Category: Always use a condiment

December 29

A couple of weeks ago a friend gave me a 1968 copy of the first American edition of the Larousse Gastronomique that she found at a yard sale. It’s a mixture of fascinating information and hilariously dated pictures–the color plates are printed with ghastly separation–of the ponderous, baroque platings that were the norm before nouvelle cuisine broke free. Giant roasts, birds, or hams covered in pastry, surrounded by things stuffed with more things, arranged in concentric obedience–it looks positively medieval now, and reveals how far food culture has come since then. It’s true in music, too: the other day “Crazy Train” was on the radio, and I laughed at how the once-diabolical Ozzy now sounds like teen pop, much in the same way that the Ramones practically sound like doo-wop compared to the hardcore that followed them.

It’s not just the presentation from that time that’s anachronistic; the idea of preparing a huge hunk of animal for anything other than a big party just seems silly and wasteful. I almost never buy roasts, since it’s just so damn much meat. Last night the three of us split a beautiful ribeye. Sure, I could have eaten a bit more, but it was the right amount of meat from a health and general consumption point of view. Plate-obscuring steaks for one are an apt symbol of our national eating disorder. But something about the image of a big roast surrounded by vegetables caught in my mind, and got me thinking about a super-traditional Christmas dinner. That, and the presence of a pork shoulder in the freezer, which I had originally bought to grind into sausage. Read the Post X Marks The Spot

November 30
November 15

Here’s that pork chop–the one that so generously provided the bone with which I made the stock that embellished the chicken roulade kabobs so handsomely. I had a busy weekend (ceramics sale and then return to Rhode Island to collect all the work from the gallery) so this will have to do until I empty the camera of pictures from intervening meals. Having said that, though, it was a good one.

Read the Post Meat And Two Veg

October 24

It’s full-on fall gorgeousness here, and mid-weight meals are very much in effect. The sun is warm, and the leaves are incandescent, but the shade has a chill to it that makes one glad for a layer and come sundown it gets brisk in a hurry. The garden is transitioning nicely into fall, with lots of greens and roots to make for a nearly full spectrum of colors and textures until the first freeze culls the tenderer plants and leaves a narrower but still plentiful assortment into winter. I’m setting up the hoop houses this week, and I’ll try to write a bit about it for anybody considering season-extension technologies involving a minimum of effort and expense. Meanwhile, food.

Read the Post Use The Sauce, Luke

October 14

Meatloaf is an interesting food. On one end of the spectrum, it can be a sad slab of factory meat on bland mashed potatoes drowned in burned, salty gravy at some diner. On the far end, it can be a terrine of elegant subtlety and refinement made from quality components, especially if it’s treated more like a pâté and cooked gently in a bain-marie. There’s plenty of room between these extremes, and that latitude allows a dish like this to be an excellent showcase for the only two things that matter in cooking: ingredients and technique. You get exactly as much out of a meatloaf as you put in to it.

Read the Post See What’s On The Slab

September 16
February 4

This blog is two years old as of yesterday, so I thought I’d make something…

Read the Post2 Years

January 4
December 16
July 8