Charlie Bertsch (cbertsch) wrote,
Charlie Bertsch


As I've previously noted here, I like to read cookbooks for fun. If I'm eating alone, there's a very good chance that a cookbook is open on the table in front of me. My favorite reading in this regard is the context-rich sort, exemplified by the awesome Time-Life series from the late 1960s and early 1970s. Lately, however, I've been spending more time with books that focus heavily on techniques. This past month it has been one of Marcella Hazan's more recent publications and a Patricia Wells book on the food of Provence. They're both interesting to read, full of helpful advice. But they have also been pissing me off or, to be more precise, concentrating previous memories of being pissed off. You see, both Hazan and Wells are adamant about the fact that tomatoes and peppers must be skinned. That's not unusual, since the vast majority of cookbooks say the same. In their case, however, the injunction is especially forceful, as if they can't even countenance the idea of eating a dish in which the skin of these foods has been left on.

Now, I used to just feel guilty for not having the skill or time to peel the skin. I figured that one day I would suddenly take to skinning as effortlessly as I took to deglazing or braising. What I've come to realize, though, is that I may never attain that level of culinary correctness because I actually like the skin. Despite reading over and over again about how tomato and pepper skin is unpalatable, I still enjoy the texture and color that it imparts to my cooking. Also, I enjoy the seeds of tomatoes and peppers as well. The crunchiness they provide is welcome in my mouth. Mind you, I do remove the ribs from the larger peppers and cut off the ends for both peppers and tomatoes. I just see no reason to exert myself on a practice that will bring me no pleasure. If that dooms me forever to the status of Ami amateur, so be it.
Tags: food, rant
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