The lead story in the Dining section in the New York Times this week reflects the current state of gloom and doom in the financial media; are we headed for recession? Are food prices rising? Will we all be reduced to pigs and blankets from the frozen section at the 99-cent store? Chef Eric Ripert helps us put a happy face on this sad state with his high-end dishes from decidedly low-brow origins, while Henry Alford cooks for a week using only products from Jack's 99-Cent Store. Our thoughts below...
We were impressed by the multi-course meal that Ripert and his crew whipped up, especially the Almond Nougat Parfait With Orange Coulis above. And we were fascinated by Alford's review of cheap-o products and his attempt to cook well with them.
We are very much in favor of cooking creatively. Anyone can buy a perfect peach and call it dessert; anyone can create incredible meals out of perfect ingredients. And yet most of us have to compromise for reasons of budget, seasonality or location at some point. What do you do with constraints?
This is a good reminder to try our Cupboard Challenges again. We do love our markets and Whole Foods and everything else, but these two pieces were great inspiration on cooking with what you've got.
It's also known as cucina povera, an inspiration of cuisine and lasting classic dishes from all over the world.
(Images: Evan Sung for The New York Times)