Americans love to eat, So do I, but what is it what makes their food so tasty ?
First I need to clarify that I don’t like to use the word American, for me there is not such a thing than a American, other than the native Americans.
All the people I met on my week in the US, are people with European, South American, or Australian background and family history. The Taxi driver was Pakistani, the bartender Swiss, the barmaid Irish, etc, etc.
So when I speak about American food, I mean the food of this world, adopted and adjusted to the taste and lifestyle of this modern times in metropolitan areas like New York.
In general I would divide the US food into 2 categories, finger food, and food you actually need to have cutlery to eat it.
While I believe preparing finger food like chicken wings has not much to do with cooking, (its rather like assembling food with simple instructions), it takes a bit more effort and skill to prepare meals you need to have cutlery to consume it.
Of course, cooking a steak one might say is not much of a skill, but to get it right to the point, outside grey and firm, inside pink but not bloody, that’s the way I like it takes a bit of timing.
I do like finger food, don’t get me wrong, its comfort food for me which is quickly prepared and easy to eat, and it doesn’t need to be unhealthy. But i prefer to cook myself food, and taste food which takes a bit more effort than to place a piece of meat between two pieces of bread and serve it that way.
This creme brulee here on the right, to get that dish to perfection, you need to have the exact amount of ingredients, mix it gently, let the flavors work, the best is overnight, let it set, so the texture is as it should be. The sugar on top should be a firm shield between the dinner and the cream. Caramelized but not burned, God i get graving writing this lines.
So what is eat what makes the food so tasty ? To answer this question I raised in the beginning one have to look behind the food, behind it is a chef.
Everyone has a different preference, but a chef is a artist which manages to meet and hit the taste buds of many people. He creates the dish and with adding a sauce here, a pinch of spice there,
he influences our perception of the food served.
In my last trip to the US, I met the man sending me a recipe of his family. I tried to recreate it here in Europe without ever tasting the original. The result was not bad, but not the same. Watching him preparing the dish, trying the ingredients while in process is priceless to understand a complex dish and recreating it at home with the ingredients which might be slightly different you have at hand.
In my next visits to restaurants I will focus also on the people behind the dishes, learn their techniques, motivation and secrets for taste. I look forward to that.