Not to be confused with slow-cooker’s, promise. Apparently though, in the business of countertop appliances, slow-cooker sales have almost doubled in the United States since the start of the century. But back to slow cooking, the kind that’s great for long hot summer days, or insomniacs and early risers/night owls; the former does hold more unexpected pleasure mind. The only difficulty this may yield is location. Some of my more ambitious recipes call for a grilling over a vine-wood fire, and, as you know, you just can’t get the vine-wood fire in the middle of Manhattan. Also, preparing a whole lamb (see below) can prove unrealistic in the confines of a city kitchen.
I think of slow cooking as my own version of mindfulness, a state of being so fully and pleasurably absorbed in my pots and pans that time seems to disappear or warp. It’s disconcerting, but in the best possible way. My dad taught me a recipe for slow-cooked lamb that results in a Moroccan tangle best accompanied by a ton of lemons, couscous, parsley and mint – squeezing and scattering is literally the only work you need to put in.
Mood-drenched, slowed down kitchen vibes are a thrill. You can chat with whomever is with you, taste what you are playing around with, get creative not heavy-handed, even subversive. You can actually mix up sweet, salt, bitter and sour in dishes until they sing. I think it’s like playing chess. But I’ve never played chess. It’s anarchic really.
I have learnt that the heat in different types of chilli varies wildly and even individual peppers from the same bush can differ, so you can’t take anything for granted, not even superb constellations of grapes. Like the fruit baskets that appear in Caravaggio’s art, his second-favourite subject after red-lipped and dark-eyed young men – who are usually proffering fruit. Much like life, no rules, just taste saturation.