Jack Stein's new book, World on a Plate, tells of how his childhood travels with his father Rick Stein shaped the way he loves to cook. Here's a taste of the book, as Food Network gets set to welcome Jack Stein back for season two of Born to Cook, starting October 16.
I quite simply see the world’s food as a vast and wondrous palette with which to paint anything and everything I want.
As a child I loved observing my parents’ passion for exploring the food markets of the world and the way that they delighted in experiencing new ingredients and exotic sauces and spices. Bit by bit the world they discovered began to come back into their restaurant kitchen and many of the classical rules went back out.
They, and we, became food travellers. Every December bags were packed, passports assembled and travel arrangements confirmed and off we set, Jules Verne like, around the world in 80 days. My parents, who for nine months of the year were so busy that they were virtual strangers to their three offspring, were for the next three months our constant companions and fellow adventurers. Our way was usually East to Australia via India, Thailand and Hong Kong, then on to the Americas and home. By which time, it has to be said, we were fairly sick of each other and eager to get back to the reassuring normality of our Cornish fishing village.
This intense food and travel experience, year after year, became part of who I am, and though the precise details of the trips escape me now the flavours and sensations have stayed with me ever since. Because of this, when I am playing around in the kitchen I find it very easy to switch between say Singapore, Mexico, Thailand or India. In fact I revel in it.
"I believe very strongly that when you travel to a new country it is through the food that you can most profoundly link your experience with the culture and the people that live there.
Cook the book:
Jack Stein's Roasted new potatoes with seaweed salt and vinegar put a twist on a favourite combination of flavours.
Try the pasta cooking method Stein learned from an Italian visitor to his Father's restaurant, in this great recipe for using up whatever green vegetables you have at hand, in this recipe for 'Green bits' pasta.
Mexico is one of the many countries Jack Stein has visited during a life packed with food travel. His take on huevos rancheros features a punchy tomato sauce that will make sure you're awake to greet your day.
Text and image from Jack Stein's World on a Plate by Jack Stein (Bloomsbury Publishing, $45).
Just about every culture has their own version of a dish like this, probably because it's a light, bright, party pleaser.
The American comfort food classic is given a new lease on life with the luxurious addition of truffles.