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Friday, May 2, 2008

Food for Thought

E10th Street
Photo by myself on East 10th Street and Second Avenue, in the East Village.

A typical pretty street shows stoops, trees and quaint sidewalks. There are even little iron things that cordon off the trees.


The other night, Mark and I had dinner in a small place with an open kitchen. We had front row seats to the cooks and the grill.

The head cook was reading the tickets in a sharp tone. The others bent to work, heads down, with a quiet intensity. It was a treat to watch.

The cooking shows on TV have elevated line cooking to a new level. The restaurant business has always been a macho profession, but because of Anthony Bourdain and Gordon Ramsey, everyone now knows exactly how macho - late nights, stress, competition and the hint of danger. There's a performance aspect to the whole thing as well.

Speaking of cooking, has anyone noticed the following tendency among Top Chef contestants?

The nervous chef describes his or her dish: 'I've made a honey-glazed (whatever) with a little bit of (whatever), over a bed of (whatever). It's tossed with a little bit of (whatever), covered in a (whatever) gelee, a little bit of (whatever) and finished with a (whatever) jus. Enjoy.'

The operative phrase is not the 'whatever', nor the French terms thrown in, but 'the little bit of'. And when the nervous contestant speaks, the phrase is reduced to 'alittlebitta', over and over.

I just want to get on the show to have the chance to say, 'I cooked a whopping amount of (whatever). Enjoy.'


Eva said...

I went out to dinner with a friend on Wednesday. We had bad food and a whopping amount of wine. Anyways, I was food poisoned and spent yesterday in bed. I thought I was going to die.
I survived! :-)
But I felt so sorry for myself, I had a several servings of ice cream to keep my spirits up :-)

I love your picture today. It always amazes me when I find those quiet streets in a busy city like NYC. I mean, in a city with millions of people living there, what would the chanses of finding a quiet street be? Thanks to good city planning, they exist.

Kitty said...

You are awake either way too early or too late. Whatever the case, unless you have an ultra-demanding cat that wakes you up out of hunger, you should be in bed!!

I'm so sorry you were food poisoned. I think it's one of the worst maladies, to be ambushed by your own sustenance. No fair.

I hope you told the restaurant what happened. I was food poisoned at 'Eleven Madison Park', a gorgeous and tasty restaurant. They gave me a gift certificate for an untainted meal that I used later.

I love the East Village. There are grimy bits, but some lovely ones too.

Anonymous said...

An interesting picture. I would expect Jimmy Stewart to step out of this house on his way to Washington.

Kizz said...

I love that street and I love this picture of that street!

Kitty said...

Thanks Mr Lincoln
it's a timeless area, yes.

Hi Kizz
I love that street, too!

Mab said...

Sounds like a good night out,it all adds to the atmosphere of a place I think.Im going out for a meal tonight for my sis's birthday, there will be 8 of us.Sadly though there wont be an open kitchen.Love the pic,it's just what I imagine a street in New York to be like.

BrianC said...

Yes, like Julia Child, who was never shy about proclaiming that she'd used a wheelbarrow full of real butter in her recipes.

As for the East Village . . . just give me Veselka any time. There's no "little bit of" anything there! The theme is food = ballast. Mmmmm, stuffed cabbage. (Drooling like Homer Simpson.)

Kelly said...

A beautiful photo! I loved looking at all of the different ironwork!

The Barber Bunch said...

ohhhhhh.... I love this picture.


Tammy said...

What a beautiful photo Kitty!

Sonia A. Mascaro said...

Wonderful photo, Kitty! I think that black and white was a great choice for this picture. LOVE seeing this architecture and this street... I wish I was there... I would love to know NY! Thanks for sharing!

Knoxville Girl said...

Such a beautifully composed photo; I think the black and white brings out more architectural details - because colors are not competing for attention. I feel like I've been here before (I haven't) maybe because of seeing this kind of scene in movies (and children's books, perhaps?)

babooshka said...

Had to be B&W for ths. I could bore you with all the iconic film scenes this reminds me of, but the list would be endless. Again you remind me that even in a big city peace and space can be found. You do have knack for these timeless images.

Ming the Merciless said...

The Gordan Ramsey show is a bit of a joke, in my opinion. They play up the drama for the audience.

I stop watching reality shows almost altogether now. It's really frustrating because you know it's edited to convey a story.

Kitty said...

Thanks everyone!
The street is very handsome, one of my favorites. I wish I could bottle it up and squirrel it away.

Ming, Mark and I tried to watch Hell's Kitchen tonight and it just didn't take. Not sure if it's the lighting or what, but we're over it.

tam said...

I love Food TV! My husband's favorite is Gordon Ramsey. Funny, (he'd kill me if he knew I was saying this in a comment box) when Brad cooks, he rushes around the kitchen as if he's on Iron Chef or racing against the clock working at a top restaurant. It's fun to watch. He should have been a chef, he's a really good cook.

I love the photo. It is very good. You did a great job!

Kitty said...

Hi Tam
You're lucky that Brad's a good cook. And how fun he makes it is even better.
I wish I could cook quickly. I just mosey along with it.

penpusher said...

For some reason Hell's Kitchen did not go down well with me, I much prefer Kitchen Nightmares.

It's funny how Gordon potrays himself as such an angry potty mouth on television. I watched a documentary about him the other day, the camera followed him in his own household and he's actually a funny, albeit slightly ADD guy...

Kitty said...

Mark and I are Kitchen Nightmare fans, too. It's addictive.
I'm going to look for that documentary. We'd love to see it!

vicar said...

Your photos keep making me homesick - but I love them.