Off The Menu

I’ve begun to read René Redzepi’s Work in Progress: Journal, Recipes and Snapshots.  One thing true about the Great Forager is his abundant use of flowers:  “A Light Stew of Broad Beans and Flowers,” “Spicy and Sweet Cucumber and Pickled Elderflowers,” “A Plateful of Flowers and Some Vinaigrette.”  His titles read like poems–“Steamed Dandelion Leaves and Glazed Hare,” “An Apple Falls into the Grass.”  And then the simplicity of “Branches.”


Ingredients:  “Spruce and Juniper spices, branches made out of flour, salt, lager, and grape seed oil.  Serve with a bouquet of flowers in a vase and crème fraîche.”  So, since I’m writing this a few minutes shy of cocktail hour, let’s learn how to make a delicious cocktail out of wildflowers, courtesy of Grist.


With a Queen Anne’s Lace Cognac Apéritif in me I’m ready for some conversation.  Have you heard about the Invasion of the Corn Snatchers! You were probably thinking some sort of horrible merging of Children of the Corn and Invasion of the Body Snatchers.


Yes, how wrong.  Let’s shake this off and move from stealing corn to rethinking the food pyramid with the twelve-step program for Southern Cooking, also known as the Twelve Southern Food Groups.  And, of course, when I think about Southern cooking I think Sean Brock, here he is offering Skillet Cornbread.

Always a pleasure to add Chef Brock to the conversation, which reminds me it’s time for another Queen Anne’s Lace Cognac Apéritif.


It’s been a long time since I sat in a bar or restaurant and had the “tipping”conversation.  Often they begin with someone stating, “Why I don’t like tipping.”  Which, of course, reminds me of this conversation concerning tipping.

I tip when I buy coffee–if it’s Antidote it can be higher than 20% because they talk to me (they really do), when I’m out at a restaurant (20%).  I don’t know if I have a clear logic, but is an ethical decision supposed to be logical? Do we care about how we treat ourselves and others because of logic or something irrational like compassion?  Maybe reason sometimes misses the mark.  I do realize now as I’m thinking about my third cognac that we haven’t eaten yet.  Let’s order some nasty bits like Fish Head Soup!


Delicious!  And as bone, flesh and skin swirls through my body it’s time for us to talk about cabbages and kings, about those who have and those who have not because access to real food is a privilege when it shouldn’t be.  In my food class we have discussed these issues, how the money in your pocket or in your back account may dictate your diet and your longevity.  A number of my students want to eat green and local but they don’t have the money, and in this day and age of pushing students to take as many courses as they possibly can each semester, while also probably working, they don’t have the time to cook.  What to do?  Well, that’s what we’re trying to figure out–how can we cook and serve meals to everyone offering good produce, healthy animals raised in humane conditions at prices we can afford while also paying the workers that pick our veg and slaughter our animals what they deserve?  Yes, that’s a tall order, and with those thoughts I’ll settle into my third Queen Anne’s Lace Cognac Apéritif and muse.  Cheers!






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