Tuesday, September 25, 2007

gazpacho(-ish)

When Mom sent me home on the weekend with the fresh, home-grown produce, it included a bunch of tomatoes. Yum.

I've mentioned in an earlier post that I love to buy this really great rustic, whole wheat bread from the local grocery store. Well, because I'm single and I'm the only one eating it at my place, it often goes stale before it's all gone. Doesn't matter. I love stale bread. There are all sorts of wonderful ways to dress it up and make it edible.

If you break some stale bread into small pieces, and pour a bunch of juicy, chopped tomatoes over top, and then drizzle everything with olive oil and add a dash of salt, you have something that reminds me of the roots of the cold Spanish soup called gazpacho.

I love rustic cooking for its honesty and its practicality. In many parts of the world, grains - whether they be served plain, or in a more processed form such as bread - are precious foods. In other languages, the name of a favorite grain is often synonymous with the word for "food," and you can't consider yourself fed until you've had your daily serving of grain.

In the parts of the world where bread is the favorite way to eat grain, no part of the bread is wasted. (Unlike here in North America, where generations have grown up with the idea that bread = soft, fluffy, squishable white stuff with no soul - and your bread doesn't grow stale, it just starts to grow penicillin.)

Anyhow, I've been enjoying using up all my stale whole wheat bread as the base for a cold (which is really a misnomer, since I never refrigerate my tomatoes - really they're kind of room temperature, I guess) tomato "stew."

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