Wednesday, July 13, 2011
A Splendid Obsession
1. Coffee - Stumptown to be exact. While I am addicted to coffee, I am obsessed with Stumptown. There's a distinction.
2. Chocolate. Always and forever, the darker the better. See Mast Bros.
3. Eggs. I eat a lot of eggs. Baked, over medium, over a salad, over a bowl of noodles, poached, soft boiled, what have you. A runny egg on top of your dinner and it's automatically elevated to something gourmet.
4. The chocolate sorbet at Romans. Oh. My. God. It's perfectly salty, velvety, luscious and rich. It's almost too good, almost. (see #2)
5. The Splendid Table. Wait, do you not know what this is? Holy, are you in for it. A hidden gem among many gems on NPR, a radio show 'about food, for people who love to eat,' said by the hearty, jovial, full-bodied voice (if you can say that) of Lynne Rosetto Kasper. One time food writer for the Washington Post and New York Times, now full time foodie resource and inquisitor. I literally can't stop listening to this show. In one breath she'll suggest an easy recipe using a seasonal ingredient, like today - making a pesto with mint, and how mint loses intensity when cooked so be sure you always chop fresh mint in right before you serve. Or how using just a dash of fish sauce to a saute can add a depth of flavor that will round out any dish. Then she'll have a segment interviewing someone in a specialized field, from a chef who went from making gourmet meals to making high end chef's knives and what that process involved. Or a journalist who wrote a book about the history of the fortune cookie, or a Sommelier suggesting reasonable wines from Brazil to pair with seafood, or a cheese monger talking about the best cheeses to serve with wheat beers. And on and on. It's so fun and informative that I almost always come away having learned something I'll want to put to use immediately. The rest of the show is broken up with other really fun and smart segments, one favorite is a recurring segment from a hilarious couple about the best restaurants around the country (today was a meat shop in New Orleans selling the city's best boudin noir).
All of that is really great stuff, but what makes the show Splendid indeed is Lynne. Her fervor is infectious, her laugh is hearty and her knowledge is unending. Oh, and all the great chefs have been on the show. Batali, Bourdain, Sammuelsson... she's in with the best of them.
Now, at this juncture I would like to publicly thank Albert and Stephen, who, upon driving up to Cape Cod last summer informed me that 'Any road trip is made better with The Splendid Table." Truer words have never been spoken. And at once, an obsession was born.