One of the most significant things we do in life is travel. Absorbing the smells, sights, sounds, noises and tastes of a foreign land during a sojourn can only be rivaled by sex. It all translates into a hand that completely guides the subconscious into slicing the onion that is our palate, revealing more layers than we thought we possessed. Show me a man that does not leave his immediate vicinity and I’ll bet his cooking is garnished with chopped curly parsley, he drinks Beaujolais nouveau in June and has quite the collection of tube socks. A joke has a head and a butt, which are you?
For every positive, there is obviously a negative, for every action, an equal and opposite reaction. The Yin and Yang if you will. That’s what life is about, balance. I have been fortunate to travel extensively in my post adolescence. That ability to travel was exactly how professional cooking got me drunk, lured me into her arms and took advantage of me—and still does. I must admit when it comes to traveling, I am a complete whore. I’m talking the nasty, addicted and living under a bridge type, not the cute Julia Roberts and Richard Gere’s Pretty Woman kind. This addiction has transformed me into a better man and cook by ten fold!
But there is a dark side to it all. What connection do I have to any particular physical place? I am very connected to my wife and Rooter and Tooter. I love and feel connected to cuisine and all that it represents as well the ideals held forth by The Southern Foodways Alliance. If I am indeed anything it is Creole. My food, demeanor, hospitality and liver all denote Creole. Just like Creole, my personality is a gumbo of many different values all put together out of a necessity to survive in the most practical and yet pleasurable way possible. It’s that whole Yin and Yang thing again.
Would I feel a sense of place or home in Barcelona, Provence or Bali? Probably. But New Orleans is a well-traveled Madame herself. I, like her, have become the sum of all my experiences. When you sit at either of our tables, your palate and your heart will savor all of our exploits. Traveling has built a piano for us to play that just happens to have a few more keys. You don’t really want to be considered a man that cooks with flat musical tendencies. After all, isn’t it our goal to “play” the piano like Richard and Julia?
Cassoulet of White Beans and Confit Gizzards
This recipe is simple, prepare the gizzards from this link: http://www.therootertothetooter.com/?p=161
Then Prepare the beans from this link: http://www.therootertothetooter.com/?p=298
Place the cooked beans in a proper cassoulet vessel and top with the gizzards. Sprinkle with some bread crumbs, I use brioche, of course. Bake until brown from the warmth of your friends and your oven at 375 degrees.
“Only after 20 years of devoted professional gluttony can I possibly have an actual opinion” ME