Playing with Fire and Water

Penny De Los Santos

In 2008 Linda Anctil, a private chef and caterer in Connecticut, asked herself this question: "What if I could cook whatever I wanted?" Over the past five years she has documented the answers to that question on her food blog, Playing With Fire and Water, for which she cooks, photographs, and provides recipes for gorgeous avant-garde dishes: ravioli encased in wrappers of salmon, a rainbow of parchment-thin vegetable wafers, "figs" made of cheese, "cheese" made of blueberries. Anctil's posts sometimes provide lessons in the chemistry of flavor; sometimes they are spare and lyrical. But always they are driven by a curiosity that makes even the most radical culinary techniques feel like the natural provenance of home cooking.