This is how I ended my blog a year ago, when I wrote about how Suvir Saran’s
recipes and encouragement had changed my life and awakened and educated my
palate. And I was right—2012 was a
year of great culinary adventure and excitement.
The flavors Iliana De La Vega shares at her "humble" food truck in Austin, TX, are far from HUMBLE. There is NOTHING Humble or modest about what Iliana does. I say that in a good way. Her food has a personality that SHINES. A taste that SINGS Clearly, with HIGH Notes, deep LOW gut-pleasing tastes and pleasurable middle, side and any and all notes, flavors and sensations that come together bringing forth a culinary discovery, that speaks of a kitchen alchemy that needs to be savored, shared, celebrated and perpetuated. The only thing Humble about the experience Iliana shared with me last night, was perhaps the concept of savoring Haute cuisine around a food truck.
This photo is taken from the internet. I would love to give credit but the photograph had none. I know Michael would appreciate me being concerned about this detail. A month has passed since Michael passed, and yet, Michael lives and lives fully and wholly in the hearts, minds, work and passion of those whose lives he touched. Michael, you are not present with us in the form you were before, but many of us still celebrate you daily and perhaps even more often than that - through our work, our lives and in ways people that never knew you may never know. Ariane and you led exemplary lives that magically changed the lives of many. Thanks for being you and thanks for having given me all you did. May your legacy enrich many as you did in your own lifetime.
Sheldon Farmstand is a place where we go for buying wonderful farm-fresh vegetables and fruits and also comestibles from around the world that we would have to live without were it not for Pat Sheldon and her wonderful stocked farm-stand in Salem. Pat and Albert Sheldon are also warm and generous people. A couple that has done much too much already and are continuing to do what they can to make the edible landscape of our community richer, fresher and more diverse.
(love this last sentence from the obituary as it would have given Michael a chuckle)
Ariane and Michael Batterberry were to many the first couple of the American food world. Together they chronicled the meanderings and growth of the American food scene in ways never done before. Founding Editors of Food Arts (1988)and Food and Wine Magazine(1978), they pioneered the world of food publishing and brought it to the place where it is today. Never ones to give up, always discovering talent and opportunities where another may find nothing. Nurturing, mentoring, supporting and celebrating people, traditions and cultures - they brought forth discoveries for professional chefs and home cooks alike. They gave the world of food tangible glories and successes to look up to when in doubt. They are responsible to have brought the food industry once considered a blue-collar profession into the uber-chic profession it has become.
Whilst Ariane has been left alone, she will certainly find endless inspiration from all the years shared with her beloved Michael. The loss suffered by the passing of Michael will be ours to experience anew tomorrow. Already I am reliving many moments past, when the world of food seemed to have no opportunities and then a call from Michael would show me the light and steer me back on the path of self-discovery. These memories of epic mentoring, generously supportive friendship and patient listening will keep Michael alive for as long as those he touched live.
43 years of marriage is a lifetime more than marriages last today. Seeing Michael and Ariane live their lives with the love and adoration they shared - gave one reason to believe in marriage and the sanctity of honest and kind relationships. Seeing them say, "I couldn't have done it without you" was as natural as a yolk in an egg. Totally in place. Totally magical. Ariane has the gift of her many decades of Michael-Memories. A gift that will continue to inspire her each day, and inspirit her with all the strength needed to continue her own journey, wherever it is she wants it to take her. Whilst it is hard for me to imagine Ariane without Michael (or vice-versa), I know as complete as they were together, they were also each legends in their own right. I for one salute Michael and respectfully and happily await pulling a chair to join Ariane at her visionary table, when she is ready to start a new chapter of her own life.
The sight of the owner scratching her nose and not bothering to even wipe her hands on a napkin, let alone wash her hands, should have told me everything I needed to know. But this may have been the most pleasant thing proprietor Lauren could have done or said. Since the website for Ravenous does not list her last name I called the number provided at several places to get that information. Lauren answered the phone promptly. My request for a last name for Francesco (her husband) and her resulted in her telling me she could not understand me and her hanging up on me. My accent seems to have been an issue. I guess voice-coaching is in the horizon for me.
Eagle's Rest Farm in Hebron is the home of the most sought after hostess of North Country. The hostess-with-the-mostess if you will. A New York City resident, she moved here 38 or so years ago, and is still an outsider to the locals. But never an outsider to any inside information that will change the workings of the local socio-politics. In fact, Betty Gambee Osborne could easily have given Brooke Astor some training on how to work the social circles and also the government and private sector. Betty is a power-broker in a community where it is not easy for a woman and especially an outsider to yield much of anything.
On my maiden visit to a mall in India, it was not the designer stores that caught my eye, but this brightly designed donut store that made me stop in my tracks. I bought a box of a dozen donuts. Colors of the store are not very different from Dunkin Donuts. The pink is missing. What happened to India's love with pink? Diana Vreelend let the world know decades ago that pink was the navy blue of India. With MOD opening stores around India, I guess India is not that India which seduced Diana Vreeland anymore. Is the missing pink telling of what will soon be missing in India?
This week at the 16th Annual Chef Culinary Conference at UMass - Amherst, I tasted several bites of heaven-on-earth. They came mostly from one dish. The Mujadarrah (traditionally made with rice and lentils) made by a university chef using a recipe provided by the uber-talented and mega-brilliant and one-and-only, Joyce Goldstein. I could not help meddling in the preparation and ended up stirring, sauteing and frying the onions and chickpeas. But that was not the reason the recipe was so great.