I finished “A Lawman’s Christmas” yesterday morning–what a feeling of satisfaction that gave me. I slept like a rock and, frankly, I’m still tired today, which is the main reason for posting my blog so late in the day.
I celebrated by making a batch of my infamous Boeuf B, as I call Lady Julia’s recipe, and it is delicious, if I do say so myself. When I make BB, I’m serious about it. I went to the butcher’s for the stew meat, instead of buying it at the supermarket; as in the movie, one must dry the meat before browning, and do only a few pieces at a time. To say this dish is work-intensive is an understatement. It’s like a dance, or even a meditation. No wonder cooking is regarded as an art–it can be. And I always have to adapt–even when the author of the recipe is a world famous chef like Mrs. Child. For instance, I use twice as much meat as Julie and Julia suggest, and a whole bottle of chianti instead of a mere 3 cups. I also use more carrots, more onion, more garlic, and more beef stock. The only thing I don’t change, really, is the tomato paste–more than the suggested 1 tablespoon is definitely too much. Go figure.
It seems to me that so many things in life are like this–a matter of learning the basics, experimenting, and adapting accordingly. Writing is like that, and so is art. Some experiments succeed, in my experience, and others fail. Others are simply mediocre. The catch is, there’s no other way to winnow out what works and what doesn’t except jumping in and giving it a try. And then another try. And then another.
Good Boeuf Bourguignon is like a good book, a good painting, a good garden. It is generally the result of many previous BB’s.
That’s the news, my friends. I’ll see you tomorrow.