Sunday, January 3, 2010

At the Start of 2010

I rang in the new year with beef tartar.

And several other delectable dishes part of Revolver's New Year's Eve special seven-course 5:30 service. Keeping our tradition of going to Revolver for NYE, FD and I had a fantastic meal gave us time to reflect on 2009 and welcome 2010.

And I'll forever be obsessing about the best beef tartar I've ever had in my life. And probably ever will.

God, I love raw beef.


Today on the Epiphany, I had an epiphany: use cubed steak in a chili. I got the idea from my pal KC, but after tasting the chili I felt like I had an epiphany. It was divine, and so tender after an afternoon of simmering on the stovetop.

Resolution 1: use cubed steaks for chili.

Resolution 2: make my own bread.

After reading Ruhlman's Ratio, I vowed to start making my own bread. He made it sound simple enough, and I do own a scale that needs more use. My only dilemma is I'm in love with Zingerman's breads that the totally sweet folks at Happy Badger General Store sell. So I'm thinking I'll ease into it. I'll make bread and until I get good twice a month I'll buy a Zingerman's loaf. That sounds like a plan. And the Ratio app for iPhone and iTouch is totally helpful, especially if you are NOT math inclined, much like myself. Michael Ruhlman rocks.


Resolution 3: accept that I rock--sometimes.

During our break I've been reading lots of food writing--be it books, blogs, columns, or recipes--and I've keep thinking to myself, I have no clue about food. What the heck am I doing? (Resolution 4: stop cussing like a sailor.) I started feeling kind of down about my palate, my blog and my perspective on food because it's so everyday. But then after much more obsessing I decided an everyday perspective on food is important. I'm a snob on many levels, but I don't think I could ever be a food snob. And I shouldn't want to be. I see food as something way more than nourishment but I don't think it elevates my status or qualifies me to be a preacher. I just want to share my food adventures, start a dialog, and create a bond through food.

Lately I've been attending mass again, and the more I go, the more I see the connection between body, soul, and food. And I want to express it, mostly by cooking. I need accept that's what I do. I cook. I make mistakes cooking. I'm learning. Like most other cooks I know. We're all learning, right? I hope I'm adding an everyday perspective to the conversation about food. I hope I give someone who wouldn't dream of eating chicken livers the courage to try a nibble. Or someone who wants to try a local diet the motivation to do so. Or at least I hope I'm staying in touch with my loved ones through this blog and my Connotation Press column. I guess what I'm trying to say, ultimately, is I shouldn't feel like I don't belong in the world of food. Here I am. I should embrace it.

Cheers to 2010. And many more years to come!


  1. Jim became a veg because he read a book called "Eat to Live". Sorry pops, I LIVE TO EAT!

  2. SEM, tell Jimbo he needs a local diet of veggies and grass-fed meats--that's better than a vegetarian diet. I can suggest several books if he wants some.

  3. The thing about food is it's nearly impossible to be a definitive expert. There's just too many things too eat and too many ways to prepare those things. So you just keep trying and experimenting...everyday, three times a day.

    I'm jealous of your tartare. My NYE first course at a swanky downtown Omaha eatery was an uninspired blini with cavier.

    If you want to bake bread, I wouldn't mess around with "Ratio" yet. No offense to Mr. Ruhlman--I got a copy of "Ratio" for X-mas, and I love it, but I think you'll be better off with Jim Lahey's No Knead Bread. By better off I mean less frustrated, less work involved, and a more spectacular finished product.

    I wrote about No Knead Bread, and my cooking philosophy which is so different from yours and is probably why we're such good friends here.