A Girl and Her Pig

I had thought as my school semester wound down that my calendar would free up a bit, but it hasn’t in the least.

I spent my first free weekend at theĀ NYC Food Book Fair, held at the newly minted Wythe Hotel in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. It was an amazing assembly of food centric folks from all corners of the kitchen. The weekend kicked off with Marion Nestle, one of the topmost respected Nutritionist and advocates of our time, and from there the quality and intensity did not stop. There were three days of panels such as artists, and media and chefs and, and, and… well- it was just a stunning accumulation of talent and vision like I’ve never seen.

To top it all off, I was invited by The Daily Meal to attend on their behalf and write about it, which I did here. I was in hog heaven, especially when Chef April Bloomfield and her ghost writer JJ Goode spoke about her book, A Girl and Her Pig (pun intended). During the discussion April put into words what I had been thinking for the previous two days- There are many approaches to food, but what separates the men from the boys- or the women from the boys- is a certain strain of passion.

The question was asked, “Why are there not more women chefs?” A few ideas were bantered around, but what April said about her own cooking chimed the most true to me.

She spoke about cooking from her stomach, meaning- not just from the taste and feeling of food in belly, but also from the visceral soul. It’s the weight of the knife in your hand as it slices and gives yield to the onion. It’s the smell and the touch of food, the beauty of mis en place, the ballet and rhythm in a kitchen, the delight of the colors and textures. It’s the magic of technique and heat and then, ultimately- truly the ultimate- to place a dish before someone, for their pleasure and enjoyment, and then to ease back pleased- pleased, because you know in your gut that the dish is good.

Most chefs in restaurants are producers. Long heavy hours, in heat and tension is not for the faint hearted or weak of spirit. But this is not what we are talking about. A chef, a true chef, is driven by passion and perfection- and there is room for only those who are capable.

I’ve been busy in the kitchen, cooking and shooting for upcoming posts. I’ll be traveling the better part of the next month, so I have been compiling dishes to share over that time.

The beauty of this time is I’ve been able to capture that rhythm again- to move and groove in my space, to cook and create with joy. It’s been a blast, and my neighbors have been reaping the bounty of my whirring, stirring ways, which is making everyone happy around here.

The salad above is a simple one- ribboned zucchini, sugar snap peas, mushrooms and toasted almonds, all tossed in a lemony vinaigrette. It’s not an award winning recipe, but it’s an accumulation of tastes and textures that are simple and sublime.

Thank you for reading me here. Thank you for coming back each week and supporting me. I am blessed to have your table to place these dishes upon, it truly nurtures and sustains me. For that I promise to continue to bring you food that is from my visceral soul, food that is good.