Monday, March 30, 2009

Goddess in the headlights

First, a shout out to the god and goddesses who arranged Saturday: Karin Bugge aka Altadenahiker, Susan C the meticulous feaster of Open Mouth, Insert Fork, Timothy Rutt of Altadenablog,and Debi of Altadena Above It All, Taking the virtual out of reality and putting the picnic in for all us bloggers. Delightful goodies everywhere we turned!

Now, an abrupt segue to our regularly scheduled program.

Does the prospect of entertaining lower your boiling point and raise your blood pressure? What about entertaining people who write, rather feistily at times, about their passion for food? Do you now have innovative and prosecutable uses for that freshly sharpened set of knives?

David Shaw, food and wine critic for the LA Times, ran a column once about never being invited to dinner parties by his friends. They were all too crazy intimidated, it appeared, by his love of food and his knowledge of wine. After that column ran, he received dozens of letters and invitations from his readership, and he accepted, and wrote about, a few of these dinner parties. As I read those columns I thought that was a very sweet gesture. And when his columns went missing I found that the universe had rewarded his sweetness with a swift and fatal brain tumor.

I bring this up to let a friend who has publicly confessed to being intimidated by the prospect of hosting a number of her food-obsessed friends know she is not alone. But in response to this I say:

The best food is prepared with love and by someone else.

Example A)
Migas, in my family at least, are corn tortillas fried til crisp, then scrambled into a couple of eggs, topped with a moderate or heaping amount of sour cream (salt is essential, for this lass). I make this every now and then, usually for the kids. What I make, however, is never as good as those my mother makes for me.

Example B)
The best damn pot-au-feu I ever tried was made by a beloved friend who rarely cooked. I have never equaled that simple, delicious dish.

Example C)
Each year my dear friend hosts a dinner party. Her guests refuse any changes in her menu. And the twice baked potatoes are incomparable.

So, forget about cooking with gas! Cook with love and you've got it made.


  1. I couldn't agree more.

    And I like that idea for a twice-baked potato party.

  2. OMG! What a striking picture you've taken of me. You've got the eyes just right.

  3. Yes, congrats to Tim, and his current group of female companions!
    Great work!

  4. Migas are on the menu anytime for you my daughter. I love you more than the other one. Maga

  5. The dinner party menu is forever set in stone...twice baked potatoes and all!

  6. Anonymoose--Anonymice? So happy to hear from the two of you!
    CP-it was good fun
    M--Yeah, I came up upon you unexpected, hence the candid shot. S--we still need to chat about French flicks!

  7. David Shaw was the Times' media critic during the long-ago era when special correspondents there could get away with producing one to two pieces a year. He was controversial - to say the least - amongst his fellow journalists because his critique often turned on members of his own profession.

    I liked him much better - and thought he was having a much better time - when he unexpectedly morphed into a food writer. He was no less laser-focused and critical, but his humanity came out. I loved his stories about the dinner parties and was shocked and saddened by his sudden death.

  8. Karen--one to two pieces a year, wow, I had noooo idea--

  9. Oh, absolutely.

    This was back in the "velvet coffin" days of the 1980s.

    The best example: A pair of investigative writers who worked on a series on Scientology for nearly five years.