“…melt some butter in a skillet and cook the carrots, with a little salt, until they’re not raw anymore…” That’s about as exact as things get in Jam Today, a Diary of Cooking With What You’ve Got. Author Tod Davies invites us into her world. It’s a cozy world in the mountains of Oregon, where she writes…and, as chronicled here, cooks: for friends, for her dogs, and most especially for her “Beloved Vegetarian Husband.” This she does without a hint of rancor (she is an omnivore) and without depriving herself of any of the joys of the table.
One is apt to come away thinking that cooking delicious meals is more attitude than recipe and that it extends into every crevice of one’s life and world view. I was especially taken with a section involving the purchase of one marble-sized Oregon truffle: the care and attention lavished upon its ripening; the sensitivity to its developing attributes; and finally, the three meals evolving from this one small nugget of flavor. Yes, she admits to one misstep by adding too much parsley to a pasta dish and overpowering the shaved quarter-truffle’s subtlety (I was reassured to find her judgment fallible).
Davies clearly loves everything about food and has absorbed quantities of cookbooks and recipes to arrive at the easy-going, seat-of-the-pants approach you will find in these pages. My great-grandmother was a sublime cook. Her “oh, a handful of flour and a pinch of salt” responses to those seeking to emulate her results were highly frustrating. Ms Davies is more forthcoming than that, but even if you fail to be converted to her way of doing things, I think you will enjoy her company.
The book is available on Amazon, and if you would like to sample some of her food and food writing, you can do so on her blog.