“In my latest for Etsy, I hand-grind curry powder for the oldest curry recipe written in the English language. A brief history of curry, stretching back to the prehistoric ere, and more! Read it here.”
“It’s hard to think of St. Patrick’s Day without glittered shamrocks, green beer, leprechauns, and of course, corned beef and cabbage. Yet, if you went to Ireland on St. Paddy’s Day, you would not find any of these things except maybe the glittered shamrocks.”
“Pablo Neruda knows a little something about love. Entire volumes of his poetry are dedicated to the subject, and I have to ask, does it get any better than this?”
“By Tove K. Danovich First I was a host, then a server, and in a flash I found myself with five years of New York City restaurant experience on my resume.”
““The possibilities that lie in the future are infinite. When I say ‘It is our duty to remain optimists,’ this includes not only the openness of the future but also that which all of us contribute to it by everything we do: we are all responsible for what the future holds in store.”
“For the longest time, the people who spent their careers studying nutrition could only guess at the extent to which people were attracted to sugar. That all changed in the late 1960s, when some lab rats in upstate New York got hold of Froot Loops, the super-sweet cereal made by Kellogg’s.”
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
“Tell me what you eat and I’ll tell you who you are.” Those were the words of Jean Anthelme Brillat-Savarin, and I believe that Herman Koch, author of The Dinner, subscribed to the sentiment while writing this short, but very intense novel about ethics, privilege, and human politics. The restaurant and the meal around which the plot revolves is not an arbitrary backdrop to the disturbing events that unfold. Instead, the dinner serves as the foreground for every significant theme in the novel: class, power, fraternity, and identity not being the least of them. We understand the narrator, and subsequently the entire narrative, through the way that he eats and cooks and how he perceives the way he is served. Two restaurants, the eponymous “Dinner” setting, and a restaurant across the street are tableaus for the tensions that run throughout.
The high-end restaurant where the narrator, his brother, and their respective wives dine is “all organic” with a head waiter who points at the tiny preparations on vast white plates with his pinky, and describes the “Greek olives from the Peloponnese, lightly doused in first-pressing, extra-virgin olive oil from Sardinia, and polished off with rosemary”; descriptions that, in all honesty are a ruse and one the narrator is aware of. Most folks can find ingredients like these in their local supermarket. The restaurant is serving simple fare wrapped in the aggrandized language of the elite. The check, when it arrives at the end of the meal is preposterous; the narrator says that he “won’t go into all the things you could do with a sum of money like that, or about how many days a normal person would have to work to earn it…the kind of sum that would make you burst out laughing.”
Even though the narrator is aware of the elitist charade of which he is a part, he seems oblivious that he has internalized it; he has a sense of entitlement, no ethical culpability to anyone but himself, and a crippling envy of his own brother’s success. Although critical of the elitism in the restaurant, his disgust at those he classifies as “other,” specifically lower socio-economic classes, never occurs to him as equally offensive. The cafe across the street he routinely calls the “cafe for regular people.” “Regular” being a derogatory term for those with no money or power. When he is served a fancifully plated ear of corn he tells us that he’s offended by the dish because “corn cobs, first and foremost, are pig feed.” Food is a means by which the narrator believes one can separate the wheat from the chaff. He even goes so far as to discern between the educated and uneducated elite, saying that those “unbothered by any actual knowledge of food” deserve to have a fist thrown “right into their inquisitive, spoiled mouths, knuckles hard against the front teeth, breaking them off close to the root” when they ask naive questions about the menu in a fine dining establishment.
The Dinner is certainly about more than food and dining and class, but the role these things play creates a palpable tension that is somehow both disturbing and illuminating.
“Have you ever been to a fancy restaurant and wondered what the extra spoons and forks were for? I most defiantly have.”
“It’s time for another round of The Food Lab. Got a suggestion for an upcoming topic? Email Kenji here, and he’ll do his best to answer your queries in a future post. Become a fan of The Food Lab on Facebook or follow it on Twitter for play-by-plays on future kitchen tests and recipe experiments.”
“Your kitchen may not be the mirror of your soul, but it can produce a pretty accurate image of where you’ve landed on the time line of domesticity. Take a tour through it.”
Read More: acqtaste.com/the-feed/artists-palates/
“Q: What exactly happens in the test kitchen? A: We’re responsible for testing recipes for each of the hundreds of donut varieties that Dunkin’ Donuts makes. We also test equipmenteverything that touches the donut has to come through our lab first.”
“Here’s White House pastry chef Bill Yosses advocating a “hedonistic culture of healthy eating” at the food-focused TEDx Manhattan event.”
“Easter’s coming up — a special time of year for fast-food ads pitching their fish offerings. Arby’s, Burger King and regional chains like Carl’s Jr. are trying to net hungry Catholic customers who’ve given up meat for Lent. Copyright © 2013 NPR. For personal, noncommercial use only.”
“When I think of flavour perception, noses and taste buds primarily spring to mind. Sure, other factors such as texture, temperature and touch sensations play a part, but taste and smell are the dominant senses here, right? Well perhaps not.”
“Exclusive Design Articles, Delivered to Your Inbox Daily. Gardens vs. Factories, by Jono Pandolfi Genetic modification gone too far (but vegetables are even easier to match).”
“The term “best obit ever” has been tossed about the Internet in reference to the obituary for Harry Weathersby Stamps, a Mississippian, Ina Garten fan, and self-described foodie. After reading the whole thing, it’s hard to argue with that assessment.”
“A shovel overturned can flip so much more than soil, worms, and weeds. Structural racism – the ways in which social systems and institutions promote and perpetuate the oppression of people of color – manifests at all points in the food system.”
“What was that line in Lord of the Flies? When Roger decides to kill Piggy? He makes that irreversible transgression with something like “a sense of delirious abandonment”.”