My in-laws had their 35th anniversary this past week, and if you’ve been taking notes up until now (though why would you) you can imagine that this only created one requirement whichever dessert I brought to a barbeque this weekend: chocolate. Also, if it could have chocolate on top of that chocolate, it would be good too. And did we mention chocolate? Because we’re really into chocolate, and no amount of chocolate would be too much. This guy I married, who thinks that there are few higher kitchen callings than a chocolate-crusted, ganache-coated cheesecake with cubes of brownies inside? He didn’t develop this obsession in a vacuum.
Even haiku-writing food bloggers get in ruts. We fall back on our old crutches–overused commas and em-dashes. We get lazy with our descriptions, referring to too many things as “awakening,” “a revelation,” “succulent,” and/or “meltingly tender.” Cute turns twee as growing things become “veggies” and delicious is replaced with “yummy.” And find that all of our posts follow the same predictable pattern–there was a previous belief, an eye-opener, a tried-it-at-home and a happily-ever-after with a recipe on top. Fine, I’m just talking about myself, but how am I to grow without owning up to my bad habits?
Have you ever eaten, like, a lot of cabbage over a few week period? I mean, a lot a lot. More cabbage than most people eat in two years, a lot. Well, thank goodness my cabbage-patching was not for nothing as my second NPR Kitchen Window column is up today about, you guessed it, coleslaw. (The first one, in March, was about Russian Zakuski.)
Adding to my infinite list of gastronomical oddities–I consider meat a side dish, cilantro tastes like dirt to me, I don’t drink tea and the only seafood I can stand is mussels–Alex and I finally ate at Mario Batali’s heroical West Village gastropub, The Spotted Pig, two weekends ago and all I’ve been able to talk about since were the salads.
Bored of tapas? Over at NPR, I have a guided tour of Russian hors d’oeuvres, called zakuski, each as unsubtle, garlicky and brined as you should expect from my husband’s pickled-crazed people. It includes recipes for my mother-in-law’s famous eggplant caviar, Georgian kidney bean salad, salted mushrooms and the most complex, flavorful best black bread I have ever eaten. I hope you love it as much as we do.
Elsewhere: Mighty Russian Morsels