I know nothing about Italian cooking.
Well, let me qualify that with this: I know nothing about Italian
cooking as it occurs in Italian homes, as true Italians practice it, or
even as supposedly “authentic” restaurants interpret it. All I know
about Italian cooking I learned from the back of a risotto box. And some
books and other stuff, you know, relatively minor compared to the
instructions from supermarket Arborio rice.
When I cook risotto, I follow a fluid procedure, one loosely derived
from the broken English instructing me to not “drow [sic] the
rice.” Give onions a little color, add the rice and saute it dry, then
slowly, ever so gently add liquid and allow each grain to swell near to
bursting before pouring in more stock, always stirring, stirring
Yes, I’m using an oven mitt. Don’t ask why. Continue reading
Although Henri Cartier- Bresson died in 2004, his impact on modern
photography has been incalculable. To Bresson, photography was intuitive
and inherently creative- the “decisive moment” expressed the essential
meaning of an event or action. To Bresson, photography was “putting one’s head, one’s eye, and one’s heart on the same axis.”
As I have become more and more involved with photography, I have
realized that another still life of well-lighted fruit is all well and
good, but engaging photography should include the decisive moment. Sure,
one might look at an image of a beautifully iced carrot cake and say,
“Wow, doesn’t that look delicious!” Yet, that person has not truly
engaged with the image, they have merely paid it a passing glance. Continue reading
In her recent New York Times article
“Marijuana Fuels a New Kitchen Culture,” Kim Severson describes the
infiltration of stoner culture into restaurant kitchens, specifically
marijuana’s influence on the creation of snackable and craveable dishes.
From a logical perspective, Severson mischaracterizes correlation as
causation–yes, chefs do smoke weed, and yes, those chefs do happen to
put out munchy-esque cuisine. David Chang’s pork buns. Roy Choi’s taco
trucks. Meatballs, haute sundaes, and high end pizza joints. But
Severson attributes this sudden explosion of what the general population characterizes as “comfort food”
to contact buzz in the kitchen, when simpler and more reasoned
explanations exist: changing economic times, backlash against big money,
a glorification of “Mainstreet,” and a rebellion against nutritionism.
(Ron Siegel apparently agrees, at least according to Severson.) I’m not
writing in direct refutation of Severson’s claims, although her
one-sided, biased, and hugely predictable collection of “sources”
provides an easy target for attack. Instead, I take issue with the
article’s hidden core, the subtext that informs the piece’s angle. Continue reading
Check out this new post from The Ocular Omnivore.
Although I’m sure they exist elsewhere, thin pork chops seem
particularly popular in St. Louis. In a city so obsessed with beer,
baseball, and pig products of all kinds, one might expect to find big,
honkin’ double cut chops walking across the average grill. Most St.
Louisans that I know, however, prefer the skinny variety, less meat and
more sauce. Typically, these chops come boneless, and pose serious
bbq-ing challenges. How to get the pork well-seared while preserving
juice and tenderness continues to stump backyard chefs armed with only a
cursory knowledge of zone fires and food science. Continue reading
Back home, I’m able to cook much more frequently and with greater
creativity than at college. Whether living in an apartment, traveling,
or just hanging around with the parents, you can easily take the
initiative and put together an unusual dish that shows off your newfound
sophistication and faux worldliness.
Pickled Strawberry, Ricotta, and Candied Almond Salad