As wine connoisseurship evolves, I look toward developing ways to express the aspects of wine I love the most. I recognize that wine is a product of nature and science; my goal is as natural as can be: to help make the connection between joy of taste and the bountiful pleasures of life.”

Thursday, December 4, 2008

the feeling of "it"

In the world of food fanatics, hospitality doers, foodies, chefs and restaurateurs that pay attention, there is an undeniable and inescapable thread that connects nearly all conversation when it comes to doing “it”,… “ the right way”. The “it” part can be anything from a milkshake where you might talk about the ice-cream, the dairy industry, puss in commercial products, lactose, texture, eggyness or lack thereof, what exact ratio of ice cream to liquid makes the right final product, which vitamix is best, pulsing, remember the old school “frappe” option?.. think…then when to add the ice cream and how slowly, malt, no malt, balboa style con huevo or im too scared of the imaginary salmonella pandemic, …and really,..this goes on and on. You might not believe that these sort of minutia and micro exfoliative exercises really do go down all the time in my world. Potatoes, mushrooms, you name it ,,,you know,..…a chef pal of mine recently told me about a technique he had learned where the traditional barding and larding was replaced by a modernized world war 2 enemies version (razor sharp like a long blade of forged steel and finnikey –creased like the pants of a guard in a gulag ) where that same cut of meat or soon to be braised hunk of whatever was poked and essentially laced with knitting needled shaped dowels of frozen fat. Much like what you might do with a garlic clove while prepping a leg of lamb for the hearth, the idea of barding and larding or using caul fat is just not enough ….you’ve gotta go nuts …you’ve gotta think it through to the point where something creative is gestated, and burped out wielding half good idea and half egocentric brain flatulence , you find yourself telling yourself that this really cool idea will somehow, some way make that too often dry roast or braised hunk of whatever that much better. Right? Or not? Hmmmmmmm? Go ahead and sit and spin on that one.

So whether a milkshake or a braised stuffed veal breast, I cant help but wonder how it is that there are folks out there that never have those “ creatively charged” progressive conversations about how to do what has historically been fine just a little bit better. Don’t take this the wrong way,…im not suggesting that progress is dead or that we’ve reached the pinnacle or that we even should be tearing it down and rebuilding or not…im saying,…what about that little old bonnet wearing 89 year old Greek lady that somehow manages to make this insanely beautiful, memorable, full flavored, juicy leg of lamb without the studs of garlic or the great aunt of the local cabbage grower in Alsace that has roasted the most amazing roast every Sunday for 45 years and people rave ..and rave on …

Or what about that crappy little soda fountain at the Kansas city airport where behind the counter for 15 years straight…65 hours per week you’ll find Jerome knocking out some of the most epic milkshakes ever without a bit of worry, or contrived anything. He alike the Greek gradma and the cabbage farmer just do it. Yeah, they just “do it” the “it” is that same thing as the “it” in the prep kitchen of a foo foo chic bistro in Manhattan but how they get there is a whole different story.

So today I fond myself asking if all of it is really worth it? Look where haute cuisine got us …look at the beevises that are still rutted in the shenanigans of vertical food that tastes like cardboard…wow, really cool eh? Food that’s sooo darn pretty but tastes like doo-doo.
Maybe its innate, some peeps got it, don’t know it, and just know how to do it.? Or maybe it’s that whole attachment thing Buddhists preach about. Think too much about how the roast will cook and you block the cosmic flow of goodness that would have otherwise taken its correct culinary technique and ramped it to the surreal and legendary? Or maybe it’s just about soul. The only thing I do know for sure is that this magic isn’t something concept-able. Its not something that even if you get “it” and you recognize the difference you can replicate. It’s not something that can be trained, it’s not something that can be cybered for in its chaos and unpredictable nature lies the secret to its magnificence and insight. I say spend more time on Buford highway, in the barrios of your local urban ghetto and in the countryside dining rooms of people you hardly know, in countries you’ve never visited before. Its all about the bass…how low can you go?

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