Photo by Roy Gumpel
For this month’s Chronogram I profiled the Crimson Sparrow, a new restaurant in Hudson co-owned by two alumni of WD-50, among other places. It’s well worth a visit if you’re in the area.
In other news, I was going to write about the smoked chickens, but the real highlight of last night was the fact that this brilliant woman gave me a haircut after dinner:
The Jewfro is no more. It’s the first time in about two years that someone else has cut my hair, and I can’t imagine a . . . → Read More: Ambrosia, Parsley
Last summer my garden was ravaged by woodchucks. I patched holes in the fence, used chicken wire and cinder blocks to fortify weak spots, and worked my way around the perimeter to made it varmint-proof. It didn’t work. Somehow, they were getting in. By midsummer, the tomatoes and winter squash and other plants were so big and dense that I couldn’t see where the fucking things were escaping when I’d spot them out my office window, jump into my shorts (What. I generally find pants to be an unnecessary encumbrance when writing during the warmer months) and sprint outside to try to see their escape route, which, logic dictated, would also be their entrance. They’re such prey, with commensurately sharp paranoia-fueled hearing and peripheral vision, that they would bolt at the sound of the front door opening. It drove me mad. We got no broccoli, kale, collards, cabbage, carrots, fennel, radicchio, endive, or parsnips last year, except for a few stunted roots since they only eat the greens. Then the hurricane took the willow tree down, and there went all the peppers and eggplants and half the tomatoes. It was ever so bucolic.
Keep reading Full Metal Redneck…
It’s been very hard to keep this a secret, so I am thrilled to finally announce that my first book will be published this summer. I’ll have lots more details in the near future, but for the time being I simply want to say how gratifying it is that years of research and hard work have paid off. I especially can’t wait to recount how one very late, very drunken night at Per Se led to garnering an introduction by the most revered chef in America. I have a galley copy for one lucky reader who leaves a comment below before midnight . . . → Read More: Big News
I was at dinner last night with an old friend and we realized that it has been ten years since I was last in paris. (Which makes it twenty years since we met, but that’s another story). I spent the first day doing my usual jetlag-defying routine, perfected when I used to come to Europe several times a year for work: lots of coffee and water, no naps, plenty of walking, and nary a thought toward what time it is back home. It’s remarkably easy, especially if one goes easy on food, which can be coma-inducing in excess. Ironic for the beginning to such a culinary odyssey, perhaps, but I didn’t face-plant and it was remarkably easy to make it past midnight and get a good night’s sleep on the local schedule.
On the way in to Paris from Roissy, the weather was mild, even warmish, and very foggy. Having slept for exactly zero minutes during the flight, I was a little groggy, with my interior state mirroring the mist outside. It feels like spring here, even if the bright green is limited to the fields since trees aren’t budding just yet. It has been a cold winter in Europe, but mercifully that has abated, and temperatures are right where they should be, which means I can swan around in nice clothes instead of a big parka.
I thought a little bit about the random coincidences and accidents of fate that led to this trip, going way back before I stumbled on some . . . → Read More: It’s Like They Have A Different Word For Everything
There’s been an ocean of indignant digital ink spilled already about Paula Deen’s disgraceful deal flogging diabetes drugs after making herself sick eating the ghastly “food” she has become very wealthy advocating for years. As I mentioned on the Twitter, it’s like having unprotected sex with lots of junkies and hookers and then scoring a fat endorsement deal for STD meds. I’m not going to spend any more time on it, since it’s boring as well as depressing. But it did get me thinking, since it happened around same time I was reading about a few other equally distasteful subjects, all the while thinking about what it is that I want for this blog in the future.
I have always hated advertisements; back in the days when we had TV I was lightning fast with the mute button. I think they look tacky and ugly on websites, too, and the more they move around or occlude what I’m looking at the quicker I leave the site. I’m clearly not anybody’s target audience: I believe that voting with our eyeballs (and wallets) is as important as voting in elections these days, and I find commercials to be ugly. So while I ponder and slowly lurch towards several possible futures as a food writer, I can offer a few examples of what I absolutely do not want this happy second career to become.
Keep reading What We Talk About When We Talk About Food…
Thanks to the votes of many of you, I won the charcutepalooza contest. To be honest, it was really only at the very end, as I was compiling my posts in the email to Cathy and Kim, that I realized how badly I wanted to win. Since I’m neck-deep in CAD hell right now, I’ll keep it short: thanks for your support, and your readership. Regular blogging should resume shortly. Happy, happy 2012 . . . → Read More: Les Jeux Sont Faits
Just a quick post to beseech you all to head over to Food52 and vote for my entry in the Charcutepalooza finals. I’m amazed and humbled to be one of the two finalists, and since the prize is a week in France learning butchery and charcuterie, it’s hard not to be anxious about the outcome.
Be sure to scroll down a bit; there’s a contest at the top of the page that’s charcuterie-themed but closed to voting. You want to vote for mine just below that, where you see the picture of my egg yolk raviolo. If you haven’t read my Thanksgiving post yet, please do so. I cooked my ass off to try to win this thing.
This year has been a great deal of fun, and has made me a better and more adventurous cook. If you had told me a year ago that I would be a finalist in an Internet food contest, I would have laughed at you. But this competition was one in which I could really be myself, without feeling any need to pander. Anybody having doubts about whether to speak their mind and be themselves in their blog should take comfort from this; I am the world’s worst panderer and tried hard to write each post as if it was just another description of a meal with nothing more at stake.
I’ve been stunned at the good wishes and support that have been pouring in over the last 24 hours. Your vote for my entry will be . . . → Read More: A Year-End Appeal
Instead of fulfilling my patriotic obligation by whipping myself into a shopping frenzy worthy of Todd Palin in the Sudafed aisle of the Anchorage Piggly Wiggly, I have instead been a near shut-in, toiling away on this infernal device making CAD drawings in advance of an upcoming show. It has been fun, in its way, since the steep learning curve offers plenty of satisfaction; increasing fluency is its own reward. The resulting drawings are even more exciting, and I can’t wait to get the hundreds of little pieces milled so I can paint them and put them together. It’s been a while since I learned to do something new at this level, and it feels good.
Keep reading It’s Not What You Look Like When You’re Doing What You’re Doing, It’s What You’re Doing When You’re Doing What You Look Like You’re Doing…
I recently unloaded a kiln, which is always exciting. I got a few commissions, which always provide a nice incentive (and justification) for spending more time in the ceramic studio, so while I was there I tried out some new ideas. Here’s some of what I’ve been up to, and I’ve added the non-bespoke work to my Etsy shop where you can totally buy it for your own self, or for someone you really want to have sex with.
Keep reading Hairy Potter And The Dishes Of Desire…
Even though it’s been raining for days, my mood is much improved. The brief flirtation of springtime warmth a couple of weeks ago was followed by a rude rebuff as unconscionable cold settled back in for far too long. But despite what felt like a giant step backwards, things kept growing. And now that the thermometer is nudging upward, there’s been a burst of verdancy all over the place. In the garden, last year’s spinach, mâche, radicchio, garlic, parsley, celery, and a few random onions are all bursting forth again, along with the first of this year’s plantings. I admire the hell out of these tough-ass vegetables, and the way they can survive exposed to a long, harsh winter and just bounce back like nothing happened as soon as the ground thaws. I show my admiration by eating them.
Keep reading Good Housekeeping…