The Frugal Gourmet. Oh the bittersweet memories of the Unitarian? Methodist? Minister and his cooking show that at once delighted, inspired, and entertained. When I was a child, I got home at 3:00pm, did exactly two hours of homework and then watched the PBS cooking show lineup of the Frugal Gourmet and Nathalie Dupree (that's another 10 things). He was kind of like the Mr. Rogers for foodies, gently introducing the audience to new cuisines and techniques and reveling in the power of food to build community. He ended every episode with his tagline, "I bid you peace." And let's not get strted on the scorching hot assistant Craig.
Sadly, it all came down when he was charged with sexually abusing the young men who worked for him. Talk about a let down. No matter what happened off-screen, on-screen the man was a hoot. I still remember trying to get through my math homework as fast as I could so I could watch the Frugal Gourmet.
10 Things I Learned From the Frugal Gourmet:
1. Frugality isn't about denial and aesecticism, it's about using the most of your resources. For example, the Frugal Gourmet would buy some expensive organic chicken but make sure to use all the meat and the bones for stock.
2. The saddest thing in the world is a single-serving frozen dinner. If you ever read his books he constantly bemoans the fact our society has become less communal and more compartmentalized.
3. How to poach a chicken Chinese style so that the meat is moist and tender. I did this once when I was visiting a friend in Boston, it was incredible.
4. Dim Sum means "little jewels that tug at the heart."
5. Cookbooks can be good bedtime reading. I loved how his "Frugal Gourmet Cooks Three Ancient Cuisines" was put together more like a paperback than a cookbook. It was as much a history lesson and anthropological survey as it was a cookbook. Many recipes were there for historical value and not expected to be made.
6. Dude. Keep it in your pants.
7. You can teach people how to cook without being a crazy spaz case, RACHAEL!
8. Meat can be used sparingly and more as a flavoring. He was constantly talking about how much resources are used to raise a cow as opposed to growing grains and vegetables. he never said no more meat, just to reexamine our relationship with meat.
9. Native Americans thanked the animals they killed for providing the hunters and their families with food. A little gruesome but the point is to have a direct relationship with your food.
10. Hot pan. Cold oil. Food won't stick.