Well, not really in the kitchen, but in the cozy welcoming area of Jo Beth bookstore here in Cincinnati. Chris Kimball came in for a book signing and chat about his new book Milk Street The New Rules.
It’s funny, because the night he came into town, we had a travel snow warning that was quite severe. I actually started to turn back a couple of times after venturing out from my little patch of heaven here in the sticks, but I’m sure glad I stayed the course so to speak.
This was the first time I met Chris in person – over the years we’ve had memorable culinary conversations.
Chris debunked more than a few long held beliefs about food, flavor, and technique. Like do marinades really penetrate? Is it necessary to chop, say, an onion, into perfect dice? Is browning meat for stew a necessary component for rich flavor? Do you need a gallon of salted water to boil 1 pound of pasta? (No, and I’ll tell you why later).
Chris addressed these questions and many more. As I’ve said for many years, marinades don’t penetrate the meat quite the way one thinks – the salt in the marinade goes a bit deeper, but it’s always good to save some of the marinade for brushing on after the meat’s cooked. Well, Chris validated that.
As far as chopping the onion into neat little squares, think of how long it will be in that cooking pot….so a coarse chop, for the most part, is OK.
And the fond that develops when you brown meat for a stew – well, here again, Chris pointed out if you start with several pounds of good meat, you’ve already got some good umami going, so there you go. No need to brown meat for each and every stew. (No
I’ll go into more of his insights and tips after I interview him. But I wanted to share this photo. And his Milk Street The New Rules cookbook really will change the ways you think about and go about cooking good, flavorful food.