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Robert Schonfeld

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Everything posted by Robert Schonfeld

  1. This isn't true, Steve. As you know, there are degrees of observation of kashruth. All but the most rigorous will eat in non-kosher homes or restaurants. Some will even do so without prior notification of their preference. It's a big tent. Only at the extremes, as has already been observed, will intolerance exclude the more moderate.
  2. I just want you to be the best FG you can be.
  3. Atheists are such an insignificant percentage of the world's population that there's little practical difference between your phrasing and mine. Nevertheless, it's religions, not societies we're talking about. And I think "dietary laws" is more appropriate than "cuisine". Although the practical difference may be small, your editor would prevail on this one.
  4. The FG wrote (but the quote button at the post did not convert): Does it follow that the existence of all or any laws of behavior - choose your own example - in religion all demonstrate the centrality of that behavior to society? I am more comfortable with: "The existence of dietary laws in so many religions demonstrates the importance of dietary laws to so many religions."
  5. No worries, Nina. The likelihood that the Giants will be working that day is slim indeed.
  6. Outdoor pizza oven?! Wood burning? I'm seeing all kinds of possibilities. You have a tv, right? Just in the highly unlikely event that the Giants are in it.
  7. I'd like to renew my offer to give some Carl's Oregon Trail starter to anyone attending the event who would like some. Please let me know as I'll have to mix up enough to go around.
  8. That would make a good mention on the "recipes: how detailed" thread. Thanks, Suzanne
  9. If the remainder of the fat is rendered during the braise (presumably flavoring the ingredients) couldn't one defat the (strained) braising liquid using a fat separator once cooking is completed? Is there another type of duck leg other than American better suited to this treatment? Would D'Artagnan have it at their retail outlet? We were thinking of this recipe for New Year's Eve.
  10. Thanks, Robert. The next best thing to being there.
  11. Sounds like your guests will be so plastered they won't care if the bread is a little dry.
  12. Once in an otherwise unmemorable Italian restaurant in my neighborhood in Manhattan, we were served very good bread. Not long after, I saw the truck making the delivery there. It was Royal Crown.
  13. Years ago, there was a place in Florence called Camillo (very possibly still there) that had fresh sturgeon every Thursday. We used to make the trip just for that. Brushed with some good olive oil, grilled, with a squirt of lemon. Yum. It is a very "meaty" fish. Be careful not to overcook it. The press-with-the-finger test works best.
  14. I have now, Steve. It got a smile out of me. Thanks for the pointer.
  15. The FG called it a "presumed dichotomy". Steve Klc calls them "supposed camps". Is there a there here or not?
  16. About ten days ago, I received a flyer from the Rare Wine Company, also mentioned by the FG, offering new crop olive oil. For about $50 delivered, one receives a liter of rare liquid, so intensely of its place, so different as to be almost unrecognizable from the commercially available norm. This is less than the cost of a bottle of good champagne, and it lasts much longer. The irony is that oil of the same quality (without the rapturous discourse in the brochure) is available everywhere in Tuscany, often for free by exchange among neighbors. Just as you or I will pay $15 per pound for wild line caught striped bass in the Hamptons, the locals will pass them around for nothing. Tuscans are often spoken of by their provincial neighbors, not without a little malice, as "bean eaters". The austere, frugal qualities of Tuscan peasant life are eloquently expressed in the extension of a few cents worth of ingredients over several days to produce delicious food sufficient to feed a family. I had the beans, I had the oil, and I had a picture-perfect loaf of pane pugliese (yes, yes, technically it should have been saltless Tuscan bread, but that stuff really sucks) which I had made just to see if I could do it correctly. We (changing pronouns because Mazal was a full partner in this venture) also had the requisite root vegetables, including a turban squash, which the people in the Greenmarket had always said was the sweetest and best for eating, but which we had used only for decoration in the past. The only ingredient we lacked was real black Tuscan kale, for which we substituted the local product. Sue me. Day 1: Boiled white beans with sage, garlic and bay, drizzled with the oil. A couple of slices of the fesh bread on the side, lightly toasted, rubbed with garlic and also drizzled with the oil. Day 2: The leftover beans, the cooking liquid, the vegetables, made in to a soup. Some of the soup pureed and stirred back in. A slice of toasted day old bread in the bottom of a heated bowl, ladle in the soup, drizzle generously with the oil. Day 3: Ribollita. Half a dozen slices of two day old bread pressed into the leftover soup. Once these are soft, they are broken up with a spoon. The texture of baby food. More oil. The flavors become more integrated each day. The oil livens the dish up each day. We enjoyed both delicious food as well as a feeling of connectedness with something familiar to us, yet distant. It was great eating and a great feeling. PS: Mazal took the seeds from the turban squash, which are plump and meaty, and dried them, as she does all squash and melon seeds. This she gets from her Middle Eastern tradition, another part of the Mediterranean.
  17. Steve, fortunately, I saw your last before posting my latest, which I have therefore deleted. My own answer to your question is: it depends. If I find myself in a situation where technique is in the fore, then I say, let it run. I'm up for it. Conversely, if I'm in a place where simplicity is called for, then I'd say well enough is best left alone. Everything has its own time and place. (Turn, turn, turn.) Sorry, FG, I don't see an argument here.
  18. The company, and the view, are good from where I sit, Steve. I chose them a long time ago and I've never regretted it. I wouldn't call it the margin, though, but you may if you wish for effect. No offense taken. More to the point right now, I should say (again, I think) that a combination of the two makes the most sense and is the most true. A couple of posts above I said, "This doesn't mean that challenging technique is not present in simple-seeming preparations, or that simplicity does not find its way into the Grand Restaurant. " Extremism never endures. I also appreciate the FG's five point analysis as valid, but I don't see the locus of the "presumed dichotomy".
  19. So it turns out there's no need for a new thread after all...
  20. Compliments to JD(London) for a patient and thoughtful post, and for the motivation to get Julia off the shelf for some interesting quotations. I don't see an "attempted division of the culinary world" so much as a sliding scale on which technique will be emphasized more in response to economic and social demands and status of diners. (CP might be seen as a counter-trend, or backlash.) This doesn't mean that challenging technique is not present in simple-seeming preparations, or that simplicity does not find its way into the Grand Restaurant. For my money, it's worth investigating both. Inevitably, though, one forms preferences, which are different than exclusions.
  21. Wouldn't it be interesting, then, to think about similarities and differences between the culinary arts and the art of eating, as it has been called? In one way or another, this conversation has been going on here on Egullet for a long time. There are places and occasions and meals where a perfect slice of melon, or, let's say, a few perfect figs and peaches, some comparable cheese, maybe a few nuts and some broken pieces of good chocolate (brought from Switzerland or Belgium), the last of the wine...For many, that's as good as it gets. My problem with CP isn't its simplicity or its devotion to ingredients of high quality. On the contrary, these are its strengths. In fact, my sense of unease with it has more to do with the arriviste quality of its "good works" as compared with what I know from my own experience. It's sort of like when a lot of people fell in love with "British Blues" and the Stones in the 60's, but had never listened to Muddy Waters or Robert Johnson. At least some went back and listened to the originals.
  22. Just checked back in. Thanks, Wilfrid. It would have been more accurate to say low carb, low fat, no refined sugar, etc.. Whatever it was, I lost the weight and kept it off.
  23. The minimum number of the highest quality ingredients, combined as simply as possible. That was my food education, and it remains my grail. It is not, however, my wish for every restaurant, nor does my adherence to it place CP on or near any heap of mine. I agree with JD(London) that such heaping tends to be, in my words, Zagat-like and fundamentally of no real interest. It's nice that Alice Waters made a garden out of asphalt; virtuous, even. But it still has nothing to do with the quality of a visit to her restaurant, which, apparently, can vary a great deal depending on many contributing factors. I'm after consistency, not variation.
  24. I'm one of those, as you know, Steve, and I wouldn't have it on my top ten or twenty list either. The entire concept of CP is derivative of Mediterranean cooking and isn't as good as I've had in dozens of casual places in Italy. Good for Alice Waters for having raised the level of awareness about ingredients in some circles in the US. Good for her for having done it in a demographically felicitous location. She deserves her success. Not a great restaurant.
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