous. What do they serve in the film but something what appears to be Nouvelle Cuisine?! That from which everyone will emerge hungry and unsatisfied.

The Snotty Chef wants food, with all of its rich history, and not fabricated Platonic shadows thereof! I can't eat shadows of illusions and be sustained in any sense of that word. He does not "throw up", you should pardon the expression, everything that pops into his pots and pans, only those that are either long refinements and extensions of that which is traditional in one culture or another, or those equally refined over time that are rather different from the traditions.

Some of this stuff TSC simply knows by experience and living, knowledge, science, etc. - and is not particularly concerned with academic references. If you don't believe it, go look it up. I haven't the time left in my life to bring you up to speed.

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            © August 2006 by Bill Hammel (
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