Friday, March 27, 2009


Your papi’s right. Bittman seems to weigh in kinda heavily on the moral side and rather fret about his oats more so than consume em. Give the guy some slack though. On any afternoon we can channel something different and Bitt's proven his joy‘d comida.

Bittman's ethic infused food rants are interesting though; proposals of transferring into law body the real cost of food. I hope he includes the ocean into the list of targets. The commercial fishing industry, especially the long liners and net draggers, make the corporate mega farms seem like the caretakers of candyland.

Should food be a moral issue?

Bittman perhaps waters down his argument occasionally with the wistful view that information leads to healthy choices. Most of us today tend to be creatures of habit; if we can get used to or sold on drinkn Tab and eating chicken mcnuggets (granted they are doused with aromatic chemical crack) we can learn to love oatmeal. Especially when you make it a little more sexy. P.S., peanut butter is only the beginning, stew in some prunes, apples, apricots, figs or bananas, toss in almonds, granola, yogurt and maple syrup… one spoonful and you’ll see Bitt’s eyes spin like matching cherries at the casino.

Speaking of gamblin and poor choices made in light of solid information, I got the bug. Shout out to Puckdom: got my money on Groovy UV beatin the hometown heros this afternoon in Bridgeport. Tonight, rounding out the sweet 16 in basketball? C'mon, glorious!

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

All Hail Bittman

Speaking of everyone's favorite food personality, I've been meaning to post this for quite some time. We talked in the NY Times cafeteria over--what else--oatmeal, into which he mixed peanut butter (an interesting idea, no?), and coffee, which he took with half-and-half, no sugar (I'm an observant little journalist). I think he had some interesting stuff to say. My dad was surprised by his apparent lack of passion for the pure joy of eating. What do you guys think?

Monday, March 16, 2009

What Grapes Are.

The gentleman taking inventory in the produce section at Nica's gave me a stern look when he saw me pick up a bag of garden variety table grapes after work today. Silently, he handed me two small green globes tinged with pink, plucked like fragile treasure from a fold of protective white paper. "Muscats," he told me as I popped them in my mouth. Biting through the somewhat toothy skin, a flowery gush of sweet, winey pulp ran over my tongue. At some point, I must have opened my eyes again, because I remember thanking him as I rushed to the checkout with my tender bunch.

The white muscat grape is to supermarket grapes what Big Mama Thornton is to Elvis; these, my friends, are what grapes are. I ate half of my bunch for dinner along with a healthy wedge of boucheron, a handfull of EOTW whole wheat triscuit impostors, and two eggs scrambled with a heavy dollop of cream and a generous sprinkling of dried tarragon and then just barely cooked. Heaven.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

The Salad Cure

Being sick all week was a drag, but being in the house for days on end meant lots of time to cook and to think about cooking. On Thursday, Thomas (of salad-making fame) made me a lovely gift of five waxy potatoes and a bunch of asparagus. On Friday afternoon between naps I found myself unable to think of much besides salade niçoise. We put together this stripped-down version with what I had on hand- potatoes, capers, spinach, asparagus, and eggs.

I learned an important lesson putting this together- not all hard boiled eggs are created equally. Heeding the advice of Bittman, I put them in water, brought it to a boil, turned off the heat, and let them sit for nine minutes. (The Joy would have had me boil them for fifteen! As if!) They turned out great- the white was firm, but the yolk still tasted rich and moist- not at all chalky. Thank you, Bittman! (And Thomas, for peeling.)

All assembled and doused in vinaigrette this really hit the spot. The potato salad was comfortingly warm and tart, just as I had been dayquil-dreamed it. Capers are such sexy, salty little beasts that I am contemplating a dish built around them. (Any suggestions?) Chewing all that green stuff had the added benefit of convincing me I was getting healthier. In retrospect I would have added minced shallot to make the potatoes sharper and a chopped red pepper to make the whole thing more photogenic, but for vegetable-drawer weeknight eating it was not at all bad.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Saucy Dreams

My parents and sister were over last night so we had a Buenarroti family sleepover. We, or mainly my mom, dusted the remaining red stripes or "red snapper" as she called them, leftover from a bowling party. Judi arrived late with her Bull dog, 'Mar-i-con', who ran all over the house, puked water on the carpet and knocked over an easel.

We made penne alla vodka shrimp, Thomas, my house mate, made a salad, and then retreated up to his room after dinner as the Buenarroties started reminiscing; bringing up ol family gripes and doing shots of leftover Vodka sauce. Back in the day, mom could be pretty militant about spring cleaning. She usually used this opportunity to get rid of some awesome stuff, especially clothes we had that she didn’t like; so i used to imagine little kids cruising the hood in my favorite iron on and corduroys, wondering if I’d ever see them again. Maybe that led to this dream....

I woke up this morning on the couch to my parents fuddeling around the kitchen and half asleep, i tried answering questions they were asking of one another. I had just emerged from a dream, where a young Paul Simon and Art Garfunkel were filming a video in my childhood home on Old Parish Road (shout out 36!) with an equally young Chevy Chase. They were goofing around the house, variously clad in sixtiesish attire that they were finding in the bottom of my parent's drawers and using our childhood toys as props.

Garfunkel just walked by just wearing white short-shorts and a single two toned sleeve from a woman's short sleeve shirt crowned with a child's birthday party hat. I was sitting on the couch wondering when they were gonna leave, pagin through a book they were releasing of photographs. Apparently Simon, Garfunkel and Chevy Chase fashioned themselves more than just singers and comedians but artists as well. The pictures had taken over the many years of their careers and they were now releasing them as a coffee table tomb. Alot of abstract landscapes that admitidlely were pretty cool. Such great color and I wondered when they had time to take all these photographs.

They also had gotten permission or a grant or something from the city to repair the plumbing in the sewer system beneath our house. I walked around down there, while doing my laundry, marveling at the improved lighting, cleaned concrete and relief iron fireman they had incorporated into a somewhat minimalist, criss-crossing pipe-design, which seemed inspired by antique train trestle bridges.

My laundry was coming out pretty good and I was psyched because I love fresh laundered clothes and my parent's old washer was really a trusty well-powered horse of American engineering. Disturbing my reverie my mom was yelling for me from upstairs. She was really pissed, someone at cut the sleeve off her favorite t shirt. Wait till she sees the pipes I thought as I climbed the stairs with my basket of fresh laundry.

Fresh in mind, I told this dream to my parents this morning, half awake, on the couch and my mother replied,"oh yeah, well I dreamed I was pregnant at 55 and all my friends were making fun of me, 'why the hell would you wanna do that?!' and then I gave birth to three potatoes fetuses, two girls and a boy, and boy was I relieved." Somehow my mother's dream only confirmed what I already suspected; my parents are unfit to parent.

Okay, primo courso = Lettuce, carrots, beat shavings, sliced baby bellas, sunflower seeds and Goddess Dressing (Sorry Bittman, family favorite).

Segundo courso = Garlic, onion, oil, humanism spread and pepper till they sizzle. Cut up numerous tomatoes, throw in and add some sauce even. Next, once it’s really cookin, throw in diced up raw shrimp and add a lot of vodka, cooking and sampling. Meanwhile you’re now boiling water and maybe even add left over beat to get the water to magenta. Dump in a couple boxes of Penne (we’re cooking for a family with appetites) and keep an eye on its progress.

Back over to the sauce begin adding layers good melting cheese. We went retro and used deli sliced Land o’lakes American. Add a tug of heavy cream and then begin throwing in cheddar or whatever else that melts and you’ve got in the fridge. Occasionally I have even added some spinach at this point but last night we were going for bland and beautiful.

At this point your pasta should be ready and the salad out, (I hear raw foods set the stomach up for good digestion and should always be consumed before cooked ones but haven’t any stats to back it up). Drain the now pink pasta and place some on each plate. Cover with vodka cream shrimp sauce each pile with a pour from the pitcher and garnish with “Red Snapper” and voila!

How come with each entry I write it feels as though the course of humanity slides further towards the brink of reverse culture. I leave you on this note.