I still don’t feel like a foodie, but Anthony Bourdain has been eating away at me like a Chinese water torture. It’s been impossible to watch and read as much of his work as I have and dodge osmosis. I’ve been letting certain things creep into my kitchen, like sea salt and peppercorns, udon and soba noodles, memmi, and real cranberries. In just 2 years, my cranberry relish from scratch has already become a Wormald Thanksgiving tradition.
Guided by Cats Working reader Adele, I’ve roasted a whole chicken stuffed with herbs and lemon, with butter rubbed under the skin. If you had any idea how upsetting I find headless, hollowed-out birds with bumpy yellow hides and their guts in a bag, you’d know what a milestone this was.
Just last night, I morphed disparate Christmas Eve leftovers into a delectable pizza.
Thanks to Tony, I’m getting culinarily creative and it’s working!
…So my mother made this roast beef for Christmas Day and was complaining that no grocery store stocked béarnaise sauce in a jar. With Bourdain-inspired bravado, I scoffed, “How hard can it be to make from scratch?”
I Googled some recipes, and they ran the gamut of complexity. But one labeled “Never-Fail” contained only butter, egg yolks, tarragon, a microwave, and a blender.
I figured I could make it in a pan over low heat and skip the blender cleanup.
I went to my parents’ house for dinner prepared to amaze them with my béarnaise — until I unwrapped the Christmas wish they’d fulfilled — Bourdain’s Les Halles Cookbook. I immediately flipped to his béarnaise recipe on page 252 and made the mistake of reading this note from Tony aloud:
Note: Know this. If you haven’t made béarnaise from scratch before, you will surely fuck this sauce up.
The room was quiet until my mother finally mumbled, “That’s OK. Never mind. We don’t really need it,” and we ate the beef naked.
But I swear, Tony, I’m gonna do it — as many times as it takes to get it right. And I’m gonna try some other recipes from your book. When they film Karen & Tony, I want Julianne Moore to play a thinner, prettier, younger me and George Clooney to be you.
Yesterday, Tony wrote an Op-Ed piece called “Foodie Nation” for the New York Times. I think I smelled a whiff from his new book, Medium Raw.
Right after Morgan, Cindy and I met the Bourdains at the Capital Food Fight in mid-November, they were headed to Miami with Eric Ripert. Reader urbanjoanna found a few great pictures from their weekend in the sun. It’s the best photo of Ariane yet. At only 2 ½, she seems to be showing signs of Dad’s height.
Chowhound has Maine abuzz with rumors that Bourdain will be visiting Rockland in January to film No Res. Maine in January! What’s he thinking?
But at least on Friday, January 15, Tony will be basking in the sun at the (Grand) Cayman Cookout, giving a talk on Seven Mile Beach. Saturday evening he’ll be at Calico Jack’s, also on the beach, to man the grill with Eric Ripert for a barbecue. On Sunday he’ll help judge a cooking competition for local chefs, and that evening will pitch in to prepare a 7-course dinner with all the other celebrity chefs (last year he skipped that event). It’s already sold out.
And the honors just keep rolling in. PressDemocrat.com has named No Reservations one of the top 10 reality-based TV series of the decade.
Only 2 weeks to go until Season 6 of No Reservations premiers on the Travel Channel January 11.