Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Bonus Reading:  How April Bloomfield of The Spotted Pig passed Mario Batali's 15-second interview test:
           Friedman called. Neither he nor Batali had ever tasted Bloomfield’s cooking, but Batali said that if he met her he’d be able to tell in fifteen seconds whether she was right for the job. (Friedman and Batali are at least as good at mythmaking as they are at spotting talent.) So, in the spring of 2003, Bloomfield flew to New York for a job interview that turned out to be something between a fraternity rush and a competitive eating event: tuna burgers at Union Square Café, dumplings at Joe’s Shanghai, lobster rolls at Pearl Oyster Bar, pastrami sandwiches at the Carnegie Deli, apple cider at the Greenmarket in Union Square. Friedman’s pièce de résistance was a blowout feast—“this ten-hour, like, eating fest” at Lupa, which Batali partly owns—that only Bloomfield seems to recall. “We had spaghetti with eels, which I’d never had before,” she said. “There was headcheese, on a slightly warm plate, so that when you picked it up it dripped off your fork. Then we went to Babbo and ate there, too—lifeboat squid with caperberries, beef-cheek ravioli, stuffed quail.” Bloomfield was in: “I’d never seen a quail tunnel-boned. It totally blew my mind.” Thanks to a missing fingernail and some scars on her forearms, she had passed the fifteen-second test. Friedman recalled, “Mario said, ‘It means she’ll sacrifice her body. She’s a star. I can tell.’ ”

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

From Marie Antoinette

On Proust's Olfactory Sense

Much has been made of Proust's madaleine, but in this example, we see his union of language and smell intersect in a way that proves that the olfactory and the brain must be conjoined in a manner of exceedingly powerful sensitivity.  This is the narrator describing the rooms of his Aunt Leonie's house:

The air of those rooms was saturated with the fine bouquet of a silence so nourishing, so succulent that I could not enter them without a sort of greedy enjoyment, particularly on those first mornings, chilly still, of the Easter holidays, when I could taste it more fully, because I had just arrived then at Combray: before I went in to wish my aunt good day I would be kept waiting a little time in the outer room, where the sun, a wintry sun still, had crept in to warm itself before the fire, lighted already between its two brick sides and plastering all the room and everything in it with a smell of soot, making the room like one of those great open hearths which one finds in the country, or one of the canopied mantelpieces in old castles under which one sits hoping that in the world outside it is raining or snowing, hoping almost for a catastrophic deluge to add the romance of shelter and security to the comfort of a snug retreat; I would turn to and fro between the prayer-desk and the stamped velvet armchairs, each one always draped in its crocheted antimacassar, while the fire, baking like a pie the appetising smells with which the air of the room, was thickly clotted, which the dewy and sunny freshness of the morning had already 'raised' and started to 'set,' puffed them and glazed them and fluted them and swelled them into an invisible though not impalpable country cake, an immense puff-pastry, in which, barely waiting to savour the crustier, more delicate, more respectable, but also drier smells of the cupboard, the chest-of-drawers, and the patterned wall-paper I always returned with an unconfessed gluttony to bury myself in the nondescript, resinous, dull, indigestible, and fruity smell of the flowered quilt.
- From: Swann's Way, Vol. I

From what I understand of our sensations is that if sight has the capacity to detect depth via parallax, and hearing can detect sound via the varying pressure of air against the cilia in our eardrums, then the olfactory must be some kind of mashup of these senses.  It must have the capacity to enfold memory in a way that is inherently "brain-like", by which I mean it is multidimensional.  Perhaps the olfactory bulb was the first model for the brain in the evolutionary spectrum, before specialized senses like hearing and sight were even possible.

Monday, June 1, 2015

"You better hide that because homegirl will snatch a baked good"


A New Food Truck and Craft Market Thrives on Hunt Street

It's so amazing how the Hunt Street Market has taken off.

Once deemed a threat to the Durham Farmer's Market, the Hunt Street Market is now drawing more and more visitors each weekend. 

I remember back in the Winter of 2011 when we were the only ones setting up there (OnlyBurger would join us occasionally), and then BikeCoffee came, then PiePushers, then Monuts, until the line of trucks stretched down the length of Hunt Street. 

It's a wonderful feeling to wake early in the morning and bring the families and individuals of Durham fresh-baked organic breads, pastries, and donuts. 

Thanks to all of our customers for supporting local business and helping a local market to grow!