Friday, November 26, 2010

An Important Part of Cooking

An important part of cooking is creating the smell. Try this: heat the oven to 400°F. Take some chicken giblets, and maybe the wing tips, and place them with a little oil and butter in a small iron skillet. Sprinkle them with salt, a grind of pepper, and two large pinches of thyme. Set the skillet in the oven for fifteen minutes. In the meantime, chop half an onion, a small carrot, and a stalk of celery. Add to the chicken giblets, and continue cooking for another 15 minutes or so.

Take a sniff. The smell is herby from the thyme. The onions are fragrant, and you can smell the sweetness of the carrot and the fresh whiff of the celery. The aroma hits my nose when I open the oven door.

Quickly, my chicken stock takes shape as I dump the skillet contents in a saucepan, and add some water, a bay leaf, some cloves, and allspice. As the stock bubbles, the wonderful smells continue, and my home smells lived in and loved. The joy of onions, carrots, and a chicken neck transform a cool autumn day into an abundant scent of memories.