Mixing your vegetables
In today's excellent Owl Meat Thursday, our guest poster intuitively understands something about fine cuisine, thereby giving his post an actual news peg. (The movie Julie & Julia opens tomorrow.) When Julia Child makes boeuf bourguignon, Owlie, she cooks the vegetables separately, then puts them with the meat at the very end to retain the separate flavors. Here's the Owl Man. EL
I was watching an episode of the show Monk. Adrian Monk is a brilliant detective with severe OCD. During dinner with a friend he separated his vegetable "medley" into different piles on his plate. His friend said, "No, you're supposed to eat them together."
Monk made a lot of sense. Why eat carrots, broccoli and snow peas together? They don't complement each other. I like them separately, but they belong together like chocolate, bacon and jumbo lump crab meat belong together. Actually ... [ drifts off into a choco-bacon-crab fantasy ... ]
The random Birdseye mash-ups are part of some conspiracy, but I'm not sure which. They remind me of my mother's kitchen sink salads. I get that it may be more nutritious to eat a variety of vegetables, but why mix them together on the same plate on the same day with no regard to flavors?
That brings me to an actual vegetable hate crime – succotash. Succotash? How about yuckotash? Why would you do that to innocent corn? Hey, you know what this delicious corn needs? A bloated pale green bean that tastes like tub grout.
Some vegetable combinations have synergy and I salute them. Cucumber, onion, and tomatoes. Splendid.
Friends say they like the several vegetables from a pot roast. Duh, vegetables that taste like meat.
I know that some people, especially children, don't like their food to touch on the plate. I don't remember having that quirk, but I do recall making elaborate constructions of mashed potatoes and gravy that rivaled the Aswan Dam ... and then destroying them Godzilla-style.
Finally, an admission. I eat my food one ingredient at a time, which is why I think Adrian Monk's style is, well, stylin'. Another confession: I cut up my meat entirely before I eat one bite. That's Pennsylvania style. Deal with it.
(Photo credit: Getty Images)