Food Writer Finds Story


The aftermath of How To Cook Your Life cast a stone in my puddle, and three ripples are radiating as you read this scrap of bloggadocio:

A teaching tour of North Carolina (not set in stone, but likely) thanks to the traction of a certain can-do bikegentleman who will be identified once I set a teaching date.

A lavish lunch in Marin County’s finest restaurant, courtesy of Carol Ness, editor of the S.F. Chronicle food section.

One week after, a thank you lunch, subjecting an impressively unafraid Ms. Ness to my idea of fyne qweezeen sur le cheap. Taj Mahovel boasts impeccably scavenged and prepared foodstuff–emphasis on the ‘stuff’….It’s all seasonal, regional “orphan food”. Fruits and vegetables whose only crime was a bruise, a broken stalk, a weeping wound. Or windfall fruit considered a sticky nuisance on the pavement (=figs!!!!).

You recipe collector types could file my cuisne under: Perfectly Fine For Eating Don’t Know What They Were Thinking When They Threw This Away Wow It’s All Free Eh?

And the aftermath of these is yet unknown. A flight to Charlotte/Raleigh to teach?
A ban on expense account lunches for scrappy scroungers?
Permanent closure of all good dumpsters in Marin?

Might as tell a bit about the Press Luncheon, and share the (wo)menu.

As it happened, the Osmanthus fragrans in the middle of the yard popped into bloom (tiny flowers in my hand in the picture above)the day before I spent a two hours prepping the repast below. Since a meal this elaborate is always taken out in the “Habitat” (outdoor room) the runnings-back-and-forth (don’t trip on the bark chips).

We interupt this blog to announce a real..earth quake!! Feels like about a 4.5. (turned out to be 5.6 at epicenter, I think my estimate’s good for here, 60 miles north) Back to our food…

Press Luncheon with Carol Ness
Oct 29, 2007
Taj Mahovel
Hors D’oeuvre: parfum d’osmanthus fragrans

Found Salad European Mix (carefully rewashed)
w/homegrown volunteer tomatoes
Savory bread pudding
with either:
Volunteer tomatillo sauce
Or hissing fuse (note: “hissing fuse” is a condiment made of roasted tahini plus Szechuan black bean chili garlic oil)
Or both. Or neither.
Tomato salad with planted-on-purpose arugula
Sauteed perennial chard, found zucchini (courgette) with heirloom tomato coulis
Windfall figgy pudding
Found local apple crisp with cadged cream
Brooke Bond Scottish Blend Tea

Chef JP of Salivation Army distinguishes between accidental (‘volunteer’) vegetables, “on purpose” (bought the seeds and left them around a few seasons in their packets before getting off her duff and planting them, at which point they are hardly viable but oh what the hell, throw them in and see..)

- and then the more reliable “stuff” that seems to magically refill all the yellow dumpsters. Not to forget “windfall’ (stuff on sidewalk and hidden in deep lawn grass, on street, etc) which needs extra attention when cleaning. No guarantees of organicity here, because of amount of asbestos brake lining dust that filters all over the urban landscape, esp near roads that cars (mis) use.

Carol arrived, sat decompressing a bit in the cool queen’s chair, while I did the last minute bustle. It is a one of the elements of wombat style to abandon visitors esp first timers in the yard, so they can de-compress from their voyage (usuallly stressful, whether by bicycle or auto) and hear a little birdsong or general nothingness…unless the 18-wheeler is groaning through the neighbborhood en route to the stable delivering hay, scraping the phone lines overhead and leaving hay-bits swirling in the breeze… This way, visitor doesn’t have me barraging them right off the bat (sorry).

The next couple of hours we noshed thru those aforementioned dishes…in a sunny quiet yard(mystery: where are all the dogs and carpet-cleaning trucks we normally have providing the sound track?) ruminating about the politics of waste, and assessing the risk of revelation of the secrets of the scavenger.

We shall see how it all pans oot.

~ by jacquiephelan on October 31, 2007.

2 Responses to “Food Writer Finds Story”

  1. Well;
    I have a comment.

    I see it, the same, in my dear ole West Virginia. All the time.
    I liked the line of pre-endgame.

    My dearest ole cousin made the drive from his little clave outside Houston up to ole virginee to attend me paps memorial service late this summer. We spoke a length about the hurried short breaths of the old fellows as the get ready for that final trip. He likened it to a 2stoke going lean right as it dies from lack of fuel.

    All the signs are pretty clear. Recently had a fellow who calls his science macro invertebrate biology state for the record that there in no ground water in the US that he would drink untreated.
    Then -predictably enough- went on to describe some of the nightmarish things he has documented in older urban water systems.
    (aka treated). “Sooo, whutchu drink there dok?”

    Folks talking up climate change all over. For my own bit of forest, (that I care for, not own) the changes are clear and
    obvious as sunrise, things dropped falling down, and other such
    predictable and irrefutable phenomina. Yet there is still ‘discussion’. It’s kinda funny. All my friends it seems, are
    either natural scientists and married to natural scientists. It’s
    not handwriting on the wall, it’s all just plain as day. It’s changing, and it’s a bit tricky trying to sort out what will
    come after. In the mean time, foresters are out gathering seeds
    to propogate forests into the uncertain future, as there is
    founded concern that the forests can’t do this on their own.
    Just look at the chestnut. Nothing unique there. All things come
    from the forests. The water, the plants, the animals, the birds,
    everything. One thing about the forest, you can take it for
    granted. It’s use is assured. And there is no replacement.

    Yet, tract mansions, strip malls and highways are replacing them
    all the time. Sure, perhaps they always have, but never like they
    are today. I remember when this happened 20 years ago, and I was
    so happy when the S&L horror came crashing down, as I was certain
    that someone had seen the folly of growth for the sake of
    growth. 300 billion bailout later (thank YOU Alan Greenspan!) and no one learned a thing. Remarkable.

    The zero-poppers like to line up and grimly hint and imply that
    all could be fixed by a tidy broadscale genocide or two. While
    more sane voices like that of Lester Brown ( http://www.earth-policy.org/Books/PB2/Contents.htm ) say thet the math states that if;
    Folks live in places like F-ngham Palace, bike a lot, enjoy their time here more, and so on, the not only is there enough for now, there is plenty more for later, and for more folks as well.

    But for now, the motor is starting to run lean, things are speeding up, even when you take yer foot off the gas, just
    like a chainsaw, just like my old 9th-hand primer coloured
    flatbed diesel pickup, telling you that you didn’t switch
    tanks fast enough, and you are going to be spending time
    purging the fuel system, trying to get her to light again,
    and yer gonna be late getting him. Old pa, , ,he’s breathing
    fast and short, won’t be long now.

    The surge before the stall.

    Now, if Grant would only get me my new springer saddle, I could
    finish my pugsley. But seems like brooks is under high demand
    for old fashioned springer saddles. What a world, eh?

  2. […] Pour lemon juice over the piled high pan apples on bottom, chrumbs on top. Apple Chrisp needs 40 minutes at 350 degrees Far Out Height. The smell will tell you, in case they cook faster than expected, remain nearby. Pull it out, lay it on counter, admire, take picture, give a silly benecdiction, dive in. Use up last of the cream that Carol Ness the SF Chronicle writer brought me for our Salivation Army Luncheon which gee I think I wrote up but it’s in the other blog… […]

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