Tradition, Tradition

It’s not often (if ever) that I post a repeat of a given meal within a few posts of another incarnation of the same dish. But I’m doing it here for a good reason: because I can’t be bothered to post something new family values! Read on, and I promise to show you how I went from zero to Zero Mostel in 30 minutes flat.

So, remember those wings I wrote about a while back? I have no formal training or life-experience rich history with wings, so my arrival at wings is a new and unforegrounded event. I did pretty well with them on my first try making something like the touchstone version, and they were so well received by the all-important Constituency Of Two that I decided that they would become part of the regular rotation. The regular rotation consists largely of things that you don’t read about because they get made all the time and I know how busy you are. But I thought it was worth mentioning how wings–in conjunction with this one tray I made–got folded into the routine and became something we all agree enthusiastically on. On account of they’re good.

This version was a little heavier on the Korean flavors, using gochujang as the bulk of the sauce, along with some papaya juice and olive brine. What. It was all in the fridge. As before, the wings got tossed in a flour mixture seasoned with salt, pepper, 5-spice, and curry powder and then crisped up good and brown in some peanut oil before I poured in the sauce and tossed them to coat, then lidding them and dropping the heat to cook them through. Meantime I made a dipping sauce using blue cheese, some Newman’s ranch dressing that my trailer trash wife bought a while back, milk, cornichons, more olive brine, green olives chopped with their garlic clove stuffing, celery leaves, capers, and hot sauce.

And I roasted a kabocha squash and made a salad. And we had the wings on the same platter as last time: the blue-green speckled serving dish I made last month. And thus was a tradition born. Besides being fully incorporated into the repertoire, they’re something we talk about. I put a few aside along with one quarter of the squash for someone’s lunch the next day, and nothing but bare bones returned from school. If I make these every few weeks for a year, they’ll be part of our family history, and it will be impossible to stop making them. And that’s the point; we don’t have to make super-fancy or ambitious food that often (though it’s good to push the comfort envelope). What matters is that we make as much of our comfort or guilty pleasure food as we can at home, from scratch, using the best ingredients we can get. There’s still plenty of room for messing around with the details; the marinade and sauce are never going to be the same twice. (Especially since that dressing is a one-time aberration). But they will likely get served on the same dish from now on. And if I’m lucky that dish and the tradition of serving badass wings on it will outlive me.

2 comments to Tradition, Tradition

  • Melanie Campbell

    Hi Peter,

    This evening, I noticed that you listed BLEM among the blogs you suggest people check out. The author, David Shaw, is a good friend of mine; our sons are chums. I brought your blog to his attention last year, and he told me he enjoys it.

    – Melanie

  • I’m pretty sure the boy didn’t trade those for a bologna sandwich!

Yours Truly



I'm a painter who happens to also spend a lot of time growing, making, and writing about food. I'm particularly interested in the intersection of frugal peasant cooking techniques and haute improvisation. And I have a really great personality.

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