A few times a year, I fall in love with tarts all over again, and not only because Alex thinks that “fluted removable bottom tart pan” is the best name given to any kitchen tool, ever, but because there are few things not made tastier when rendered wide and shallow, in a flower-like shell. In the winter, I gush over slices of warm quiche, on a plate billowing with lightly-dressed greens, or a deep, rich, hard-to-forget ganache tartlet but in the summer, its fresh fruit or bust.
June, 2007 Archive
Some people are chef-chasers, meal-collectors. Being at the right restaurant exactly when it’s the newest thing so they can say they ate there first, or knew so-and-so would be the next Top Chef long before anyone else is where it’s at. Some want to be the first in line for Chef’s take on ramps, rhubarb, some adored garlic chive tangle and five different soft-shell crab specials each spring. Some people rank bathrooms (no really, they do) at the city’s best eateries. The thing is, I don’t know these people, and secretly, I’m kind of relieved.
I know that you and everyone else must think that I’m crazy–it’s okay, I’m used to it–but I actually regret not making my own wedding cake. My cake standards are staggeringly high, and it’s nearly impossible for most bakeries–especially those servicing locations with 225-person weddings–to make cakes as good as homemade. They’ve got to start earlier than you or I would, and worse, they need to make sure that the costs are streamlined enough that someone can make profit along every step in the process, and hoo boy, do they, and in too many cases, they use shortening in frosting, when they ought to be using butter–hiss! And this is why I confess that when I had that first bite of cake gleefully shoved in my mouth, by a sweet husband, too concerned about messing up my makeup or dress to actually do the face-smoosh, my first thought was “aw” but my second thought? Well, the cake was really dry, and pretty flat-tasting.
Last month, en route to a cousin’s baby shower in Connecticut, my mother, sister and I realized that we needed a new envelope for the card we’d brought and swung into a strip shopping mall which housed a crafts store. I ran in to buy one, and found myself smack dab in front of something so mind-blowingly awesome, it took me nearly a minute to remember to breathe: as if I couldn’t love her any more, Martha Stewart apparently has a line of crafts products, and people, if there are two things I’m powerless in the face of, it’s a rack that contains not one, not two, but eleven different types of crafts glue and their doyenne. That I walked out of the store that day with not a single MSC product is nothing but a testament to my refuse-to-overstuff-my-tiny-apartment willpower, but it’s been three weeks now, and still, almost every other worth that breathlessly escapes my lips sounds like MonkeyPartyinaBox! or PaperBagPuppetKit! I am nothing if not a sensible, level-headed individual.
I’ve always thought one of the best lines in Pulp Fiction is wedged almost unnoticeably early on. Fabienne tells Butch that she wants a pot belly because she thinks they’re sexy on women (though, kind of hilarious, she thinks they make men look oafish). Butch disagrees, tells her she should be happy she doesn’t have one because guys don’t find it attractive. She snips back that she doesn’t give a damn what men like, before musing somewhat sadly that “It’s unfortunate what we find pleasing to the touch and pleasing to the eye is seldom the same.”