Sunday, January 24, 2010

Chipotle Kidney Beans

Today, I'm not going to write about the beans I made.  These are just some beans I threw in a pot to kill a bag of kidney beans that was lingering in the pantry, get rid of a half onion in the fridge, and use up these old dried chilies.  I'm going to talk about cooking in general.

I always sort of liked to cook, to put eggs together for Sunday breakfast, or make the spaghetti sauce I learned in Home Ec.   In college I'd cook for myself to make cheap meals.  I enjoyed trying new restaurants and exotic foods.  But somewhere in there, and I don't know exactly when, I discovered the feeling I call "French Full."

There are all types of "full": belt-loosening full, pain-full, greasy full, full of soup, too many cookies, Thanksgiving full, sushi full, Jerry's pizza full - they all have a distinct character.  Many bad due to over-indulgence, but some good.

"French Full" is the name I gave to the good feeling that normally ensues a good French meal.  The dishes, while perhaps familiar, have been well prepared, well cooked, and well seasoned.  Portion sizes were ample but not grotesque.  Every dish is tasty and the meal overall is balanced.  It is eaten slowly with relish and pleasure.  Having 3 courses and good friends and conversation helps accomplish this last bit.  By the end of the meal your belly is in a state of gentle satisfaction.

It is this experience that I wish to replicate.  Not that every meal needs three courses and a full belly, but that every meal should make you feel like the meal you just ate was just exactly what you wanted.

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