Joel stared down at a stainless-steel tray of sea-scallops, fascinated by how the kitchen lamp brought out the molluscs’ shiny, translucent interior despite the fact that he flash-fried it for ten seconds with just olive oil moments before, and conscious that they were sweet and thick enough despite a light dusting of smoked lime-rind and a dusting of crumbled pistachios. They were perfect. Absolutely perfect, but again he felt a nervous pang — one that he hasn’t felt in a while.
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Trust Jennifer Lawrence (aka J-Law) to vocalize what everyone’s thinking on the Oscars Red Carpet. She said it most eloquently: “I’m starving. Is there food here?” Unfortunately for Jennifer, the Oscars are too classy for a Golden Globes eat-while-you-watch ceremony, but directly following the three and a half hour soirée, the winners and losers alike are greeted with a spread of mouth-watering plates at the exclusive Governors Ball. Wolfgang Puck was at the helm of the Governors Ball menu this year for the 19th time, and after so many years of catering to Hollywood’s A-listers, he’s learned a thing or two.
Thanksgiving, the best day of the year (arguably), came and went. Hopefully you filled up on every pie imaginable, but for next year, why not try something out of the box that shares some of the classic fall flavors and adds another important ingredient, chocolate? Here are a few recipes for desserts that will make you want to save even room for dessert.
As a pescetarian of only two years, I am constantly seeking to expand my knowledge of vegetarian cuisine. I was thrilled to learn that this weekend, the nonprofit Boston Vegetarian Society was holding its annual Vegetarian Food Festival. After all, what better way to broaden my horizons than by eating free food?
Fellow writer Kit and I hopped on the T to the Reggie Lewis Athletic Center, cameras and voracious appetites in tow. I had high expectations, and the festival (or more aptly, extravaganza) did not disappoint. This two-day public exhibition celebrated all things vegetarian. Not only did the event contain copious amounts of samples, but it also featured cooking demos and a variety of educational presentations by experts on nutrition and health. The exhibitors hailed from all over the east coast and marketed everything from vegan chocolate to organic co-op memberships to DIY mushroom-growing kits.
As much as many of us would love to run off to Paris for a few months and take a course at l’Ecole Ritz Escoffier, there are starting points we can embark on in Boston to fulfill our culinary ambitions. For those of us looking to improve our culinary repertoire, those of us tired of repetitive Dewick fare, or for those of us looking to impress a date (Valentine’s Day is right around the corner), there are some quick and accessible cooking classes available to sharpen our skills. In preparation for the thick of the semester, we present to you some cookig classes to take before free time becomes a rare commodity yet again.
Le Cordon Bleu
215 First Street Cambridge, MA 02142
Le Cordon Bleu, whose worldwide campuses have produced outstanding chefs like Julia Child (who more than sufficiently cancels out other less-deserving graduates, like Giada de Laurentiis), offers special one-day events open to the general public. Usually on a Saturday for a three hour session, these classes range from a class on Valentine’s Chocolates to Basic Cooking Techniques. Information can be requested on their website to sign up for the courses.
Being the restaurant critic for the New York Times brings with it the great burden of having to fill huge culinary shoes. Sam Sifton, the most recent Times restaurant critic, was recently promoted to National Editor. It remains to be seen who will fill Sifton’s shoes (or perhaps we’re still trying to find someone who will fill Bruni’s shoes). Frank Bruni, Sifton’s predecessor, wrote outrageous critiques of restaurants and was perhaps best-known for his negative reviews of restaurants. He wrote that the lamb kebabs at Charles “should be called tartare” and that the chicken Kiev at the Russian Tea Room was a “rubbery impersonation of airline food.” While Sifton was perhaps not quite as mean, he does leave the New York Times canon of restaurant reviews with some memorable lines. He warned readers that the Vitello tonnato at Nellow “tastes like sliced shoe” and that a veal cutlet at Kenmare is “essentially a breaded and fried laptop case.”
Among the sarcastic zingers and the lavish praises, New York Times restaurant critics are perhaps some of the most influential figures of the food world. They are the tastemakers of restaurant culture in New York, which by default dictates how food works in the rest of the world (not that I have any bias at all). As the Times is at this crossroads, we decided to highlight some of the most important Times restaurant critics throughout the paper’s culinary history:
After serving as the Times’s restaurant critic, Reichl became the editor-in-chief of Gourmet magazine until it went out of print. As restaurant critic, Reichl became known for her detailed restaurant reviews and her elaborate disguises at restaurants. Her objective became to present her readers with how restaurants were when serving to a seemingly ordinary diner. Since her stint at the Times and at Gourmet, Reichl has judged for Top Chef Masters and has been involved with GiltTaste.com.
BOBO: Bourgeois Bohemian
“The word bobo, [David] Brooks’s most famous coinage, is a portmanteau of the words bourgeois and bohemian. The term is used by Brooks to describe the 1990s descendants of the yuppies. Often of the corporate upper class, they claim highly tolerant views of others, purchase expensive and exotic items, and believe American society to be meritocratic.” – Wikipedia
As college students (and in due time, graduates), we are well aware of the realities we have to face outside the ivy-bricked walls. There are dinners with friends, dinners with co-workers, dinners with your boss’…assistant, and so forth. There are also more important dinners that require one to put on their Sunday Best, and here we mean social etiquette that transcends basic table manners – those that are characteristic of social climbing.
And that’s what this series will be about. Tasty Tufts will teach you some skills (some ridiculously random, others purely satirical) that may or may not be useful should you choose to apply them on the field. So let’s investigate dinner conversations as a sociological art. Let us better ourselves as BOBO (Bourgeois Bohemian – a term coined by pop-sociologist and author of Bobo’s in Paradise David Brooks) conversationalists that will win the heart of trust-fund babies.
Below is our first official chapter of our Dinner Sociology series.
Now the format will be simple. There will be a quiz, which will act as a revealing mechanism as well as a guide that will indicate where you stand on the class-placement level. Don’t be nervous and answer these questions truthfully, as it is only to your benefit, because not only are these quiz questions a test, but also a guide that will mold your beliefs and groom you into a more polished dinner conversationalist. Don’t worry – eventually you’ll be worthy enough to dine on vichyssoise and caviar blinis at socialite dinners. Secondly, there will be an explanation paragraph that will explain your results in depth. Don’t forget to add up your points as you go.
This quiz puts you in the hot seat of the one being surrounded by curious and annoying nosey personalities. You’ll answer the questions, not ask them. Until you are adept at this art will you be able to cunningly throw answers and belittle newbies. Good luck!
Let’s start simple. You’re not at your future mother-in-law’s glitzy Park Avenue townhouse, nor are you at the Astor Bar at the St. Regis. Let’s just say it’s almost 10:30 pm (not exactly midnight, but it’s late for dinner nonetheless), and after going out to see Madame Butterfly at the Opera house with some random but deceptively wealthy people you met through your mutual friend George, you all decide to finish off with a healthy post-dinner binge at Blue Ribbon Sushi. You’d fired off your orders of chopped toro on rice and a clear soup (whatever the circumstances, please do not be caught dead ordering “salmon sushi” or “California roll”) and now these rando’s finally get the chance to spill their load on you. PLEASE NOTE that honesty is absolutely crucial – that is, your answers may not necessarily be the truth (is it always?) but you will likely answer in that fashion.
1) “So Jorge (not your real name – chill there is no racism implied here), we’re absolutely dying to know. What did you think of that opera?”
- Stunning, absolutely stunning. The lyrical qualities in her voice is just magical. (+5 pts)
- Swell! Cannot wait for a sequel! Do they have like a Mr. Butterfly or something? (-5 pts)
- This is the first time I’ve watched an opera, and honestly I don’t like it. I did like ABBA’s Dancing Queen when they were on Broadway, though (-15 pts)
- Um, I thought it was fairly decent (+0 pts)
- I found the singer a bit lacking in her vocal ability. Preferred her in Carmen, to be honest. Also, the costume design there is like Marie Antoinette meets Batman, in a horribly twisted way(+15 pts)
2) “That is agreed – we feel the same way. One of these days we should probably go see a ballet, perhaps after pre-theater dinner at Café Boulud.”
- Oh yes that would be very nice (+0 pts)
- Cool beans! How much is dinner and the tickets to the ballet? I think I received a free coupon for a ballet a year ago and it is still valid. Oh wait, nevermind, that was a AMC coupon for Black Swan (-10 pts)
- Yes, please! Please have dinner at my place – I’ll make fried chicken and burritos. And then we can go to my little sister’s ballet recital. In fact I can get you all tickets! They’re free. (-20 pts)
- Café Boulud does not offer pre-theater menus. You must be talking about his other restaurant, DB Bistro Moderne. It serves a mean foie-gras and wagyu burger. Not Romeo and Juliet though, let’s do Giselle. I heard’ they’re bringing in serious talent for that one (+15 pts)
3) “Your chopped toro on rice looks splendid”
- It’s mine! Don’t even think about it *slather saliva all over surface* (-20 pts)
- It’s the most expensive item on the menu. And that equates to goodness. (-5 pts)
- Chef Kikkoman could have rendered the fat a bit more though; nonetheless, it’s still quite something. Would you like to try a little? (+15 pts)
- *Polite smile* it does, doesen’t it? (+0 pts)
- Yeah I picked this because they give you free rice refills for only this dish. Next time I’m coming with my family and we’re just going to eat of this with 5 refills. The pickles that come with are free anyway (-10 pts)
Hey there Fellow Foodies,
We’re back and better than ever! We hope you have a sumptuous fall with plenty of delightful offerings to feet those college-hungry stomachs. Keep your eyes peeled for some new articles, concepts, and a new breed of intellectual foodies on our staff.