08 October 2007
Peppers and Pears
There were a lot of peppers.
Green peppers. Red, Yellow, and Orange peppers. Jalapeño peppers. Lemon peppers. Cayenne peppers. Black pepper. Lots of peppers.
There were tears. There were laughs... lots of laughs. But there were tears. Tears full of pepper oil. Like I said before: this was an exercise in challenging the senses. Roughing up the taste buds.
This was food that looked back at you and dared you to eat it.
But food that cared. Food that wanted the best for you. Food for food-eaters like a mountain for a mountain-climber. Good for you; necessary; dangerous.
This was the scene at a little EOG in Canton this last Saturday. And while I'll leave any reviews of the meal to the connoisseurs who wined and dined on it, I'd like to give you the view from the kitchen. A kitchen serving friends; a kitchen alive.
Didn't really speak for the first hour I was there. Was solely dedicated in my concentration to the pears.
The plan was to prepare and serve an organic vegan meal for a dozen friends and a small kitchen staff. Prep began on the thing to be served last: Brandied Pears.
Simple recipe: pears, raisins, VSOP, white wine, and sugar. Slow cooked covered for four and a half hours.
Those pears were among the most gnarled I'd ever seen. They were pears who'd spent a lot of time thinking about being pears. Scarred by even the lightest rake of a fingernail, I sliced them slowly and with as much patience as I can ever muster -- Lao-Tzu on the mind.
I liked the idea of starting prep on the last thing that would be served. It gave me a sense of where the story would lead. It was really my job just to bring the story to fruition.
Now and then people would walk passed the open kitchen window. And I felt funny. Like I was more pear than person.