In preparation for cooking a Middle Eastern feast promised to the two highest bidders at a recent charity auction, I have been trying out recipes. What should I serve? How many courses? We will have five vegetarians between the two groups, so my options are somewhat limited, although all of the veggies will eat fish.
To help me decide on the menus, I am working my way through my own store of recipes and two particular cookbooks: restaurateurs Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi’s Jerusalem, and Hadassah College Cooks, the latter published by the school’s renowned former culinary program.
One of my main concerns in all the whirl of cooking and baking is how long hubby Joel will put up with having to try new recipes on an almost daily basis. He does love to eat, and the recipes are all superb, but I fear that he will cry out at some point, “Enough! Just give me a scrambled egg!”
As I was pondering this potential roadblock yesterday afternoon, a bolt of electricity suddenly shook me. The spirit of Julie Powell had take residence in my soul — she, who famously spent a year cooking her way through Julia Child’s Mastering the Art of French Cooking.
I tried to remember how Powell’s husband reacted to being force-fed French cuisine night after night like some human goose being prepped for its fois gras. My recollection was that he was fine with the eating, but not so fine with his wife’s obsession.
So far we have gobbled up wild rice stuffed grape leaves, homemade pita, a burnt eggplant soup with mograbieh, spiced chickpea with fresh vegetable salad, Moroccan vegetable stew over couscous, and roasted butternut squash and red onions with tahini and za’atar. Joel has not uttered one word of complaint, despite the mountain of pots and pans the preparation has entailed.
As for me, just reading this over makes me crave dry toast for supper.