Ah, spring. Thank you for your belated arrival. Last week was the first week where the temperature stayed in the double digits and it was definitely most welcomed. However, it seems that I have developed an allergic reaction to pollen. My eyes were itchy and watery and I kept sneezing at random, but even this bizarre development (and the rainy weather this week) has not dampened my enthusiasm for warmer weather.
Do you know who else was enjoying the warm Toronto weather last week? Mark Bittman. I am a huge Mark Bittman fan and I let out a surprising but gleeful, "What?!" when I found out through twitter that he was in town to check out some of the wonderful food programming we have in the city. (Yes, I reluctantly joined the twitter world, mostly because I needed a way to get around New York Times' monthly article limit by following their twitter feed. I don't think I'll be sharing my account with you anytime soon as I have yet to do my first tweet.) For years, a weekly highlight was to see what recipe he was going to post for his now-defunct Minimalist column. The most mind-blowing revelation to date is savoury oatmeal. Who knew that adding soy sauce and scallions to oatmeal would taste like congee? These days, I look forward to his entries on food sustainability.
When I saw his How to Cook Everything at my favourite used bookstore (the one where I can never leave without buying something), I snatched it up without a second thought. It is the first thing I reach for whenever I have a cooking related question. Skills his cookbook has taught me: how to skin the overabundance of tomatoes growing in my backyard last summer to make oven-dried tomatoes, how to shape a baguette, how to roast a juicy chicken and how to make granola.