Saturday, June 25, 2011

Lunch at Tony's Mom's House

Appropos of yesterday's entry...

I somehow find myself enmeshed in a silly debate on Chowhound. Someone posted this:
"Here's what makes me doubt a cook's credibility: the statement "I NEVER add salt to anything." As if that's such a virtue. Food without ANY salt equals food without flavor. Also, a lot of people say "I never cook with salt," not realizing that they cook with a lot of processed foods (canned tomatoes, condiments, etc.) that contain plenty of salt.

I LOVE salt and use plenty of it in my cooking AND baking. People would be shocked to see how much salt is used in professional kitchens, with delicious (not salty) results!"

...and I replied with this:
"Couldn't disagree more on salt. I myself cook with none (and I use few processed ingredients), and one of the greatest cooks I've ever encountered (much much better than me) does the same. A number of village Italian home chefs cook like this.

Creativity flourishes under impediment, and a talented chef can make wonderful food without a dash of salt. It just requires extra care, time, resourcefulness, and love....and I, for one, am fervidly in favor of any excuse to ratchet up those things."

...and an argument ensued where I was informed that, sorry, but I'm wrong on this. The food I'm immensely enjoying can't be delicious. So it isn't. So I need to stop thinking it is. Because it's not. Even though I've tasted it and they haven't.

My mind reeling from the Mad Hatter-ness of it all (not to mention the supreme non-chowhoundishness), I reached way back into my archives and found an ancient account I wrote many years ago of lunch at the home of one of Astoria, Queens' best home chefs - a woman who never adds salt, and to whom neighbors clamor for dining invitations.

Coincidentally, I was transfering photos off of my iPhone yesterday and found some shots of her cooking. I've put it all together here (I've uploaded a full gallery of food porn shots here). 

Caution: NSWH (not safe while hungry)

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