The thing with having such a delightful run of flawless dishes is that you forget about the ever-present likelihood of hitting a dud, or perhaps three. I seem to have lost my kitchen kavorka this week, but in an effort to move past these fiascos, I hope you don’t mind if I air them out, in no particular order.
January, 2007 Archive
Though it’s still and gusting the kind of evil, icy winds outside that make you grunt as they hit your face and sometimes (er like last night when I accidentally left the window open and spent most of the night under sixteen blankets cursing these landlords who were being cheap! with our heat! Ok, Einstein.) I swear, I will never get warm again, when I began to make a shopping list for yet another thick, hearty, rib-sticking meal on Sunday (Julia Child’s beef bourguignon, if you must know), I just couldn’t do it. Winter has really just begun and I began to feel like I’m caving without even trying to cope. This hibernation, it must stop.
My husband will tell you that his favorite dessert my chocolate caramel cheesecake, the orange-chocolate bundt cake, Mom’s chocolate chip sour cream coffee cake or the bourbon-pumpkin cheesecake but don’t believe him — he lies. Alex’s favorite cake looks comes from either Billy’s or Magnolia bakery, looks to him like “opened Oreos” and is called an icebox cake.
In the introduction to The Man Who Ate Everything, Jeffrey Steingarten admits that from deserts in Indian restaurants, kimchi and dill to seas urchins, chutney and falafel, his list of foods that he wouldn’t eat even if starving on a desert island was so vast, he had considered himself wholly unfit to be appointed the Vogue food critic in 1989. (His list of foods he might eat if he were starving on a desert island but only if the refrigerator were filled with nothing but chutney, sea urchins, and falafel, including Greek food, clams, yogurt and any food that is blue, as it is not a color found in nature, makes me laugh equally hard.)
Just a few days after returning from our honeymoon, Alex and I celebrated our two-year dating anniversary — which just seems now the most precious thing, celebrating ever teensy weensy moment that passes; oh, how married we’ve become — by going to DB Bistro for dinner. Though I never thought we could have a bad time anywhere, we really, really did not enjoy the meal; the waiter rushed us, I could have sworn one made a face when I opted for two appetizers and a side instead of an entrée, we were squeezed in like sardines next to possibly the most annoying female half of a couple, ever, and oh, a plate was whisked away from me before I was done. Meh! A few days later, I did something I had not done before or since, and wielded my mighty pen, drafting off a full-paged To Whom It May Concern, expressing as diplomatically as I could that I think we are the least fussy diners, ever, but were still sorely disappointed. Two days later, the manager called me, personally apologizing and inviting us back for a free champagne cocktail or some such; a few days after that, a signed letter from Mr. Boulud arrived backing up this offer. Very gracious, indeed, though I can’t say we’ve ever taken them up on this.
We eat salad almost every single night with dinner, but if I told you about all of them, you’d be bored to tears. Ninety percent of the time it is some variation of arugula, radicchio, endive or butter lettuce with a basic vinaigrette. At least in the everyday salad department, I like it simple.
It must be cold outside or something because all I have wanted as of late is the kind of grub that sticks to your ribs and sends you into a food cocoon for hours. It’s an odd sensation for a girl who hates feeling weighted down after a meal, and yet, salad has seemed an insult to freezing fingers and chapped lips, thin soups a cry for help and even my favorite dumplings have seemed too bright and springy this week. Go away, you peppy foods, I declare, and don’t come back until I can feel my toes.