Jump to content
  • Welcome to the eG Forums, a service of the eGullet Society for Culinary Arts & Letters. The Society is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization dedicated to the advancement of the culinary arts. These advertising-free forums are provided free of charge through donations from Society members. Anyone may read the forums, but to post you must create a free account.

Osterie d'Italia by Slow Food


Craig Camp
 Share

Recommended Posts

Well the conversation is pointless because I used "interesting" in an objective sense, and then everyone has to chime in and say that just because I use it that way, they are not precluded from using it in a subjective sense. Why people feel compelled to do that I don't know? But I assure that on eGullet, if I used "interesting" in this context 5000 times in a row, the same group of people would rap my knuckles and remind me there is a subjective use available to them as well. And to make things worse, I am accused of implying that they should be precluded from their subjective use of the word. Something I'm not doing at all.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Well the conversation is pointless because I used "interesting" in an objective sense, and then everyone has to chime in and say that just because I use it that way, they are not precluded from using it in a subjective sense. Why people feel compelled to do that I don't know? But I assure that on eGullet, if I used "interesting" in this context 5000 times in a row, the same group of people would rap my knuckles and remind me there is a subjective use available to them as well. And to make things worse, I am accused of implying that they should be precluded from their subjective use of the word. Something I'm not doing at all.

Now I understand. You have attained pure objectivity.

So the rest of us are subjective but you are objective. OK I got it now.

Subjectively speaking I find rustic food interesting. Better?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Now I understand. You have attained pure objectivity.

So the rest of us are subjective but you are objective. OK I got it now.

Subjectively speaking I find rustic food interesting. Better

It isn't my definition or opinion of "interesting" that I am offering. I have offered how I see it used among the trade, press and other chefs. I just happen to agree with them in large part. But if you disagree with the definition I am putting forward, feel free to offer a better one. But what you think is interesting is your personal opinion. I am looking for the way the word is commonly used among people in the restaurant and food industry.

I always find this is easier when we use these words in a sentence. Okay class;

Cibreo is an interesting restaurant. The chef has developed a number of techniques that bring out some unusual aspects of the ingredients. But Tratorria dela Sostanza is a great place for a Bistecca and Fagiolini but it is not interesting cuisine in the same way that Cibreo is.

There, that is a reasonable use of interesting. And it happens to be the exact way I was using it.

Marcus - Well of course it isn't black and white, and each case has to be evaluated individually. If you read Vedat's review of I believe Lorenzo, he talks about how the chef gets something extra out of fresh fish. Is that interesting? It might be, and it also might just be good but not interesting. Sometimes it's a simple touch that makes something interesting. It's the pinch of cumin that Claude Steiger puts in the choucroute that makes it interesting because it is so different then any other choucroute you can find. But is that interesting on a permanent basis? If everyone does it will it still be interesting? Great questions, up for reasonable evaluation by people who have the expertise to do the evaluation.

For someone to proclaim something interesting, they need some basis to proclaim that they aren't just saying it is good. "Interesting" means something more then that.

Edited by Steve Plotnicki (log)
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Yes it does, but there is no inbuilt warranty of who or how many people will find something interesting. The word just doesn't work that way. Tarksi's theory of truth for formal languages is interesting to me (to the extent I understand it), but I bet not many people reading this thread are interested in it. Similarly, Craig's interested in home-style cooking, but certain restaurant guides aren't. To think there's a way to decide whether Craig or the guides are correct is to completely misunderstand the way the word is used.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

But nothing you said addressed the way I used it. If the conversation was about how we can come up with a better use of the word interesting as it applies in this instance, that I could understand. But nothing about the way I am using it, precludes any other use of the word. Yet people feel compelled to raise other uses in response to my proffer and search for a reasonable way to objectively use it.

The reason why this happens is that people do not really want to find an objective use. They feel that once we reach a conclusion, their favorite will be excluded from the definition. That's why people don't argue the validity of my assertion directly, but point to other uses as a indirect method of invalidating my use. That's a non-starter. So far Marcus is the only one who addressed it on the merits when he said that he doesn't think the guide books reach a clear conlusion on the issue. I disagree with him and think it is fairly clear who is considered an interesting chef and who isn't. And if people really wanted to find a reasonable use of the word, that's the road they would go down. But I fear they won't because there seems to be a resistance to doing that.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I will confess my prejudice. After twenty five years of 'fine dining' I find it less and less interesting in the sense it becomes harder and harder to be impressed and the experience becomes more and more stuffy, self-important and stylized. However, as I have become more and more dedicated to my own cooking, I find what Steve refers to as 'home style cooking' more and more fascinating. To find a chef that can elevate a dish that has been done a million times is an unbelievable thrill to me. This constant flagellation of semantics and definitions seems to ignore how the food actually tastes.

Where is the passion and the art? Why is it not possible to experience with the same joy and pleasure home cooking, trattoria cooking and 3 star Michelin dining. Certainly price is an issue and the 3 Star has the potential to be an incredibly bad value, but when talking about the pure mental and physical pleasure of eating don't they all have the ability to reach emotional peaks?

Edited by Craig Camp (log)
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Craig finds fine dining less interesting than home cooking.

Steve finds fine dining more interesting than home cooking.

A bunch of guides do too.

Doesn't show that Craig is wrong.

Can't we find something more, er, interesting than this?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Well that was all a fair statement. But it still avoids honing in on a reasonable definition of the word. As I said, anything can be interesting. The interesting peanut butter and jelly sandwich is out there. But for purposes of this conversation, I think we are best served by agreeing that "interesting" and "good" are two different things. And a PBJ with freshly ground peanut butter and homemade jam is good. But make it using a very mild rose petal jam, that would be interesting. Or maybe more simply, the Jacque Torres Hot Chocolate is very good, but the Jacques Torres Hot Chocolate that is laced with jalapeno is both very good and interesting.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Craig finds fine dining less interesting than home cooking.

Steve finds fine dining more interesting than home cooking.

A bunch of guides do too.

Doesn't show that Craig is wrong.

Can't we find something more, er, interesting than this?

Wrong, wrong, wrong! I find them all interesting at different times in different situations. My argument is that each at their peak have the potential to be equally pleasurable.

I want to argue that dining well is an emotional experience not an academic one.

Edited by Craig Camp (log)
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Craig - I know what you are trying to say but I believe you are using the wrong standard. The right one for enjoyable and pleasurable, even thrilling. But the wrong one for interesting.

Actually I think I know what you mean too, but I am happy to live with my definitions. Believe me I admire the restaurants and chefs that you refer to as standards. I am in for the pleasure wherever I can find it.

By the way I had a 1978 Gaja Barbaresco yesterday - sublime.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

If anyone reading this thread knows David Mamet, I am sure he would appreciate having it called to his attention, particularly the last couple of pages.

Italian tratorria cooking is in the same category as traditional French bistro cooking, kosher deli, fish & chips, paella, etc. Delicious but not very interesting when being compared to contemporary cuisine.

Steve, it's been repeatedly pointed out to you that the word "interesting", as used in the culinary world or anywhere else, does not belong exclusively to contemporary cuisine or haute cuisine. I realize that you haven't said so. You have said that certain types of cuisine aren't very interesting when being compared to contemporary cuisine. Well, Donald Duck isn't very interesting when being compared to Audubon's "Birds of America", but no one is doing that, any more than I am comparing traditional Italian cooking with contemporary cuisine or haute cuisine. But to me, the former is equally interesting as the latter, albeit for very different reasons, which is as valid a statement as is yours to the contrary.

Now that that's settled, let me ask you, what are you drinking with the seder?

Who said "There are no three star restaurants, only three star meals"?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Straight Barb? I saw some around recently that seemed reasonably priced. I guess I should pick some up. Now if I can only remember where that was.

Straight Barb - I bought a case in 82 for $12.00 a bottle. There is not a better $12 wine on the planet. It is drinking beautifully right now.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Steve, it's been repeatedly pointed out to you that the word "interesting", as used in the culinary world or anywhere else, does not belong exclusively to contemporary cuisine or haute cuisine. I realize that you haven't said so. You have said that certain types of cuisine aren't very interesting when being compared to contemporary cuisine. Well, Donald Duck isn't very interesting when being compared to Audubon's "Birds of America", but no one is doing that, any more than I am comparing traditional Italian cooking with contemporary cuisine or haute cuisine. But to me, the former is equally interesting as the latter, albeit for very different reasons, which is as valid a statement as is yours to the contrary.

Yes but what does that have to do with how the word "interesting" was used in any of the substantive comments that made up this aspect of the thread? Nothing as far as I can see. So I don't understand purpose of your raising that you can use it in the way you describe. My comment doesn't purport to be an exclusive use of the word, just one of the common usages.

Haven't figured out what to drink with the seder yet. Won't decide until the day before.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Craig - I wish I collected wine back then. I did drink 1990 Conterno Gran Bussia last week and although the person decanted it at 4:00pm for a 9:00 dinner and we didn't drink it until about 10:30, it was still pretty tight. It opened up pretty well in the glass though and it was a beautiful wine. But it was sort of overshadowed because we drank it with among other things, '85 Roumier Bonnes Mares and 1970 Latour which were both pretty phenomenol. Especially the Roumier. If there was ever a definition of a point, that wine had it.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Craig - I wish I collected wine back then. I did drink 1990 Conterno Gran Bussia last week and although the person decanted it at 4:00pm for a 9:00 dinner and we didn't drink it until about 10:30, it was still pretty tight. It opened up pretty well in the glass though and it was a beautiful wine. But it was sort of overshadowed because we drank it with among other things, '85 Roumier Bonnes Mares and 1970 Latour which were both pretty phenomenol. Especially the Roumier. If there was ever a definition of a point, that wine had it.

The Conterno is a baby compared to those guys - needs another 10 years. The Roumier is a dream. The 1970 vintage of Bordeaux was the vintage I first started to collect in the late 70's - unfortunately I did not display the proper restraint and have few bottles left now. I had the 70 Latour the last time about 5 years ago along with the 79 Latour, at the time the 70 tasted 10 years younger than the 79 - I love those 70's - arguably the last great Bordeaux vintage made in the classic style.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I love those 70's - arguably the last great Bordeaux vintage made in the classic style.

Yes Craig, I totally agree. After that everything from California and France started tasting the same. Blame the '76 tasting where 1973 (I'm relatively sure) Stag's Leap CS "out-tasted" many of the first growths as was named best of show.

I would take the '70, '75, '78 and in some instances, the '79 Bordeaux over the '82.

Edited by rich (log)

Rich Schulhoff

Opinions are like friends, everyone has some but what matters is how you respect them!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Well since we are free styling here, I attended a 1975 Bordeaux tasting last week and I thought the wines were generally poor. The Cheval Blanc was the best to drink of the bunch by far. But all the first growths were huge disappointments, save for Haut Brion which had this funny funkiness to it that I enjoyed more then would be able to say it was a good wine. We didn't have Lafleur, but we did have La Mission Haut Brion and Petrus and they were two bruisers. So tannic that 45 seconds after the finish was over a drying phenomenon came over your tongue. Those wines need 10 more years easy, maybe more.

As for post 1979 Bordeaux, yes they are made in a more modern style but some of those wines are really good. I can drink 1985 Haut Brion all day long. 1983 Cheval is good too, as is Palmer. And I've had some '89's and '90's that are stunning, And while they might not be long term keepers to the same extent the pre 1980 wines are, there are a bunch of delicious wines out there, and this is coming from someone who doesn't drink Bordeaux much anymore.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

After 70 posts on a thread we are officially in a free-association mode. What do you see in this ink blot?

The 75's were always disappointing. Just too hard and not enough fruit to back it up.

Can't you make the same arguments we were making about food to wine? Is a great Montepulciano like Oasi degli Angeli Kurni as 'interesting' as a Altare Barolo or is this like comparing fine trattoria cooking with a top Michelin Italian restaurant?

Is that an interesting question (and a oh so subtle attempt to get back on topic).

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Can't you make the same arguments we were making about food to wine? Is a great Montepulciano like Oasi degli Angeli Kurni as 'interesting' as a Altare Barolo or is this like comparing fine trattoria cooking with a top Michelin Italian restaurant?

You know I tried to inject some wine examples in some of my posts but I couldn't get the analogies to work right. Wine as a craft, is far less interventionist in nature then cooking is don't you think? I mean even a simple dish like a risotto, the chef intervenes with the ingredients in a significant way. I don't see the winemaker being as proactive in his craft as a chef is. The winemaker, he is doing his great work in the vineyard. So wine and food are not very analagous this way, IMHO.

I guess there must be something that we could honestly call interesting. Except in wine, almost every modern styled wine is the same. They are just Parkerized and hence, not extremely interesting because they are so like each other. But I find a few interesting in spite of their Parkerization. Like certain vintages of Siepi, Lamborghini, and Terre de Lavoro just to name three where I find that there is substance that can transcend the style the wines are made in.

Claude - Well everything at the winery tastes 10 times better.

Edited by Steve Plotnicki (log)
Link to comment
Share on other sites

No it's not excellence, it's creativity. Pasta with sea urchin is interesting. It might not taste good, but it is certainly interesting. But if they served it in every tratorria in Italy, then it would stop being interesting. Unless, someone had an interesting version of it.

They serve it in every restaurant in Mondello (outside Palermo). It is not a very original dish.

Is that interesting or not?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Guest
This topic is now closed to further replies.
 Share

×
×
  • Create New...