Monday, March 29, 2010

Squeezing Lemons

As I was making a ceasar salad last night, rolling the uncut lemon on the counter, I considered how I came to know this technique for getting the most juice with the least effort - I was taught this by my mother. She has always been a wonderful cook/baker and I have some very nice memories of meals she prepared for my brother & me over the years. Her herring salad, pink from beets, is outstanding, as is her Waldorf salad. My brother always requested (and received) her Black Forest Cherry Cake, liberally doused with Kirschwasser, for his birthday. She swore the trick to lightness in baking was to only stir in one direction when beating batter or whipping cream. By hand, of course. This method would encourage air to come in and never leave. I was never able to master that second adage - I couldn't be that consistent, but I never fail to consider it when I have whisk in hand. Just like I always think of my friend Len Holl, a chef I worked with a lifetime ago, when I handle a knife. I know that any skills I may have in the kitchen have been honed by my 25+ years working in restaurants with fantastic chefs, but I also must credit my mother with teaching me some of what she knows about food and cooking. What have you learned from your mother?

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