Tag Archives: Sauce
My ability to cook with a recipe has degenerated. I shy away from unfamiliar techniques and ingredients and avoid my cookbook collection with anxious distrust. As an immediate consequence of this aversion, I constantly cook within my comfort zone. Although my refusal to play by the book also forecloses opportunities for personal growth, I now conceptualize and execute imagined dishes with ease. And, in fact, my first stirrings of imagination emerged from my distaste for written instructions. When leaving unwieldy schematics behind, the mind glimpses a world previously hidden: the potential to create whatever the tongue desires. This potentiality appears as a seething mass of unintelligible stocks and sauces and viands, all whirling in an infinitely deep pool of possibility. Last Thursday, I wanted pasta with crab, a tingling tomato sauce, insalata caprese. So I made it.
This summer, I took a class on “Reading and Writing Food” at Columbia. Over the next few weeks, I will post a sampling of essays composed for that class.
The package came wrapped in enough duct tape to keep a stool pigeon quiet for days. After a breakfast of ribs and slaw, I walked it from Madison Square Park to Chelsea Market. 17th Street feels forlorn before the Sunday brunch crowd descends; I staggered, bleary-eyed and bellyful, watching the corners for hoppers and their crews trying to lift my sauce. Jake was my connection: his name scrawled in blue pen on cardstock, no further instructions. Dodging doughnuts, rent-a-cops, and their unhappy glances, I limped past the Market’s perfunctory security with well-earned confidence. I made my bones in North St. Louis, where hipsters need more than finger mustache tattoos and a Bed-Stuy walk-up. If you want that artisanal, hand-dipped milkshake at Crown Candy Kitchen (and, if you’re a hipster, you do), you’ll have to stare down the crackheads trying to boost your car and your stash. Dear Jake: I meant business. And I brought some serious heat with me, too. Continue reading