Julia writes that above all, we should have a good time. I take this as a directive; I am being commanded to enjoy the cooking process. I sit in the mornings and evenings and begin to pore over the book. I diligently read the section on ingredients and start to wonder what I’ve gotten myself into. Bacon– well, not much of a choice there. I’m sure I can add a lot of liquid smoke to add to the flavor. I consider it a blessing that the unsalted, un-smoked version is too difficult to find in America so Julia says that we don’t need to use it unless it’s asked for specifically. Other sections, like the intricacies over the fat content of crème fraiche, I ignore. Instead I skip to the end of the alphabet and find what I’ve been looking for: truffles.
My roommate and I sit at breakfast and discuss the project, wondering what the best (read: easiest to adapt) first recipe is. I vote for cassoulet, although some of the desserts look manageable. At some point it will become a discussion of taste versus texture. I’m sure I’ll be harassing the chef at Red Bamboo and other restaurants, begging them to find out how they get the texture in their fake chicken, the perfect amount of stringy versus chewy. Seitan doesn’t do that alone. Say-tan– the elusive devil in my life. The cassoulet form should be forgiving for any mishaps with seitan. Perhaps I can be a bit more negligent with the texture and focus on the flavors of the lamb and sausage. I have two days left of work to plot this out before I officially embark on the project and attempt to feed my friends, willingly or otherwise.