Thursday, June 11, 2009
The Cook or the Garden
Have a look in the back of your tool shed, in the corner of the garage or at the back of the house and see if there are any tools you would like to donate to the annual tool drive
Everybody thought that the spiced pumpkin soup Marcel served up at the opening of the twilight farmers' market last week was great.
Comments like "Tastes like my mother's" and "Interesting and flavoursome," and "Nearly as good as my wife's" were all testament to Marcel's cooking or were they?
The pumpkins he used for the soup came from the the Marlborough Community Gardens, located at the end of Ralph Ballinger Drive off Budge St. The garlic came from Springbrook in Riverlands and was grown over a long Marlborough spring on the fertile Wairau Plains. The olive oil came from last year's batch of local olives, and pickers are frantically harvesting the new season's variety as we speak.
Thymebank supplied the herbs that topped off the soup, and Marcel used some coconut cream and soy sauce to help develop the body of the soup. Is it the cook who makes food taste so good (yes it is, Marcel) or is it also the quality of the ingredients?
From a winemaker's point of view, all the work is done in the vineyard before the fruit reaches the winery. The winemakers are then the caretakers of the grapes, carefully extracting and building layers of flavour. Of course, some grapes need more attention than others, and this is where the winemaker's experience and knowledge come into play.
It's the same in the kitchen, where a cook takes good-quality products and nurtures them. Or do we need to work hard with different ingredients to produce tasty results?
We would love to hear your feedback. The question is: how much of a role does the cook play in producing a meal, compared with the ingredients 30 per cent, 50 per cent, or more?
While you are thinking of this, why not have a look in the back of your tool shed, in the corner of the garage or at the back of the house and see if there are any tools you would like to donate to the annual tool drive supporting the Marlborough Community Gardens. For more information, go to www.marlboroughcommunitygarden.blogspot.com. This is a way we can encourage more people to grow a diverse range of food products in the Marlborough region.