Jan 5, 2009

souffle days

i moved to manhattan immediately upon graduating university. i had worked in a few restaurants and fancy catering outfits and learned a few things about food before i arrived, so i had some small knowledge. eating in new york city was an education in itself. the food was endlessly exciting and tantalizing. soon, i had a job with an expense account at work and lots and lots of luncheons to attend and put on. at home, i cooked what i saw in all the fabulous french, italian, chinese, swedish, polish, hungarian, russian, korean, greek and japanese restaurants. i held elaborate, but casual, dinner parties. i attended some classes at a cooking school on the upper east side to further my knowledge. i made a lot of souffles. no dish was too challenging, no menu too difficult to master. i was working hard at my new found passion, and loving it.

fast forward a few years. i meet a wonderful man at work. we move to california. we marry in napa. again, great food! california fresh food, the produce! we have a few children. we move around a bit more. the souffle days start to disappear in an endless string of pasta dinners. kid food. so here sits my beautiful copper bowl, purchased specifically for whipping egg whites by hand with a giant whisk for all manner of souffles: raspberry souffles, chocolate souffles, tangerine souffles, spinach souffles, cheese souffles. so light. so beautiful. anyway. now my souffle bowl sits, or rather rolls around a bit, on our kitchen table or counter. its current job is napkin holder, paper napkin holder (100% recycled unbleached paper napkins, but STILL) i never would have used paper napkins in the old days. only cloth. but children. well you know, their messes are just as big as their hearts (HUGE).

i have made exactly one souffle in the last fourteen years. but i know that i will cook souffles again someday. in the meantime, my souffle bowl is gaining character. this dear bowl has moved with me cross country no less than four times: east coast, west coast, east coast, west coast, east coast. i don't feel bad about all this. its been endlessly interesting, and souffles are wonderful. but so are simpler things. and now my children, who love good food, can cook a little bit. sometimes a middle schooler gets cooking homework: they have had to prepare crepes with chocolate sauce for french class and recently an entire meal of crispy roast duck with all the trimmings. life is never the same. but the kids are interested in souffles now, there are murmurings. maybe they will help whip the egg whites. r is always eager to help, for he loves souffles as much as i do, maybe more.

cup and table is two months old now and this little blog is going to be mostly about food. about food when you are really passionate about food and cooking, but maybe you are in a hurry or are tired or busy. too tired or busy or hurried to put as much thought, care, research, and skill into the meal as you would like. but you still want a good result. a result that will power you and any members of your little household through their hardworking days and inspire them and please and satisfy them. but there will also be painting in this blog, since that is what i do, and travel, because that is what i love and what inspires me most of all. i have big plans for 2009 and for this little blog. it should be a good year. thanks so much for stopping by.


  1. About that souffle bowl: I love that the right dishes and tools can inspire you to cook more (or more ambitiously). I got some prep bowls for Christmas that are demanding I go to the fresh herb section at the grocery store.

    About souffle itself: Love it, but always remember this line from the silly movie Boeing Boeing (which, weirdly, just returned to Broadway this year -- who knew there were other Boeing Boeing fans?)... The German girlfriend of the protagonist spots a souffle left behind by the French girlfriend and Teutonically pronounces, "Souffle?! Souffle is for people mit out teeth!"

  2. Opinion from an expert please..... we own two unused pressure cookers? Do we ditch or dig them out of the basement??

  3. Stacey- I find pressure cookers terrifying!!!!! I say toss or run for your life... They are always exploding and making horrible marks on people's ceilings and everyone is always saying "thank goodness you were not killed!" Some people, and lots of chefs, swear by them. (cooks faster, tastes better, they say). I think you have to ask yourself "Am I the sort of person who wants to and would like to use a pressure cooker or am I the sort of person who would rather not bother with them and just cook things in the usual way?" I just googled 'pressure cooker deaths' and there was a pressure cooker explosion at a noodle workshop in cambodia that killed 9 in march....the whole building collapsed. eeek!