A look at the shelves of any food lover’s cook books reveals a host of female writers.
A look at the list of female chefs in the recent SMH Good Food Guide reveals you can keep cooking while you count those with chefs hats – because the number does not exceed one hand.
Margot Henderson is an English chef and restaurateur who recently made some rousing observations about why men are so extraordinarily dominant in restaurant kitchens.
She says it goes back to the cave – women work with nature and men dominate it. And this:
“I can’t help noticing the food women love: regional, instinctive cooking that is not being celebrated on the top 50 lists. Regional cooking needs to be celebrated. I feel we will lose the old ways – the delicious simple ways. I worry for all the young men who want to be superstars with a probe in their pocket, and have forgotten what their Grannies cooked.”
Of course there are exceptions (mostly men with Italian Grannies :)) but the difference is interesting and the imbalance lamentable.
There was a very notable exception to this when the publishers of The Great Australian Cookbook launched recently. They asked every contributor to provide a recipe for a dish they would feed their family.
Any gender difference slipped away…
This was one of my contributions (the other is the ice-cream cake Caveman Clancy is hand modeling – this recipe is in an earlier blog)
Contents of Garden Pasta
• 1 Packet of good quality pasta or 500 grams homemade
• Two tablespoons good quality extra virgin olive oil
• 1 onion
• Several cloves of garlic
• Chilli to taste
• Four or five rashers of streaky bacon
• Approx 500 grams tomatoes
• Approx 500 grams greens from the garden
• A handful of fresh herbs to taste
• Salt & pepper
• Finely grated fresh parmesan
The principle of this dish is to use what is to hand and what is in season so these ingredients are a guide only. There is also a ‘contents of fridge’ version which means having a look for any compatible leftovers or end bits.
Cook the pasta, just. While this is cooking make the sauce.
I would always start by sautéing off garlic, onion, chilli, fresh thyme and a little rosemary (and usually bacon and or salami of some sort)
When that is starting to get a bit jammy some chopped tomatoes (or tinned) and let it reduce a bit.
You can add a bit of wine and or stock at this stage and reduce further but it’s not necessary.
Stir through the chopped garden vegies – could be spinach, zucchini, rocket etc and cook for a couple of minutes.
To finish add a generous amount of roughly chopped parsley and season generously.
Pile the sauce over the drained pasta.
Serve in a big bowl or the cooking pot with the parmesan and another good drizzle of olive oil and let everyone help themselves.