Monthly Archives: February 2013

Less Is More

Recently, a friend raved to me about the marvelous meal she enjoyed at the home of a friend’s daughter. It consisted of only two dishes: A luscious vegetable lasagna, made with béchamel sauce and layered with two remarkably delicious vegetable mixtures; and a beet and blood orange salad, that was as satisfying as it was spectacular.

I’m always ramping up my menus with extra items. It’s an insecurity that doesn’t necessarily result in a more impressive dinner, but does make entertaining more exhausting. A few special dishes, lovingly made, should be sufficient.

When in Rome….

For better flavor when you’re serving pasta, don’t just toss the pasta with the sauce and dish it out immediately. Do as the Italians do. Cook the finished pasta with some sauce for a minute or two. Then, bring extra sauce to the table for those who want it.

When Good Is Good Enough

I relished the story a friend told me this week about a professional cook she knows, who has invited her for lunch on several occasions and served her scrambled eggs. “They were wonderfully fluffy, much better than mine,” she hastened to add, but still….

The story reminded me of the Barefoot Contessa episode when the boss was coming to dinner and Ina Garten made meatballs and spaghetti. To be fair, she knew it was a favorite of his, but still….Serving something simple rather than something over-the-top seemed to be a badge of honor for Ina.

These should be lessons for us less gifted cooks, who feel obliged to do something incredibly impressive rather than simply something delicious. If it’s good enough for them, it should be good enough for us.