A Literary Feast

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Posted on July 20th, 2012

Sure, you can source your ingredients, prep everything, follow your own recipe or someone else’s, recognize when it’s all just so and serve it up to friends and family, but can you eat it? Probably, if you’re an amateur like me. That end product, the meal, is what it’s all about, right? But there is a point where that’s no longer true. For some it happens in a suburban home on Thanksgiving with a 26-pound turkey, a red wine spattered apron and a legion of in-laws close at hand. For others, the transformation occurs in a commercial kitchen on the bad side of someone’s threshold for cursing, bumping elbows and burning oneself in a haze of smoke and other people’s B.O. I’ve known cooks…

In Praise of Garnish

Posted on July 20th, 2012

Eat More Kale, cry bumper stickers nationwide. Well, perhaps not nationwide. I can think of pockets of the continent’s interior where kale is all but excluded from the hot food bars that dribble and seethe with whatever chemical agent turns macaroni orange. The kale lobby in these regions is weak at best. Still, the vegetable appears from time to time as a leathery green, reasonably oil-resistant pad on which such delicacies as cocktail shrimp and dip bowls are arranged to draw out fleeting Ooos and Ahhs before they are mercilessly devoured. Which leaves our friend kale lonely at best, smeared with a few bits of this and that. And you probably wish you hadn’t eaten quite so much of This and That, don’t you,…

Farm Share Survival Tips

Posted on July 20th, 2012

So you love your CSA, but let’s get real: things get a little crazy midsummer. Your farmer starts piling on the patty pan squashes and daikon radishes like you’re a large exotic herbivore. The guilt you feel as you watch brown goo ooze from the vegetable drawer you’re afraid to open soon yields to anger and recrimination. Do the farmers actually eat five pounds of purple top turnips in a week? You saw those assholes getting Chinese take out last night! Do the adorable Carhartt-clad apprentices breakfast on loaf after loaf of zucchini bread accompanied by zucchini pancakes with a side of zucchini chutney? Maybe one of them is still in the “Are you just going to THROW THAT AWAY?” phase, but you know…


Posted on July 20th, 2012

I love melon. Watermelon, honeydew, casaba, horned, canary–I love them. I love their sticky, juicy goodness when it drips down my arms and off my elbows during a hot summer twilight. I enjoy a myriad of different ice cream toppings depending on my mood, but I find ripe juicy melon the hands-down-best complement to good vanilla ice cream. I believe that melon and prosciutto is a simple stroke of genius on the palette. I love melon flavored things from bubble gum to bubble tea. And while I generally avoid both sweet booze and sour mix, I have even enjoyed several Midori Sours in my time. Watermelon beer is my favorite beer of all time. Have I made it clear that I LOVE melon? But,…

Are Ya Achin’?

Posted on July 20th, 2012

I became a vegetarian by accident. This wasn’t hard, at the age of twelve, in a family that didn’t eat meat at home. I realized one day that I hadn’t eaten any meat in weeks and decided to see how long I could keep it up. More than ten years, it turns out. I reacquainted myself with carnivory in a far more intentional manner than I left it. “Be so careful at first,” everyone told me; “your stomach won’t be used to meat and it might make you sick.” I tried bites of fish, then some chicken soup, taking only small portions or tastes off other’s plates. I listened anxiously to my GI tract, alert for signs of distress, ready to pursue my stomach…

Forbidden Fruit: But Can You Eat It?

Posted on July 20th, 2012

Nothing is as tempting as that which is not allowed. Legalize weed, the line of thought goes, and half of the college stoners will go back to sniffing glue. Shake hands with Castro – he’s not going anywhere for another 50 years, anyway – and an army of Cuban cigar aficionados will be smoking Swisher Sweets once they realize they can’t tell the difference. Absinthe was wildly popular with every pretentious mustache-twirler in America, until the authorities legalized it and bartenders started slinging absinthe cocktails in every self-proclaimed “speakeasy,” at which point everyone realized it tasted like a mix of homemade Jagermeister and ass. (I suspect the outlawing of absinthe was actually just a marketing ploy dreamt up by absinthe distributors.) People are often…

Thai Me Up, Thai Me Down

Posted on July 19th, 2012

1. hot august it’s all arm, cherries pits spitting humid, spitting whole afternoons you say larb and I say yes and the sheets will barely be remembered– who lets a college kid house-sit anyway? It’s all pits, hot mouths lost phone numbers. 2. cold mid-winter prospect heights he says hey I say hello, the warm startle of breath on breath, and later butter, but squid curry first our faces vague with heat in an anywhere restaurant, until the hallway bathroom, shared and I say oh so this is Brooklyn.