Thursday, April 10, 2008
I have finally learned my lesson: Sometimes the best recipes are the ones you come up with yourself.
My big mouth decided to offer to cook an authentic Puerto Rican dinner for a guy that I was desperately trying to impress. I followed the tilapia recipe to a "t"; I chopped the cilantro with care, lovingly poured the olive oil, chopped the tomatoes carefully, and pounded out the black peppercorns with vigor. My "bad taste" antennae started to perk up when the recipe didn't call for salt or lemon juice. In fact, I felt that NOTHING in the recipe would bring out the flavor of the fish. I should have followed my gut. I didn't.
When I pulled out the fish and tasted it, it was the most bland piece of meat that I have ever encountered. Thus began the frantic ritual of sprinkling every known spice in my cabinet on what had become my nemesis: the tilapia. Needless to say, it was an experience, and while he loved the food, I knew the ridiculous ordeal it took to get there.
What's a single female cook to do?
I laughed a bit when I read a recent article in the NY Times about teens making the quality of the college food a critical part of their admissions choice. At UCLA, I was glad to get a sandwich or salad. A good snack was composed of Pops cereal and I thought I was doing something healthy if I drank skim milk in my Cheerios.
Now, students can boast of a dorm-made steak dinner, white spinach lasagna, eggplant parmesan, and the authentic Wolfgang smell wafting through the cafeteria. As a foodie, I understand the importance of a satisfied palate, but if I have to choose between Yale's prestige and Bowdoin culinary options, I'm going with the prestige.
Is it just me?