Food for thought?
I had the great good fortune to be ordered to stop an initiative in the food services for the Royal New Zealand Air Force in 1961-62. The details of that budget saving concept are in my book ‘Flash of Silver…the leap that changed my world’ on pages *111-112 and have no further bearing here.
I was asked, at the time, what I wanted, since they couldn’t pay me to stop!
I replied that I’d like to have a research kitchen, fully staffed, that would run a whole series of tests on all the known basic methods of cooking (about seventy-three), especially those used by large commercial kitchens.
I set up a comparison test where we used the application of logic and compared Method A for roasting meats with Method B -and then the best with Method C and so on until we reached a ‘proper’ conclusion.
When once we had decided upon a given basic method I would then try this out at home for the family and then write it up in the early morning -starting at 4am, for two hours before setting out to work to finish the commercial application.
I did this until I had served out my five years as chief catering adviser to the Air Force.
It was at that date, in September 1963, that I began to photograph each method in our home kitchen with our locally famous photographer Hubert Sieben. The book was released by A.H. and A.W. Reed in New Zealand and Australia as the ‘Graham Kerr Cookbook’ -and much later as the ‘Graham Kerr Cookbook by the Galloping Gourmet’ by Doubleday for worldwide distribution.
So…what about now?
That book went on to win a gold medal at the Culinary Olympics in Frankfurt in 1968, which proved the need for a keen understanding of the basic methods…really, of any skill employed by craftsmen and women, scientists and artists.
A knowledge of basic techniques provides a firm foundation upon which personal creativity can flourish.
My fellow television chef Jacque Pepin has provided an excellent example to us all about returning time and time again -to the basics of the cuisine that he learned and has followed brilliantly for many years.
Because of the need I had to care for my wife Treena and her early stroke and heart attack…and then Type 2 diabetes; I revisited my ‘best culinary methods’ in order to see if any could be ‘tweaked’ to make them less ‘risky’ (for her) and more nourishing without losing the essential delight we had in cooking and sharing…good food with one another.
Over the years I have done my best and my books, since 1975, have laid out these experiments and their continued progress.
I have spent so many years trying to grasp both old and new basics and so want you to seek out your very own, no matter where your skills may lie. I am certain that creativity flourishes upon a firm foundation of the BASICS and who doesn’t want to have such a sense of security?
This week I read Treena’s poem Magical Morning
*Page 111-112 Paperback Book. Page 130 -130 eBook