Sunday, July 26, 2009

Garlic Wisdom

Spent a good deal of the day assembling the Lamb-and-white-bean cassoulet from page 292 of Paula Wolfert's The Cooking of Southwest France (p. 292-4*). It's a glorious dish and requires no special skill, but it does require lot of time and tedious hand labor. It occurs to me there is a fairly obvious economic story here. To do this kind of cooking, you will need someone in the kitchen with a fairly low opportunity cost on their time--a retiree (!) or, more traditionally, a granny in an economy where there just aren't that many skilled jobs to begin with. She can multitask by managing some child care--and the precise and delicate fingers of a nine-year-old girl are probably pretty handy for, e.g., stuffing those little slices of garlic into each individual collop of lamb. Now, if somebody would tell me where in Palookaville I can find a dish of pickled walnuts...

Afterthought: I guess I did enjoy one consolation that granny perhaps did not have--an Ipod with a download of the week's Economist. Now,that is double-tasking.
*There's a newer edition. I link to my beloved and gravy-stained old favorite.

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