Stranded But Not Starving

One of my favorite books on food is Culinary Artistry written by Andrew Dornenburg and Karen Page.  This book breaks down what goes in to making a chef, a culinary artist.  Recipes and restaurant menus from masters such as Daniel Boulud, Jimmy Schmidt, Alice Waters, and Charlie Palmer give the reader insight into their personal cooking style.  What I particularly love about this book is the “Composing a Dish” section which contains comprehensive lists of ingredients and their best flavor matches.  Often, when I want to make something new, I refer to this book to get inspiration.  The binding is cracked and many pages are soiled or stuck together with sauce from using it so frequently!

Another interesting section is the “Desert Island Lists”.  The authors posed this scenario to chefs:

“If they were asked to choose only ten ingredients to take with them to a proverbial desert island to cook with for the rest of their lives, which of their favorites would they choose?  Which ingredients and flavors do they feel they couldn’t live without?” [1]

I have pondered my own answer many times over, and here is my personal list:

  1. Tomatoes – without a doubt my most favorite food; fresh, juicy and acidic preferably
  2. Olive oil – because tomatoes are so much better with olive oil, plus it’s good for the skin
  3. Lemons – I adore lemon juice on just about everything
  4. Potatoes – some sort of latent Irish need, I suppose
  5. Chicken – versatile because you get light and dark meat and it can be cooked a variety of ways (live chickens would be great because then I could have eggs, too!)
  6. Prosciutto – this would be the thing I would fantasize about if I didn’t have it; authentic from Parma only, please!
  7. Herbs – thyme, basil, and chives
  8. Cheese – any sort of goat milk cheese because I love the distinctive “barnyard” tang
  9. Dried Michigan cherries – one of the best things about Michigan is the Cherry Festival in Traverse City
  10. Red wine – just trying to keep it as enjoyable as possible!

There you have it.  If anyone wants to send me to that island, I guess I wouldn’t mind!  Just let me get my supplies first.

What would YOU take along to your island?


[1] Dornenburg, A. and Page, K.; Culinary Artistry. New York: John Wiley & Sons, Inc., 1996