If you looked at the progression of food through history you would inevitably see an upwards curve – from humble, untouched caveman beginnings, through the complexity that seems to have dominated in Ancient Rome and the showpieces of 18th Century France food has become ever more complex.
But now – the curve has, perhaps, levelled out. For while the Heston’s and Ferran’s of this world create increasingly complex, intricate dishes with multiple processes at a molecular level, the flipside is the chefs who simply source well and put things nicely on plates. This is, of course, quite a simplistic way of looking at it – when you take dishes as simple as Jose Pizarro’s look on the plate, there are more processes behind the scenes – but more and more I end up with simpler and simpler plates at home.
I get a bit over-excited as the days get longer and my food takes a summery turn, almost skipping Spring, before it settles – frequently dinner is simply a ball of mozzarella with olive oil and sea salt flakes, some Jamon de Belota, some good bread charred on the griddle and some dressed leaves. This type of cooking relies purely on the quality of ingredients – so sourcing may take a little longer but putting dinner on the table takes minutes and is, inevitably, delicious.
So – perhaps tonight take it easy and take pleasure in the simple things.