Michel is fluent in six languages--Dutch, English, French, German, Italian, and Spanish. If you grow up in a place where you can drive from your home to another country (or two) and back in a day, you naturally pick up some things along the way. This linguistic skills set continues to serve him well but it sometimes sends him on a cognitive word search when he needs to say "spatula," for example. He often just says to me, "I need the thing," and I know what to hand him as he carries on with whatever he's making.
It can sometimes be a bit puzzling to figure out exactly what Michel means when he gives directions for a recipe. He uses terms like "a handful," "a healthy amount," "a little," "some," etc. You see the problem. Some people like to know exactly how much "a healthy amount" is before they start cooking. I'm asking him lots of measurement questions as we go along with this new blog project, just so you know.
It's nice to know that one of Michel's favorite "food personalities" employs a similar approach. Mark Bittman, food writer for the New York Times and star of the short-lived "Minimalist" cooking show, gives his audience the same treatment. Bittman uses phrases like "more or less," and our favorite, "or not." We laugh about it because it's true. Michel finds it refreshing to know there is a skillful, knowledgeable cook in high places who feels the same way he does about it all.
If you're already acquainted with Mark Bittman, hooray! If not, check him out. He's a very entertaining guy who's working for our benefit on current food issues like GMOs and farmed fish, etc. Here's a link: TED Talks: Mark Bittman on what's wrong with what we eat