Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Summer renovations and developments

By daring at all to open the
subject warned of, above, an
innocent seasonality in the
structure of the problem im-
mediately divides a reader-
ship already tested repeat-
edly by opinion, into halves
separated by the Equator.
We must allow, therefore, a
reasonably ambiguous portrait
of ourselves to launch this
impartial inquiry. We cannot
allow one man's Summer to
stand for another man's envy,
burrow as one may toward the
preferred hemisphere.

Who can know how much those
synchronised rotations of an
academic year have thrust us
upon the season of abandon-
ment to self-discipline, so
repeatedly, as to have endow-
ed that liberation with such
residual interferences of hab-
itual "achievement," as to o-
verlay our innocence with ac-
quired reflexes of guilt for
simple play? Do we ask if this
is fair; do we even remember

There, one may find oneself,
turning a simple mushroom bav-
arois from the cookbook of Le
Gavroche - summer camp child's
play of yore (recipe to follow)
- in one of those ongoing fits
of renovation and self-improve-
ment which found us reading Ol-
iver Twist in childhood on the
sand or, dare we say, the snowy
slope. The inertia of competi-
tion with time, itself, is at
its most visibly extenuated in
Summer, needing to look good.
Still, Dickens on deprivation
pairs nicely in the mind loosed
upon a season of free-range re-
freshment, with its rarer del-

Fitzgerald, usually our re-
liable guide to such distinc-
tions on either side of par-
adise, closed his Summeriest
of all creations with that
timeless reference to a beat-
ing back against the current,
which we come to identify as
the self-selected Summer syl-
labus. I hazard the guess that 
we revisit - relish - the con-
duct of those encounters for
their trials of our framing,
of desire and extrapolation.
We mean no betrayal of self-
improvement, to improvise ap-
proaches offering pleasure.

We are never reading one thing,
imaging one ingredient. I hap-
pen to have open Michel Roux,
and E.L. Doctorow, virtuosi in
the simplicity of superior cui-

         .. I stood across the narrow street in the
         weeds and rocks overlooking the tracks and
         demonstrated my latest accomplishment, the
         juggling of a set of objects of unequal 
         weight, a Galilean maneuver involving two
         rubber balls, a navel orange, an egg, and
         a black stone, wherein the art of the thing
         is in creating a flow nevertheless, main-
         taining the apogee from a kind of rhythm 
         of compensating throws, and it is a trick
         of such consummate discipline that the bet-
         ter it is done the easier and less remark-
         able it looks to the uninitiated .. I was
         juggling my own self as well in a kind of
         matching spiritual feat ..

2.5 cups white button
  mushrooms, thinly

salt, white pepper,

3.33 cups cream

3 sheets gelatin

lemon juice

           Put the mushrooms in a saucepan, season well,
           add half the cream, and bring to a boil; the
           mushrooms will be cooked in two minutes. Soak
           the gelatin in cold water until soft, squeeze
           dry, and add to the mushrooms; purée until
           smooth. Let cool.

           When nearly set, fold in the remaining cream,
           lightly whipped, check the seasoning, and add
           a little lemon juice if needed. Cover and re-
           frigerate for at least six hours

           Using two tablespoons dipped in hot water,
           shape into quenelles and serve with toasted

E.L. Doctorow
Billy Bathgate
Random House, 1989©

  Dedicated to his great
  editor, Jason Epstein,
  whose own Eating: A
  Memoir, 2009, belongs.

Michel Roux, Jr
Le Gavroche Cookbook
Weidenfeld & Nicolson, 2003©

No comments:

Post a Comment