Thursday, September 8, 2011

Gourmet Travels in the Kitchen

Originally published July 30, 1984

Monotony needs no longer harass the gourmet. He may choose not only the foods of his own country but those of the entire world in these United States of America. In fact, he is missing a great deal if he permits himself to be limited by geographical considerations that no longer really exist. Perhaps the true gourmet  or gourmand may see in international cookery in America a sure step to permanent understanding among all nations and a way to eventual lasting peace. It is unnecessary, though, to set forth any such remote defense of the gourmet, for his is the joyous appreciation of one of the most essential phases of our existence.

The true gourmet considers a good, even a simple, dinner as a period of relaxation. It is the culminating point in the events of the day, for, in good company, one may pass in review a new play, motion picture, a new book or musical composition; he may discuss new ideas or turn with pleasure to the old - in short, all that is merry - while savoring dishes which delight the appetite. But as soon as a dinner turns to gluttony, greediness or debauchery, it loses its good name and its advantages, and falls into the hands of moralists - or doctors.

The ultimate purpose of good cooking is to contribute to the preservation of man by the means of good, healthy and agreeable nourishment. In the exercise of this virtue, cooking embraces all aspects of human life, from cradle to grave, and sustains a long list of human activities: Agriculture, which produces; Commerce, which trades; Chemistry, which analyzes; Industry, which prepares; Medicine, which studies and examines; Political economy, which furnishes resources; and general satisfaction, which is attained by a judicious combination of all of these.

Cooking for others is both the most primitive and the most sophisticated of man’s endeavors, for in satisfying the primal urge of hunger, we fulfill the ancient and universal traditions of love and hospitality.

Why not invite a few friends or relatives to an interesting dinner next week? Here are several dishes they could enjoy.

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