I was laid off 2 days before my birthday in 2009, a dismal blessing. I miss health insurance and payroll, but I haven't bought bread since the pink slip because I have time to bake.
Sometimes I'm a serious job hunter, sometimes a serious slacker, but mostly, I'm an underemployed, freelance Jaqueline of many trades including writing and dogsitting. Either way, I scrapbook my finds and activities here for your benefit and amusement.
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They are shocked by the rare flesh of the lamb, although it’s the most perfect I’ve ever tasted. (“Dangerous,” says Xiao Jianming, who refuses to touch it. “Terribly unhealthy.”) The sequence of delicious desserts is an irrelevance for these visitors from a food culture without much of a sweet tooth. (The only dish they relish, curiously, is a coconut sorbet.) They are also mystified by the custom of serving tiny,personal portions of food on enormous white plates, and find the length of this meal served à la russe interminable.
B. was my first long-term boyfriend, and thus the first man I looked forward to feeding on a routine basis.
I had spent the first half of my twenties fumbling my way through a sort of boxed set of attractive but woefully unsuitable males. Our brief entanglements would be fun but underwhelming, and the food I cooked tended to function mainly as a prelude to carnality. It was a thrill to possess such a means of seduction, but it was short-lived; I always ended up doing the dishes on my own.
16 minute Thomas Keller tribute wankfest maybe worth watching or listening to in the background. If you don’t want to watch, most salient part is Keller won’t hire you if your golf game isn’t good, and he makes his hires caddy for him. That changed my view of him, for sure.
Colman Andrews Ferran: The Inside Story of El Bulli and the Man Who Reinvented Food Gotham Books, October 2010. 301 pp.
Ferran Adrià, Albert Adrià, and Juli Soler A Day at elBulli: An insight into the ideas, methods and creativity of Ferran Adrià Phaidon Press, October 2008. 528 pp.
Lisa Abend The Sorcerer’s Apprentices: A Season in the Kitchen at Ferran Adrià’s elBulli Free Press, March 2011. 295 pp.
Ferran Adrià The Family Meal: Home Cooking with Ferran Adrià Phaidon Press, October 2011. 383 pp.
El Bulli, known among chefs and the people who follow them as the best restaurant in the world, performed its final dinner service last summer. Since then, the man behind the restaurant has been busy, among other things, teaching a culinary physics course at Harvard University’s School of Engineering and Applied Sciences. In what forum or form we will next experience the food of chef Ferran Adrià is a mystery. But in the meantime, we have reading material and time to sort out just how much the man has altered the international culinary landscape — and which of his innovations will be but beautiful, passing follies, a chef’s bravado that called on ephemera like air and foam to bring him the fame of the world.
Sometime around the year 2002, public consensus conferred upon Adrià the title of Greatest. For little more than the chance to chop his garlic, world-class chefs left their nests and headed to Spain to work at the globe’s most famous restaurant, the place that had pioneered what the chef called avant-garde cuisine. There, Adrià and his staff playfully mixed flavors and ingredients and served them up in unexpected forms, as in an early dish of smoked tuna with gelatin triangles made from tomato, licorice, and pistachio and garnished with figs and pine nuts. In the service of deconstruction, he has forgone carrot soup to serve carrot air with mandarin orange accents (made with the help of a siphon bottle equipped with nitrous oxide cartridges). Another dish, a concentrate of green peas that arrived in a spoon, looked and moved exactly like an egg yolk: it was dinner as trompe l’oeil. International travelers flocked to the tiny town of Roses, where they were told not only what they were eating, but how to eat it. Serving a single strand of spaghetti and parmesan, a waiter might instruct: “Try to do it complete. Put it in your mouth and suck.”
For the most part, it hasn’t affected it much. There have been a couple of situations—a trip to a bar to watch the game last Sunday, or a group outing to Steak & Shake, for example—that I’ve either had to think hard about going to, or decide to ditch altogether. I get some of the typical yank-my-crank style humor from my friends, but that’s largely died down after the first few days. My wife has actually been very happy with it due to the fact that she loves salad, soup, and avocados, and we’ve been eating a lot more of all three of those recently.
I’ve been following J. Kenji Lopez-Alt’s “The Vegan Experience” series closely, as it mirrors my own experience changing my diet. Whatever your eating persuasion, do go read his writing. It’s a really thoughtful, even-handed and honest look at nutrition, eating habits and the morale of eating regimens. Usually, I skip the reader comments, but the ones for “The Vegan Experience” have been worth reading for informational value.
Bonus: meticulously (and nerdily) tested vegan recipes that’s worth having in your arsenal, whatever your eating regimen might be.
Also in deference to David, there was no mention of margarine, even though all DeVoto wanted to do was warn penny-pinching Americans against using it. “I know it’s absurd, but it’s a word I try to avoid putting on paper at all costs — almost as if one ought to write it M_,” David pleaded.
The labored birth of food appreciation that degenerated into today’s despicable food snobbery. On editing Elizabeth David’s Italian Cooking for an American audience of the 1950s. A must read if you think you’re a food snob or a word snob.
Not the classic old axes of rich and peasant, nor the more modern bourgeois ones of fancy and plain define the food culture of our time. It takes place on a simpler axis of the hours, fast or slow. It is not hard to find excellent food in every western capital now; but to find, not five hours for the once in a lifetime meal, but two hours for a humane dinner is hard. The hidden point of Adrià’s book is that the first counsel we give to children as they start cooking is the deepest counsel. Take your time.
Adam Gopnik’s super beautifully-written review of the new Ferran Adria cookbook of restaurant family meals. There are so many awesome tidbits, like Alice Waters metaphorically shooting scorpions out of eyes for Adria saying he uses regular (processed) white sugar and white flour.
Surely, most of these recipes will not conform to my no gluten/dairy/eggs regimen, but I’d love to have this book in my cooking arsenal.