Netflix can get a bad wrap sometimes, like the only things to watch on it are the type of things you guiltily binge watch causing you to feel depressed and lame. Obviously those things exist on there and I’ve definitely wasted time watching dumb movie after another when I could’ve been doing something more productive.
But there have been some shows that Netflix has either featured or created themselves that have totally blown me away, and Chef’s Table is one of them.
If you haven’t heard of it, or if you keep skipping over it because it’s in the Documentary section then you are seriously missing out. This show is so much more than a documentary, it’s a life changer.
Each episode breaks down the inspiration, personality, and message of a world renown chef. It delves into their background, into the countries and landscapes and families that made them. It wrestles with their moments of failure and displays their triumphs. It gets in the middle of the creative processes that result in culinary works of art. And it does all this with the most lyrical, and and sensual imagery and music.
Watching it has filled my head with ideas and my heart with yearnings, or I guess chronologically that should be the other way around. I feel a loss that I want to fill.
I used to enjoy cooking. I especially loved baking. In college there was a semester where I spent most of every Thursday preparing and baking some sort of fantastic cake or muffin for a group dessert night. I would forgo homework in the stead of finding an intriguing recipe and trying to create it. I spent a lot of time and money on things like trying to get real swiss meringue frosting right. But then dessert night ended and I moved on to some other creative endeavor and probably decided baking wasn’t helping me lose weight or something stupid so I stopped.
I started watching Chef’s Table soon after Andy and I finished watching another great doc on Netflix right now: Cooked. This one is more about the general human need to cook, and advocates a life where you make your own food instead of getting it from a restaurant or frozen meal aisle. It delves more into the fascinating science behind our ability to transform raw ingredients into something more delicious and nutritious. It also looks at the culture of food; why it’s so important to our history and heritage.
Between the two shows I’ve got so much to going through my head at night that it’s been hard to sleep, but I still haven’t cooked anything… I still haven’t made the change my heart is pounding to make.
Cooked brings up the idea that we’re being taught that cooking is intimidating, that it’s hard and we probably won’t be great at it. There are so many variations of so many different recipes and you just feel overwhelmed! I hate going to the grocery store. I hate trying to thing of something healthy and original and delicious and surprising and cozy all at once, so I just suggest we go out again, because it’s cheaper.
ugh, just typing all that out is making me feel gross inside.
Here are nice things I’ve been thinking about since watching these series:
Hosting dinner parties, maybe even dinner groups where we meet once a week or month or something where either one person or everyone prepares and serves a truly beautiful meal. They’d be thought out, possibly in cool locations or just in the backyard, but styled like a photoshoot or a scene from a movie, a night that fills you up with food and friends and beauty.
Camping more and learning to campfire cook. A lot of the chef’s in this season have cited cookouts in nature as some of their greatest sources of inspiration.
Trying to go for a week eating only unprocessed foods. Shopping at the farmers market instead of the grocer. Just walking through and buying whatever caught my eye or my nose and trying to make something out of it.
Develop, or master, a family recipe. Either make something up myself that will be a staple for my future family, something my kids and grandkids will try to learn, or master a meal I love that my mom makes; her cold fried chicken for example, or my grandmother’s turkey gravy.
Anyway, I’ll let you know if I try any of those things. And you let me know if you’re interested in joining a beautiful dinner group.