Sun, 19 August, 2018
It is my strongest belief that you won’t be a good cook, let alone chef, if you don’t have a hands-on approach to food, or rather: finger-on. Licking your fingers when tasting, sticking a pinkie into liquid to check its temperature; tossing a salad with your hands; scooping seeds out of tomatoes, kneading, shaping, folding – your paws are your best tool.
Needless to say, they are also the best cutlery, soups perhaps notwithstanding. Sight and smell is as important as taste, we all know, but I’d say touch matters too. Why do you think chicken wings are always such a hit?
Finger food this week then: things that you stuff into wraps for instance and eat like a sandwich. Pork gyros is gorgeous eaten with knife and fork but stuff it into pitas with some tzatziki and it’s pure joy. You can find inspiration in oriental cuisines too: bulgogi, Korean ‘fire meat’ should be wrapped in lettuce leaves with a dollop of rice and eaten with your fingers.
A bit more elaborate wrapping is needed for the Vietnamese summer rolls, but it’s worth it. And who cares if the rolls fall apart a bit? Looking to the other side of the world, cook a pot of beef chilli and fill corn tortillas with it, for the classic taco experience. The vegetarian chilli option is even easier to prepare.
I couldn’t miss burgers here which I only ever eat with my hands: you can’t grab it – it ain’t a good burger. Beef or prawn, or haloumi, the choice is yours; but if you ever decide to bake your own burger buns, you’ll never look twice again at those ubiquitous brioches.
And then we have pizza. I rest my case. I’m off to grab a couple of hand-held desserts, a chocolate chip cookie or a lemon bar.