The hedges have not been clipped for awhile in this small garden at the edge of the Villa Borgehese in Rome. Grass does its best to cover a narrow walkway, while the sky above unfurls grey clouds and grey light like an old sheet stretched between the sun and earth. We walk through marble and … Continue reading The Mystery Of Cacio E Pepe While Walking In An Edward Gorey World.
Houston like any city from Ur to Rome to Hong Kong tells its story through food and those who bring food traditions from around the world to their neighborhood. A Brief History of Houston Barbecue offers such a tale, one where I stir a barbecue sauce in my Houston Heights home and wonder, whose sauce … Continue reading More Alchemy And Travels Through Space And Time With Barbecue Sauce.
Alchemy is a chemical transformation of matter through air, earth, fire and water, a process characterized by melanosis (blackening), leukosis (whitening), xanthosis (yellowing) and isis (reddening), also known as nigredo (chaos), albedo (release, daybreak) and rubedo (intensity, sunrise); which means through the language of the opus magnum, alchemy is to cook, and specifically for these … Continue reading Alchemy In The Afternoon
The Magician (1952) by Rene Magritte where the fantasy of a human with four arms navigating table to mouth contains a question for our senses–is taste, along with our other senses, a fantasy, an illusion? This steak may not be a steak. We are familiar with questions about the veracity of our senses. They’ve been … Continue reading What Is Really In My Mouth? The Case For Cypher Over Socrates.
Maybe it’s because of Martin Picard’s Pied du Cochon Burger. Maybe it’s because my friend Sarah Mangrem gave me beef sausage from her family’s farm. Maybe I didn’t need a cause nor reason, maybe it’s just fate. No matter, for days and nights I’ve been carrying around a vision of an improbable, impossible sausage sandwich … Continue reading The Improbable, Impossible Sausage Sandwich.
White to rose to crimson this cow tongue’s muscle, fat, cartilage, and bone draws our attention more as anatomy than food, but food it is . . . simmer for hours, smoke for hours, roast, sautée, stew. Why paint such a raw scene? Gustave Caillebotte’s Calf’s Head and Ox Tongue (1882) exemplifies an everyday reality … Continue reading Transforming Tongue: The Alchemy of Cooking (“True Detective” Style).
Gustav Klimt‘s painting Garden Path with Chickens from 1916 no longer exists. Hasn’t for awhile. Thirteen of his paintings stored in Schloss Immendorf castle in Lower Austria during World War II were destroyed by retreating German forces who set off explosives. Only a photographic reproduction of the work allows us to view it today. Gustav Klimt’s … Continue reading Chicken Soup For A Friend Who’s Fallen Ill.
Look at it. So beautiful. Firm, bright color, everything you would want. Consider Harold McGee’s view of skin in On Food and Cooking. Usually cooks don’t welcome large amounts of toughening connective tissue in meat. But taken on their own, animal skin, cartilage, and bones are valuable exactly because they’re mostly connective tissue and therefor … Continue reading The Anatomical Theater: Skin And Flesh
It’s November 8, 1895, late at night, and Wilhelm Röntgen, Professor of Physics in Worzburg, Bavaria sits in a dark room. He’s enclosed a discharge tube in a sealed, thick, black carton. He lifts a paper plate covered on one side with barium platinocyanide in front of the discharge tube and the plate turns fluorescent. … Continue reading The Anatomical Theater: Bones
We open with Gustav Klimt’s Garden Path with Chickens (1916). If a blog post is a path to a particular world of sense and sound, then this one includes a chicken. And a cow. And leeks. Let’s walk further down the path. The first words of a favorite novel open thus, “You are about to … Continue reading If On A Winter’s Night A Cock-A-Leekie