Simple Food

Tonight I made baked potatoes with all the trimmings - salsa, yoghurt, cheese, tomato, capsicum, chicken, corn.. and while I was waiting for the girls to arrive for dinner ("I'm in the bath!""I'm doing my homework!") I broke open a small potato and ate it all by itself. Well, all by itself with lashings of butter. It was a King Edward potato dug out of my garden last week. Fresh and white and fluffy and dripping with salty butter. It was one of the best potatoes I have ever eaten and I enjoyed every greedy mouthful. Then the girls came and I had another potato with all the extras, and while it was good I was a little disappointed, because I could hardly taste the potato for everything that was piled on top of it.

Sometimes I think we do too much to our food. We have so much food, and so much variety in our food, that we can forget just how amazing a very humble potato can be. One thing about having a garden is that the very first ripe tomato is an occasion, as is the first nectarine, the first meal of baby lettuce. Little harvest celebrations all through the year. It is a way of remembering that this food, all by itself, unadorned, is a miracle and very good in itself. Very simple dishes featuring something out of the garden are a staple in every culture as gardeners and cooks have worked out the easiest and most simple way of getting fresh produce onto the table. Basil, tomato and a drizzle of olive oil? How could it be more perfect?

Sometimes at the end of a meal I bring out one piece of fruit. A lovely yellow pear, a ripe Cox's Orange Pippin stippled in white dots, and I cut it up at the table and we three sit there, wrapped up in the wonder of a crunchy apple or a juicy pear. Or maybe that's just me. Maybe the others are just eating fruit, or complaining that I ought to know by know that they don't like apples.. this week.

However, simple food can be good. Very good. I would like to do more simple food.


jj said…
I am so with you on this one! Although, my overwhelming sweet tooth means the apple is most likely to be a simple crumble ;)
Anonymous said…
Lunch today was homemade bread with homemade raspberry jam, followed by an apple from a local orchard. Perfect, and we earned it with a bike ride! Simple and very good. Your potato sounds delicious.

Linda in NZ
Jo said…
jj, nothing wrong with a simple apple crumble! As a rule I keep crumble topping all ready to go in a container in the fridge, so that every time I stew fruit, crumble is but 20 minutes away..

Linda, home made bread and jam is perfect! I could live on home made bread and jam, always accompanied by that one fabulous apple.. as a teenager I practically lived on apples and toast. I must have eaten other things, but they are what stand out in my memory.. what am I saying, I could still live on apples and toast, and frequently do!
Pam in Virginia said…
Hi, Jo!

Sometimes I think that we do too much to our food, too, but sometimes not. It just depends. I love so much to just graze in the garden; I can eat a full meal that way once it really gets growing. But I also love the mix of flavors - some subtle, some not - that one gets with different combinations of foods. Yesterday I made "Everything" soup. It had 11 different vegetables (mostly odds and ends) and some herbs and the flavors are just so subtle and delightful. I know you cook that way, too! Keeping some crumble on hand in the fridge is a brilliant idea. Thanks!

Treaders said…
The only thing I can think of that is better than basil, tomato and olive oil is basil, tomato, fresh mozzarella and olive oil. Otherwise I'm with you on everything. Anna
Jo said…
Pam, the voice of reason! You are right, I do cook like a crazy person sometimes, and sometimes I even enjoy it! I find though, that I often feel I have to produce dinner to a certain standard, which is just another cultural insanity. I want to be in a place where if the potatoes and butter are perfect, then I can serve them plain, with a smile, maybe even to guests!

Anna, yes of course! My mind was running on vegetables at the time, but yes to slices of fresh, white cheese added to that particular combination.. mmmm.

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