Deconstruction as Instruction

Some people think deconstructed dishes are too “try-hard” or just ridiculous. I would argue that, with few exceptions that unironically result in clown-shoes-on-a-plate, deconstructing your dishes can be highly instructive. And it’s my favorite way to eat.

My favorite time to do this is by myself at lunch time. In fact I often eat deconstructed versions of meals I have eaten or plan to make, as lunch. And I always do this with new ingredients. It’s like meeting someone for the first time, talk with them, get to know them.

Take something as simple as pizza for example.

There are a myriad of fresh, canned and sun-dried tomatoes you can pair with various breads (baguette, semolina, sourdough, focaccia, etc.) which you can also pair with any one of the several variants of mozzarella cheese (Ciliegine, Ovolini, Fior di Latte, etc.). Then the herbs: what about tarragon, fennel, saffron, basil, etc? Even salt and pepper have several variants. Each individually and then crossed with others. Anchovies? Meh. But anchovy paste lightly rubbed on the bread? Or bottarga? Now it’s getting interesting.

How does this smell? How does this taste? How does this taste, while I’m smelling that other thing?

Sure, my lunch time is for fun… but also for serious exploration. I’ve grossed myself out a few times. But I also feel like it needs to happen. The mistakes I make while searching through the pieces of a puzzle that I’ve intentionally broken apart; because they’re really more like Legos. Like a lego set of the Millennium Falcon or something. I mean, yeah that’s really cool, and it seems batshit to break it apart, but what else can I make with all these pieces?

Deconstruction is a place to explore your food, be curious, or just rediscover something that’s been proven-out a long time ago. But now you discovered it for yourself. You don’t just know it, you understand it now.

Love, Jimi

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