I am a firm believer that with the right, high-quality ingredients anyone can put together a satisfying meal. Yes, there are techniques you can learn and countless complex dishes, but a meal of a few good cheeses, olives, baguette, and wine can also be fabulous. It’s worth spending a little more to know that the quality is really good. Find local stores with great products and, preferably sales people who really know and our excited about what they carry. Here is Roslindale, we have an excellent cheese shop that sells lots of interesting goodies. Here’s what we bought today: parmesan cheese sticks, salty caramels, farmhouse cheddar (sharp with an almost grainy texture), and Red Dragon cheese (cheese with coarse mustard in it).
I also recommend having good olive oil on hand. Use something mild for everyday cooking, but have a bottle of flavorful olive around to add to cooked pastas, make salad dressing or dip bread into. While we can’t all do what Barbara Kingsolver did (see Animal, Vegetable, Miracle) and eat only local food in season, the more we can buy produce grown close to home, the better it will taste. Most importantly, find foods that make you close your eyes and say “Mmmmm,” or smile because they’re so good.