It’s been an incredible summer. An incredibly hot summer, but fun and busy nonetheless. I’ll be on a short break until next week and feel a little apprehensive at the the thought of going away. I’m happy to disconnect for a few days but anxious about doing it in a city where food inspiration is on every corner. Here’s how I plan on going about it – strictly tourist.
Posts from the ‘Food Breaks’ Category
With the days a blur of pollen and rain showers and my 200th post coming up, I thought it would be a good time to take a break, update my site and catch-up on my reading. ABC New recently posted a list of recent cookbooks on Latin cuisine and I can’t decide if I want to start with Nirmala’s Edible Diary by Nirmala Narine, Jose Pizarro’s Seasonal Spanish Food – a finalist for this year’s Julia Child IACP award for a first book, or Daisy Martinez’s latest – Daisy: Morning, Noon and Night (click here for her interview with A Chica Bakes). I’ll probably go with The Brazilian Kitchen by Leticia Moreinos Schwartz because it’s because it’s been leading my wish list since I tried her recipe for coconut brigadeiros last month. There have also been some interesting one ingredient articles. Now that the weather is fit for wandering, I plan on seeking out new markets and sources to include here. Apart from last week’s look at cilantro, which always elicits strong opinions, John Willoughby’s Pimentón: It’s Spanish for ‘Better Than Paprika’ had me triple checking the denominations of my paprika, and I’m still not sure what the Indian spice asafetida does but can’t wait to find out. That’s my spring break plan – cooking, reading, and shopping. I’ll be back next week, still hungry and with a lot to talk about, unless I decide to ditch it all for sunbathing, flirting with Ivy Leaguers, and bebop. Stay tuned.
I know a Kat who sees hearts. In leaves and trees, sidewalks and shadows, waffles and gelatos and a million other places, she spots them and posts them here at iseehearts. I’ve sent her a few that she’s included. Less poetic than Kat’s, they typically involve food – like the heart shaped olive over my papas a la huancaína or a piece of garlic in a jar of marinara sauce – so I was very proud when I spotted this album cover in Park Slope. Once you’re looking, they pop up everywhere. If this Valentine’s Day doesn’t bring you all the hearts and flowers you’d wished for, you’ll keep an eye out for some unexpected ones.
I’ve owed my teacher Steven Shaw a rave since I took the first food blogging course at the ICC this past year. He’ll be teaching the course again starting February 18 at the French Culinary Institute, and I absolutely recommend it to anyone interested in new media, starting their own blog or food writing. I browse listings for writing courses and workshops all the time. While they sound interesting, the fear is always that you’re going to pay for a teacher to ignore you and your fellow students to analyze you, at best a writer’s group and at worst group therapy with deadlines. Absolutely, none of these fears materialized in Steven’s class. A founder of eGullet.org and James Beard award winning writer, he was beyond generous with his time both in and out of class, so that you saw real development in everyone’s blogs from week to week (plus the speakers were great and the class drew together a perfect mix of writers, chefs, and starters). Click here for more information and here for five more reasons you should take this class!
I hadn’t planned on going to Fifth Avenue and when I did it was grudgingly. I was rushed, I was cold, it was Christmas but didn’t feel like it. I was having the mean reds. When I found myself just a few feet away from Tiffany & Co., the breakfast cure was so close it was worth a try. I wasn’t Holly Golightly, but it was Tiffany’s and it worked. Bright and precise, it really does turn the reds to rubies and the blues to sapphires for the moment you’re there. The best holiday songs are about the Christmas you’re not having so it was relief to find a place that’s just what it should be in a season of high expectations. If you find yourself with the same situation and no yellow cab to get to 57th Street, here are a few Tiffany windows to tide you over.
Shopping in Brooklyn can be a unique experience, each store its own world staffed by the designer/owner/manager who’s set up shop. Going into the final week before Christmas, I decided to do a quick tour of my favorites looking for housewares and kitchen gadgets, preferably utilitarian but with something more. After all, if they’re pouring out the same 1/2 cup of milk, why shouldn’t measuring cups come shaped like matryoshka nesting dolls or salt and pepper shakers as penguins for that matter? Here’s what I found:
I’ll be taking a few days off to update my site, do some research, catch-up. I wish I were taking a few days off to get a haircut, ride a Vespa with Gregory Peck, eat gelato, and smash a prop guitar in a barge brawl. So while I’m away, I thought I’d leave you with these images. Arrivaderci!
I was as shocked as everyone else when I read this morning that Condé Nast was closing Gourmet magazine. Well, possibly a little more shocked. Even though I read the rumors on different sites, I thought the magazine could struggle on in some form till better days. Unlike other embattled titles in the internet age, I felt a a real attachment to my Gourmet magazines. Despite the growing piles, I couldn’t bring myself to throw them out. A few weeks ago, in an Ikea-inspired organizational fit, I brought home magazine folders and finally stored them away. It was obvious the magazine had gone on a reluctant diet. Lined up on my bookshelves, you could literally see it disappear as their ad sales dwindled. A few weeks ago, I came across an old issue in a thrift store from January 1961. It was their twentieth anniversary edition and included an article about champagne, quotes from Voltaire, a recipe for peacock, and Bach themed feature on preparing chicken breast in between vintage ads. Of course, I could find most of Gourmet’s old recipes online, but only if I already know what I’m looking for, and then they’ll all look the same. I thought this quote from the publisher, taken from the inaugural issue and reprinted in 1961, prescient:
To those who would like to share a gourmet’s joie de vivre, GOURMET will speak that Esperanto of the palate that makes the whole world kin…good food, good drink, fine living…the universal language of the gourmet.
-Earle R. MacAusland, Publisher, Gourmet Magazine, 1941
I went to the Times Square simulcast of the Metropolitan Opera’s Opening Night Gala performance of Puccini’s Tosca this week. Open air events in New York are a mixed bag. They seem like a good idea but usually mean hours of discomfort and crowds fighting over patches of damp grass. The Met’s broadcasts are the exception. Before the city stopped traffic on 42nd Street, the Met was creating an island of sound in the middle of Times Square every September. Last night, Karita Mattila’s Tosca threw jealous fits, betrayed a friend to the police, and killed a man – and she was the heroine. Pure passion rarely leading to pure actions, the quiet girl secondary roles Read more
Maybe it’s because of the “what I did on my summer vacation” essays, but summer always feels like a project. You’re given 2-3 months to put together a set piece for future memories and expectations are high. Even as an adult, fall blends into winter which blends into spring, but summer stands apart. It’s hard not to spend Labor day weekend thinking about what I did or didn’t get to do. It also marks my 100th post since I started writing this blog, though some days, I’ve felt like it’s been writing me. Still, I love where it’s taken me, and I’m still hungry for more. I wanted to end the season with fresh cava sorbet, a mix of Spanish sparkling wine, strawberries and oranges. It seemed like the right palate cleanser to catch my breath, send off summer and start making plans for fall. Read more