Musings of A Good Cooker

Last night’s dinner failed to satisfy me. As a matter of fact, several of the meals I’ve prepared recently have not been up to my standards. I don’t know what is wrong. I can't put my finger on it and no one has complained. The food hasn’t been terrible – just mediocre. Mediocre, meaning ordinary or so-so, is not good enough for me. I’m a perfectionist (as I’ve written before) when it comes to food prep. I cook primarily from scratch with high quality ingredients and decent tools of the trade. I keep reading and watching and comparing and learning. I try and try again. Whether it be last night’s simple supper of Julia Child’s cabbage soup and my homemade Italian herb bread or the more complex Beef bourguignon I made for Valentine’s Day or even something as easy as scrambled eggs – I want everything to be flawless. (And, I think I’m getting worse in my old age.) Despite the fact I’ve often wanted to chuck the whole meal in the woods, we eat it anyway (I abhor wasted food). It has always been good – just not good enough.

I don’t purport to be any kind of cuisine art educated chef - not even remotely, and I have no grand aspirations of owning or even working at a restaurant. I simply like making good – albeit perfect – food for my family and friends.

In writing this, I truly realized I'd rather have one bite of something absolutely fabulous than an entire seven course meal of mediocre fare.

I think – no, I know - this is the reason my life’s goal is to eat at Thomas Keller’s Napa Valley French Laundry. It is my true Mecca, my Xanadu, my Shangri-La. Ever since I saw the hysterically crude, amazingly entertaining, spicy food loving Anthony Bourdain sample coffee and cigarette custard there, I’ve longed to eat at The French Laundry…I dream of eating there…I will eat there.

Until then, I will endeavor to create delicious, nutritious and hopefully flawless - or at least close to it - foods for those closest to me. Tonight it’s some not too shabby shared leftovers of Bifteck Sautee Marchand de Vins and Hawaiian style chicken and coconut milk curry. Yummmm.

Watch the video and see for yourself (I don’t know why the last minutes are cut off):

The French Laundry:

I bought the book!:


  1. I don't think it matters how perfectly a meal is executed, or how exellent the finished dish is...if it's not satisfying. And who knows what's really going to satisfy you from day to day??

    and on that note...a pasta salad would be really satisfying right now. Got any good recipes?

  2. A favorite summer recipe for us! I like to make my pasta salad with a tri-color rotini and any or all of the following: what ever fresh veggies I have on hand, thawed (but not cooked) green peas, sliced black olives, small pepperoni or cheese chunks, tuna if you like it, and/or blanched broccoli florets all topped with an olive oil vinaigrette, plenty of fresh ground black pepper and some parmesan cheese. Now you are making ME hungry!

  3. perfect! Now I have a dish for tomorrow nights school family picnic :) I have tuna, cheese, broccoli and peas on hand. And about a year's supply of shaped pasta.

  4. Good stuff! The peas are always my favorite.