Pictured here: Chef Dan Barber of Blue Hill restaurants in New York.
I have had New York much on my mind lately, and then a little flurry of good things came over the transom. (The link goes to an image, since I bet many of you young whippersnappers have never seen a transom in your lives.)
First, I was catching up on my blog subscriptions, and saw that, over at Edible Nation, Bruce Cole has posited that Chef Dan Barber has been body-snatched by an Evil Twin. Please set aside about 20 minutes of your life to watch Dan's most recent presentation at Taste3. Bruce writes:
Taste3 invited Dan Barber's twin to come and speak for the second year in a row, and I say twin because this guy is a masterful story teller, an actor and performer, and so obviously not the same Dan Barber the chef I've heard of. At last years Taste3, this Barber brought down the house with his hilarious story of carrots and castration, with special emphasis on Boris the boar and his back end (click here for last year's talk). In other words, can you say boar's balls?
(I recommended it a while back.)
The raconteur pseudo-Dan Barber that you see at Taste3 has been secretly coaching Woody Allen for years on dialog and timing, and is currently trying to convince him to do a remake of "Li'l Abner," set at Stone Barns Center for Food and Agriculture, with Dan as Li'l Abner and Scarlett Johansson as Daisy Mae. Hijinks ensue when Daisy Mae takes a bus to Washington Square, hoping to suss out the chef at his New York City venue.
Rumor has it that Allen wants to bring out his Greek chorus, who will be dressed as street thugs in the Big Apple. Auditioning for roles are Bobby Flay, Anthony Bourdain, Mario Batali, and Robert de Niro.
All kidding aside, Barber's poignant presentation moved me to sniffles, and I hope he Gets the Girl one day.
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And then a couple of nights ago, I was reading comments on The Amateur Gourmet's blog, and came across one by Phoebe Damrosch. I had just been importing all my old photos into iPhoto from both my older computers to the new laptop, and came across one that always makes me smile. Here is cheesemaker (breadmaker, farmer, wonderful guy) Jonathan White with Phoebe, who had been serving at the dinner, which was also attended by her aunt, Barbara Damrosch, and Eliot Coleman.
Phoebe is the author of an about-to-be-published book, Service Included: Four-Star Secrets of an Eavesdropping Waiter. (Sorry, Phoebe, I used my own Amazon Associates link: I promise you can do the same with no hard feelings if I ever publish a book...by William Morrow, no less!)
This sounds like a treat:
A charming debut by a former waiter at the New York City restaurant Per Se slips in some high-end tricks of the trade. Vermont-bred foodie Damrosch was a few years out of Barnard College when she landed a job at chef Thomas Keller's Per Se. Fast-talking and prone to do her homework, in this case assiduously absorbing Keller's French Laundry Cookbook, Damrosch starts as a backserver, and her training is intensive: attending food seminars, memorizing the acreage of Central Park and learning how not to interrupt dining couples holding hands. In a few months, she's elevated to captain (a rare job for a woman), which entails navigating guests through the elaborate menus and essentially learning the subtleties of putting the guest at ease. Anticipating desire becomes Damrosch's role, as well as making sure New York Times food critic Frank Bruni has the best meal of his life. (Indeed, the place receives four stars.) She begins a romance with Andre the sommelier. Much of the latter half of this youthful, exuberant memoir is overtaken by their burgeoning affair, although the most delightful chapter, I Can Hear You, is full of vignettes of Damrosch's real-life waiting, i.e., the delivery of the Fabergé egg as a marriage proposal, and the parade of celebrities she meets along the way.
Go poke around her website for some amusement and thought-provoking content (like the Pronoia Prize, which features a quote by local cult figure Rob Brezsny).
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Finally, I got a titillating e-mail a few days ago from one Emily Kaiser. I'd met Emily very briefly when we both attended a workshop in 2006 at the Ecological Farming Conference on chefs and farmers. She gave me her card, and I liked what I saw on her website.
The e-mail's subject line: "I love your blog!" Well, I get so tired of all that, I just tossed it into the trash.
It turns out that Emily is now an Associate Editor for Food and Wine magazine, and wanted to know if she could interview me. Not for the magazine (because I neither grow nor cook food), but for their Editor's Blog, called "Mouthing Off."
Interview me, she did, and you can see a half an hour of us laughing a lot distilled to 250 very kind words.
Emily says I laughed, but I am pretty sure I snorted loudly when she told me how "friendly" my blog is. First I thought of the disagreement you'd get from the people who ran me out of town, and then I thought of the nitwit advertising woman who thought she'd get me to help her pimp "Healthy Mr. Potato Head" for the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade. But still, I'm glad if my enthusiasm comes across. I guess this means I'll have to wait a decent interval to write the big exposé on what really contributed to the eGullet hobnail boot landing squarely, and without warning, on my rear end.
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I am working intensely, hoping to make enough money to travel before autumn. Hopefully New York is in the cards. Maybe I'll finally get to the Greenmarket, and meet Cathy and Liza and Young Master Jack, and a slew of other people I feel like I already know.
Because right now, I'm missing this pretty badly. (It's the highway between New York and the Berkshires.)
That's all for today.
THOUGHT FOR THE DAY (keeping it food-related): “Not only is New York the nation's melting pot, it is also the casserole, the chafing dish and the charcoal grill.” — Mayor John V. Lindsay
Thanks for visiting.