Right now I'm reading "Kitchen Confidential" by Anthony Bourdain, lent to me by the wonderful Dez. It's a really great book so far, and I heartily recommend it to anyone with an appreciation for food and snark. But one chapter really tickled my fancy, where he described what sets a professional cook at a restaurant apart from your average home cook. These are a few of the things that he listed as being common to necessary in restaurant kitchens that you typically don't see in your average home:
- fresh garlic
- squeeze bottles of oil, wine, coulis, etc.
- a good chef's knife
Garlic, shallots and oh, lemons, too! Because I will zest a lemon into practically any pasta or salad. Which I just did, along with frying up some of the shallots crispy for the greek salad I had for lunch. Speaking of oil...
Olive oil and peanut oil, arranged mise en place on the back of the stove, even. For when I need a drizzle of oil while I'm cooking.
This baby has been through years of heavy-cooking and eight months of peeling and chopping hard squashes daily for a foster iguana.
Now yes, I realize the book was written ten years ago before the foodie craze and suddenly every housewife wanted to be Rachel Ray. I also realize, as my husband put it, "No one would ever call you an 'average' home cook." And I've also met the very home cooks he's referring to. My own mother, when I ask if she has garlic, thinks I'm referring to garlic powder. I've been at house parties before and offered to help with prep, and when I asked for a knife to dice an onion have been handed a steak knife.
But I thought it was pretty damn amusing reading through his checklist of things that set restaurants apart as though I were reading through my own grocery list.