I was pointed to a video of Isaac and Chef Mark Bittman making braised artichokes this morning, and though I was skeptical it’s kind of awesome. The two of them remind me a lot of my own cooking techniques, which is to say: simultaneously harried and distracted, loosely inspired by traditional Jewish dishes from around the world, inelegant, but generally resulting in really yummy food (if I do say so myself).
Mizrahi is a designer, not a chef, but he’s a genuinely interesting guy to watch, and his explanation of rubuh (Syrian veal pockets) is hilarious. And if you like him talking about food, it’s worth the fifteen minutes to hear him talking about what inspires him and how his design process works.
But all this got me thinking about how different people’s cooking personalities are. Jewish kitchens are notorious for being places where women come together to gossip and prepare for holidays, but to me that’s not really descriptive of my cooking life. My kitchen is less gossip and more nurture. And I end up doing holidays with family most of the time, so my kitchen is more about weekdays and making food that I can eat on a Tuesday afternoon, not on Rosh Hashanah. And since I’m a little reckless, my cooking is too, which means occasionally disasters, and lots of happy accidents. What about you? What is your kitchen like? Would Isaac Mizrahi fit right in, or would his grubby hands cramp your style?
Pronounced: meez-RAH-khee, Origin: Hebrew for Eastern, used to describe Jews of Middle Eastern descent, such as Jews from Iraq and Syria.