Thursday, December 4, 2014

Preserved lemons iii

In another of the Council's more
spirited races, District 4, in
north central Austin, Greg Casar
and Laura Pressley beat out six
other candidates to advance to a
run-off. Pressley recently attack-
ed Casar, saying he was unfit to
represent the District because he
did not believe in God.

                I didn't have any money at the time, 
                and I didn't have a home or a kitch-
                en, but a rich Texan college mate of
                mine had both, so I borrowed his.

                I was very nervous to be cooking for
                Jim [Beard] with no professional back-
                up staff to make me look good, and up
                to the morning of the day of the din-
                ner, I still couldn't decide what to
                serve. I wandered around Chinatown in
                San Francisco, looking for my usual
                inspiration from the markets. When I
                saw several deep-sea urchins, each the
                size of a large grapefruit, I knew I
                must have them.

                Once I bought them, I was faced with
                the problem of what to do with them.
                From somewhere in the dark recesses
                of my mind (perhaps from one of my fa-
                vorite books, La Bonne Cuisine du Comte
                de Nice by Jacques Médecin, or Jean-
                Noel Escudier's La Véritable Cuisine
                Provençale et Niçoise) came a memory
                of a sea urchin sauce that could be
                used as a basis for a soufflé. Right,
                I thought, soufflés they will be. By
                the time all this occurred to me, it
                was too late to buy individual souf-
                flé dishes, so the shells would have
                to do.

                With Jim and the other guests wait-
                ing at the table, my heart was in my
                throat as I opened the oven door. But
                when I did, I saw .. the spines were
                intact, a wonderful ocean smell waft-
                ed into the kitchen, and best of all,
                the soufflé mixture had risen above
                the crater-like openings of shells,
                puffy, pink-beige, and beautiful. I
                rushed them to the table.

                Jim tried a spoonful. No word was
                said. He looked up slowly, fully a-
                ware of his massively theatrical ef-
                fect and, rolling his eyes slowly a-
                round the room, said: My God, that
                is the best thing I have ever tasted.

Edgar Walters and
  Christine Ayala
In Austin, City Council
  Run-Off Elections Big
  on Drama
The Texas Tribune©
December 3, 2014 

Jeremiah Tower
Donald Sultan, paintings
Jeremiah Tower Cooks
  250 Recipes from an
  American Master
op. cit.

No comments:

Post a Comment