I read an amusing article recently about how so many of us love the uncluttered esthetics of open-concept, minimalist home design — yet so few of us can really pull that off because we just have too much darn stuff.
I count myself among those. I readily admit I have countless cookbooks in nearly every room of my house. Though, I’m not as bad as one chef I know, whose wife told me he even has cookbooks stacked underneath the sink. I draw the line at that.
Notebooks teeter in a mountain on my desk. Knickknacks vie for space on living room shelves. My pantry groans with sous vide, pasta, and ice cream maker contraptions. And my kitchen spice cabinet does overflow. So much so, that my husband is sometimes afraid to open it, lest an avalanche of mustard seeds, star anise and za’atar come tumbling down upon him.
As much as I love the look of clean lines, my house will probably never fully achieve that calm, sparse vibe.
So I take comfort where I can, such as in “Ratatouille Tian.”
It’s zucchini, eggplant, and tomatoes, sliced into rounds of the same size, then arranged just so in neat rows in a baking pan. It’s so simple yet so striking in its appearance.
It’s an orderly dish for those times when chaos typically rules.
It’s the perfect delicious anecdote.
And it’s from the new cookbook, “In the French Kitchen with Kids” (Penguin Random House) by Mardi Michels, of which I received a review copy.
Michels is a full-time French teacher to elementary school kids. Twice a week, she gives them cooking lessons, too. She also is the creator of the blog, Eat.Live.Travel.Write.