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Archive for July, 2009

Caturday Night Fevah

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The five minute faux foodie must remember but a few things in society: deportment; etiquette; and a few useful phrases. We will briefly offer suggestions that may help if you are one of the many who aspire to this mantle.

Deportment: At the start of each day you must train yourself to put food first in mind. All other thought must be pushed to the side for later thought. What you will wear is not important nor are any business meetings. The weather is important only in that your menu will be planned upon it in certain ways. Sex is not important. It can wait till you’ve had a foaming cup of cappuccino and some chocolate. This should take you one minute each day to push other thoughts aside. Train well. As with all things, the training will prove well worth it!

Etiquette: Foodies come in various groups. You will find those who fill their time with foams and exquisite artistry at great expense. Others like to cook for themselves. Some groups focus solely on fast food or on pizza in foodie ways. Do not shudder in pain or disdain when you meet a foodie from a group other than yours. Remember, you are all foodies no matter how it is expressed! It may take one solid minute to learn to hide the sense of alienation you have upon meeting a foodie from a different group. One minute per day. It must be done.

Useful phrases: These change each year and must be learned. ‘Sustainable’ is your primary concern this year. Other words important to bandy about: ‘local’; ‘organic’; ‘grass-fed’; ‘sel de fleur’; ‘sourcing’; ‘porky bits’; and of course ‘exquisite’ is always useful. Learn your terms. One minute per day. Non non non! It is of course ‘fleur de sel’. Forgive me, my mind wandered – something about chocolate was at the edges, eating up all other thought!

Organic? Or not: The philosophy of being a foodie is one to come to terms with or you will be unable to carry yourself with the proper rigor. Each foodie must decide for themselves whether ‘foodie’ is a natural thing to be – something quite fine and natural that organically grew from the soil of the fertile cooks and diners before us or whether the ‘foodie’ is something created as a improved human being by, of course, the improved human beings who created it as a concept and way of being. This will take one more minute each day of study and thought.

If You Must Cook: If you must cook as a five minute faux foodie, remember to keep it simple. If you can buy the best and just put an expensive knife to it then lay it out nicely on a plate, that is the best idea. The financially-challenged foodie will have to find other means that take no time. Go to grains. Lentils, green French lentils, are always a good idea. Make sure you leave the container within sight for your guests when they walk by the kitchen. One minute for menu planning, if you must cook.

Dear readers, I do hope that those who aspire to the five minute faux foodie life will take heart from these modest injunctions and will jump in the pond with all the other foodies! You are worth it, even if you only have five minutes a day and are faux! Do not give up this chance, for after all – what else is there to do?

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It has been brought to my attention that in certain circles the social attainment called being a ‘foodie’ is being discussed. This comes as no surprise to me for it is a most fascinating conundrum. I myself had left off discussing the term after one well-placed blogger wrote that the term did not need to be talked about anymore. It was not that I believed her, but rather that her decisive injunction had been picked up by the Press and reported as if it was important. Oh! I do admire the machinations of those who hire PR people!

But I am encouraged that I may speak just slightly of the Foodie. After all, in recent memory I have read a most brilliant discussion of whether a foodie can rightly be called a ‘fan’ of food on the ASFS boards by the luminaries there, and just today the estimable Rachel Laudan mentioned foodies in a post on her blog.

My area of expertise is etiquette, of course. If you have had a pea dropped down your frontspiece by men such as Le Rochefoucauld and his merry set etiquette is a requirement. I only most devotedly wish to assist the weary reader in these areas. Therefore I propose now a small and I hope delightful series of notes on how to become a five minute faux foodie. Most of you do not need more. Nor do you have the time for more what with Twittering and cellphones and trying to define and sell your brand whilst inbetween quoting the finer self-help quacks in the business today.

The hour is late. The cat waits for her food and dusk is falling. I shall have to continue tomorrow in these instructions. But do, please, have hope. We all can be five minute faux foodies and may enjoy the admiration of the masses. Instructions will follow.

Oh! Do forgive my terrible lack of comment for I do wish to say Happy Bastille Day to All!

A tout l’heure!

My devotions,

Katerina la Vermintz

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Well rounded bagel with

Cream cheese and sable

Green capers and onions (red)

No fish tale nor withered nasturtium bud

Considers this swallow their bed.

Hanatsubomi, hanayu? Yuzu you are, till eaten.

As farro! O farro!

Creeps into lasagna

(Ancient as Zeus’ old bolt)

Kakigori clouds delicately

Fall freezing

And the soft bun’d hot dogs onion-ly emote.

There was a river!

It was the Hudson

But I saw my friend’s face before it

Biting bright Bowery pickles

Always quite crunchy and

The fat strudel of poppyseed  can hardly be

Grumpy.

Let not my food love be called idolatry!

Since all edible, these bites and baubles be.

Three themes in one

My love is

I bid you

Each

A bite,

A swallow,

A ruminative

Chew.

………………………………………………………………….

There you are, Sonia, per your request – my love letter to the happy New York foods! 🙂

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You don’t need to be a rock star, neighborhood butcher. Really. We loved you just as you were before you were a celebrity.

Meow meow meow meow.

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A sable special at Murray’s bagels

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A box of wagashi, including one like the one above

Cover image of La Cucina Italiana for June, 2009

Farro lasagna

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Kakigori which froze my tongue so much that when I talked near the end of it I sounded drunk

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Hot dogs with lots of ‘Greek-style’ onions and papaya drinks

Waterfront dining above at SouthWest

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Katz’s and the ever-so-gently pickled pickles are so good

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Hungarian Pastry Shop

And last but not least, a link to the menu at Henry’s End.

How many days was I in NYC?

(Not enough!) 🙂

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I am back from New York. The City. I left there about seventeen years ago, and have only returned three times since – once for a wedding, once for a funeral, and once after a divorce. New York was my home from the time I was fourteen years old till the time I left, basically – except for a few travels here and there – but I always returned.

I left New York to be married. To have children. To grow a family. And I have done so – though not exactly in the way I supposed I would, with a husband by my side, but rather without a husband by my side. That’s another story, for another time perhaps.

I returned to New York this time with my daughter. My daughter headed herself towards the city without any urging from me. It is where her heart has led her at the age of sixteen, to study art at one of the best schools that exists for studying art – and in one of the most challenging programs.

There is pathos in this picture, for the similarities between the way my daughter entered the city to begin her life there (if only for this month of summer school) and the way I entered the city to begin my life there are just about as different as day and night. But this is not about that, this is about the food.

It’s hard to get a grasp on the picture of a person through food, really. It can be drawn, a picture, of anyone – with food. The hidden meanings of the food can be brought forth, the adjectives and verbs tossed into the picture as if with a charcoal pencil, to ink out a personality. Quite useful, very entertaining. Often false. The delicate vegetarian can hold a heart full of driven hate and the meat-gnawing potato chip chomping pagan just might turn out to be a gentle soul cautious of ever saying the least offensive thing to anyone at all who may cross his path.

So I’m not going to try to do that – to draw a picture with food. Nor am I going to draw a picture of food. Instead I’ll just tell of a walk down a street in Brooklyn Heights that has something to do with food.

My daughter and I walked down the street in Brooklyn Heights. I showed her the apartment I lived in, before there was a person called my daughter, who now walked beside me. I pointed to the building where I’d knocked on my father’s door (the address of which I’d found to my great surprise in the phone book)(and to my even greater surprise found that he lived in the same neighborhood I had landed in) for the very first time ever to introduce myself to him without warning, at the age of fourteen. There were several restaurants whose doors had remained open all these years in the neighborhood that I’d lived in (a rare thing in the city) but we passed them by.

We walked way down to the end of Henry Street, and entered a narrow-fronted brick building. After all these years, during the time I’d grown a daughter, this restaurant had remained open. This was the first restaurant I’d ever eaten in, when I was around my daughter’s age – that made food something which held a sense of artistry within it, and a depth that went beyond my perception of what food was – or what it could be.

We sat at a table, and I looked up and saw the same guy cooking as had been cooking at the line all those years ago. It did not seem real, but it was. The menu had changed somewhat, but still had the fine touches but not glaring spotlights that spell a deft touch without a vaudevillian edge.

The food was good. It always was.

But I must say that any food pales in my mind and heart in comparison with that simple walk down the street to get there, with my daughter. One fourteen year old runaway had come back to the city she’d entered with a duffle bag full of clothes and forty dollars. That’s me. And she’d brought her daughter to go to art school, and to eat at the restaurant that had first inspired her to think of food in such a way that led to becoming a professional chef – Henry’s End.

Is this about food? I’m not sure. But if you ask me about food and my trip to New York, this is what comes to my mind.

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