Excerpted from Gourmet Meals in Crappy Little Kitchens, by Jennifer Schaertl, with permissions from Health Communications, Inc. (c) 2010. The following excerpt can be found on Pages 2 to 3.
Make Gourmet Meals in your Little Kitchen:
Gourmet meals don’t need to be intimidating or overly complicated, although the word gourmet tends to strike fear in some and inspire awe in others. It can be a proper noun describing a person with discriminating tastes and a well-defined palate for fine food and drink. It can also be an adjective to describe a type of restaurant, menu, or cook. The definition I prefer, which applies to Gourmet Meals in Crappy Little Kitchens, is food perfectly prepared from the finest ingredients and artfully presented with love and care.
What I like to emphasize (especially when people tell me how they dread cooking for me because they shudder to think what I will think) is that the meaning of gourmet is subjective. How do you take an everyday dish like macaroni and cheese and heighten it to the level of gourmet? Truffles, an interesting blend of fine cheeses, and homemade pasta is one way. Or you can follow a basic macaroni and cheese recipe, and prepare it perfectly. Nicely seasoned, al dente, store-bought noodles and a well-executed cheddar cheese sauce can make a gourmet meal. Both dishes constitute a gourmet creation because they both comprise a blend of flavors and textures, artful presentations, and the freshest foods possible. You don’t need every ingredient, just like you don’t need every kitchen tool made to man to create a gourmet meal. What is essential are the best ingredients available to you, prepared with an expertise that comes with practice and respect for food preparation. A little experimentation thrown in doesn’t hurt, either! Whether you make the most complicated salmon soufflé or a delicious smoothie, all you need is practice, practice, practice! It’s way more fun to practice in a Crappy Little Kitchen where you only need the basic tools of the trade and no complicated contraptions to distract you!