Once again I am reminded that good food is just a few steps away, in the pages of my Deborah Madison bible, I mean cookbook. A fabulous friend introduced me to this book and my kitchen has not been the same since. Just to be clear, I am not a vegetarian, at least not at the moment; however, for the past few years my family and I have been pursuing a diet that includes less meat and highlights as many vegetables as possible. Madison’s book title is absolutely spot on. The dishes she includes can be eaten as an entree, or a side dish and are all based on the principle that real food tastes good and that real food combined in just the right way is transcendent.
Our recent Deborah Madison experience was her Chickpeas with Potatoes and Tomatoes. Know what’s in it? Mostly chickpeas, potatoes and tomatoes, along with a few other items for flavor like onion, garlic, carrots, herbs and seasonings. It is exactly the kind of dish that I love to find. The ingredients list doesn’t take up the whole page, is markedly lacking in exotics, and the procedure is 5 sentences long; the results are spectacular. Because I’ve made this dish, I have children who eat chickpeas and enjoy it. The first time I made it, my husband and I enjoyed it and my children passed, instead eating the rice and yogurt I served alongside the dish. The second time, my son joined us; my daughter stayed in the resistor’s camp (this is actually where she lives most of the time, occasionally emerging to visit the rest of us). This time (what’s that about the third time being the charm?), everyone played. It still wasn’t her favorite, but she REALLY loved the chickpeas and the rest of us loved the whole thing, this time served with quinoa. Deborah Madison knows what REAL food is all about. Essential ingredients in combinations that entice the senses and tickle the taste buds rather than drowning them. The more I set my palate free from factory food and chemical habituation, the more I am able to appreciate the simple and spectacular on my plate. My body already thanks me; and now, having been at it a while, my children do too. Life in the kitchen is grand.