Nostalgia figures deeply into what we eat and cook no matter the cultural climate. Whether it’s the economy, environmental consciousness or the copping of vintage fashions, we’ve noticed that out-of-vogue cooking methods
have found their way back in gourmet kitchens.
It’s a long way from the sous-vide and molecular-gastronomy techniques found in many cutting edge kitchens, but for these chefs, perfecting the past is a great way to be creative.
Star chef Eric Ripert, for example, is working wonders with the toaster oven -- the same appliance long favored by college students cooking in dorm rooms. It’s rarely found in restaurant kitchens, but today, Ripert is blogging and making videos about how to prepare such upscale dishes as Mission Figs Wrapped in Bacon, Raspberry Clafouti and Goat Cheese Truffles.
And they are all made in a toaster oven. Seriously.
Other chefs are turning to such garage sale staples as pressure cookers, rice cookers, fondue pots
and slow cookers, better known as Crock Pots. But forget your Mom’s recipes. There’s no gray meat or sauce on the ceiling as chefs and cookbook writers discover what these pots can do well.
Even chefs who grew up in foreign countries are revisiting their traditions. New York chef Tadashi Ono is taking another look at hot pots and re-creating this Japanese comfort food for today’s kitchens.
And it’s not just cooking appliances and pots from yesterday that are making a comeback. Gadgets are getting a new life too.
For example, ice pop molds, those Tupperware party favorites, are being returned to the freezer. This time the pops are decked-out with ripe fresh fruits, suspended ingredients and hand-dipped coatings.
Come see how chefs are rediscovering retro favorites and using them to advantage. They may surprise you.