“The greatest meals, like the greatest musical performances, must always seem simple, no matter how complex the execution of them really is. Strive for the good rather than the fancy…cook to please your guests, not to edify or amaze them. Your dinner party is an act of love, not a lecture on gourmandise.”
The Supper of the Lamb is a cookbook (first written in 1967 and recently republished), but also a glorious literary treat. No fast food here! There is one whole chapter devoted to the peeling and chopping of an onion! When I was re-reading it, I went to write down a recipe from it (for pan frying fish), and found the recipe was already word for word in my recipe book! I had put it in 10 years ago when I read it the first time. I use the recipe all the time, but had forgotten where it came from.
His directions are simple, but with a flourish so you are motivated to follow them. He celebrates the everyday and common, but points you to eternity and the heavenly realms. Like watching Julie & Julia, you just want to go to the kitchen and cook and eat and when you do, it is a spiritual experience! You learn how to shop for knives, not to fear fat, to be smug if you cook on gas instead of electric, and with this cookbook there will be no need to run out for a can of Campbells or a block of Philadelphia. The ingredients are wholesome and basic, and likely something you already have in the house. And I love what he says about wine:
“Wine. . .the way it complements food and enhances conversation; and its sovereign power to turn evenings into occasions, to lift eating beyond nourishment to conviviality, and to bring the race, for a few hours at least, to that happy state where men are wise and women beautiful, and even one’s children begin to look promising.”
One reviewer said reading Capon’s book feels like you are sitting on a bar stool in his kitchen, listening while he cooks. How true! Bon appetit!