After leaving Hawai’i, I comforted myself by saying that I took a little piece of the islands with me. While this may strike some as cliché, the actual truth is that I lined my pockets with enough recipes from bakers and chefs I admired to open a satellite location of L&L Drive-In. And the polaroids (we mustn’t forget the polaroids)….
Dear readers, Buttertooth must apologize to all three of you for our recent extended absence. The entire club is back on the mainland and comfortably ensconced in St. Louis: we’ve found new digs, good light for food photography, and several local menus that we’re in the process of eating our way through. Suffice to say, home is where you hang your apron.
Now back to our regularly scheduled programming, already in progress….
All of humanity can essentially be divided into two groups:
those who split diverse populations into a reductive dichotomy and those who
don’t those who dip crackers in their chili and those who dip cornbread. While I’ve been a proud saltine for many years, I can no longer resist the undeniable sexiness of freshly baked cornbread. Sop up a soup, dress it down with butter and jam, or use it to line the pathway of your savory spin on a witch’s gingerbread house (I’ve always thought bacon would lure more orphans than gumdrops). …
I don’t know how it happened, but we find ourselves in the last breaths of 2016. This year’s slipped by in a haze of recipes, memories, friendship, and the occasional bout of back pain. My months can’t mark themselves by anything more distinctive than a feeling—for instance, May reminds me of rolling on the floor with a lower back spasm, July’s abs hurt from laughing too loudly, and October, well . . . I can only assume I’ll find October hiding under the couch after watching Hocus Pocus more times than strictly necessary and eating enough candy corn to remind myself why I don’t like candy corn. Sometimes the world moves so quickly that I can’t catch my breath. And when that happens, I force myself to slow down and sit for a minute. I’ll watch the sky moving slowly, pet the dog until her eyes roll back a little, look at pictures from my youth without noticing how much older everyone’s grown. I’ll listen to Otis Redding’s “(Sittin’ On) The Dock of the Bay” and marvel at how clichés really do come true. Luckily, I do all my best sitting at the breakfast table….
I pose to you the eternal brunch quandary: sweet or savory, sweet or savory. The debate runs through my head on an endless loop, like cartoon birds circling a knockout, as I pour over the menu. Drinks are easy; just order three (for me—coffee, diet coke, and a mimosa) as they all serve different and necessary functions insofar as brunch’s concerned. I usually make conversation with my companions as though I’m not completely overwhelmed by the prospect of choosing between an egg sandwich with house-cured bacon and its sexy-sounding aioli or the Belgian waffle with mac-nut sauce. And since I pig out in the beverage department (or should I say camel out since we’re talking liquids?), ordering both is simply not an option….
Hey, St. Louis, I see you, lady, with your Cardinals jerseys and your weird food. Never had a slinger? Well, then you’ve probably also never pronounced the word four like “far” (as in “merge onto highway farty-far”) or eaten a Baba Ghanoush pizza. That’s just how we do in the city that often sleeps. Of all the marvelous and strange concoctions St. Louis claims as its own, however, my favorite is—without peer—the gooey butter cake….
Today in outlandish claims with little basis in fact, I present to you a timeless food pairing. While I’m no culinary historian, nor do I have an issue of Bon Appétit within reach that I can shamelessly skim for words like “lardo” or “semifreddo” (It’s a-me-a, Mario!) to lend my argument legitimacy, I’m pretty sure smoked salmon and corn first found each other in the eighties. What a heady time to be alive!!—I picture women with double shoulder-padded blazers and capital B bangs eating smoked salmon on a corn blini while also silently stomaching the wage gap. I imagine Cyndi Lauper writing “True Colors” once she realized pink and yellow go so well together. I see Ronald Reagan in the oval office, ignoring AIDS while insisting that Jelly Belly finally manufacture a savory flavor. I cling to my special edition Cabbage Patch Doll, Sally Cornhole, whose favorite food is listed as a smoked salmon & maize omelet….
Like certain other members of my generation, I tend to dismiss trends without giving them a proper shot. That’s right, I’ve never seen Braveheart, and I think Mel Gibson’s attitude over the last two decades has born my decision out. Choices. But—knowing full well that I’m a slave to the sexy, sexy food blogger aesthetic—I love avocado toast. Fudging love it. Crisp some bread, smear that ripe avo, and add whatever sort of nonsense floats your boat….
Few weather events can disrupt your plans when you live in Hawaii—outside of rain. And, if you’re flexible, that rain doesn’t muck up too much unless it pours for days on end, as it could in the event of a tropical storm. Then you may begin to believe your entire island has been waterboarded, and you’d cop to anything for a beach day….
Kyle and I recently celebrated our four year anniversary here in Hawaii. When I dreamed of moving to ‘paradise,’ and the reality of 6 months of vet visits and the liquidation of all my material assets had yet to set in, I harbored a naive vision of what my new life would be like. It wasn’t quite Gilligan or Hawaii 5-0, but it did involve picking fruit from the tree in my yard, driving a VW bus spray-painted variegated colors, and waking up early to salute the sun on a surfboard. Knock my hubris all you want, but I knew there were many different ways to live in Hawaii, and this represented my idealized version. And when moving all the way across the globe seemed scary or less than feasible, I would picture this life in all its idyllic perfection. To be fair, sometimes I also fantasize about joining the Parisian royal court, with an unlimited supply of macarons and champers at my disposal, so I get when I’m being unrealistic. “Let them drink wine!” if you will….