If the age-old phrase that “you are what you eat” manifests itself literally, I’d be one giant avocado rolling around the streets of New York City #deadsexy. All jokes aside, many of us don’t take the time out to recognize just how much food and the art of dining shape our collective identities, memories and social politics apart from the obvious physical implications food has on our waistlines. I got a quick reminder of just how significant each bite lends to food for thought when I accompanied the motley crew at Ace Hotel New York as they hosted this year’s Food Book Fair. Here are 4 hearty lessons I learned from foodies & bookworms alike:
1) “Come to the table with an empty stomach and leave with a full heart.” ~ Warren Bobrow aka “The Cocktail Whisper”
On opening night of the Food Book Fair, Warren Bobrow discussed his latest book, The Craft Cocktail Compendium, which encompasses a mixture of contemporary apothecary cocktails and silent nods to Robert Louis Stevenson. I later struck up a conversation with Warren about the power of authentic connections through food. Warren expressed that his favorite personal mantra is, “Come to the table with an empty stomach and leave with a full heart” because by doing so, one will, in a more disarming way, gain a better understanding and appreciation of others and the places they come from. Take a seat around the table so that everyone can share food, drinks and candid conversations about life and witness how much more enriched you feel afterwards.
The Barrow House
1296 Van Houten Avenue, Clifton, NJ 07013
July 10, 2017, 6:00 – 9:00 pm
Are you mystified by cheese? Do you see a cheese plate and instinctively think that it’s an expensive dessert? Have you ever taken a cheese class?
If your answers are yes, no and no, then you’ll probably be hungry – and thirsty by the time you finished reading. Why? Because cheese is not pretentious, nor is it only for dessert! In fact cheese is something that is made by hand in the same manner as it has for hundreds of years- by farmers! There are certainly machine-made cheeses, but for the intent of this article, all the cheeses are made by hand in the fashion of the cheese maker. So, you should not be mystified. Far from mystified, what is needed to truly TASTE cheese is to cut off your ability of smelling the cheese first. There are many taste receptors in our mouths that are incredibly sensitive, but unfortunately most cheese is tasted with our noses first.
Located in the trendy-eastern fringes of SoHo, where the old city collides with Nolita, the French Cheese Board in its handsome and sleek space. It is filled with ample sunlight and is a very friendly place indeed. This outpost of French culture in the Big City, seeks to demystify cheese by taking cheese out of its usually pretentious context completely. Instead of merely snacking on cheese, they suggest carefully tasting cheese, but not overwhelming the plate with superfluous parts. Instead of a grilled-cheese sandwich, serving a small cheese slice- served simply with dried fruit, plain crackers (so not to overpower the delicate flavors in the cheese) and perhaps some coins of slightly dry baguette will more than suffice.
Cheese in this manner is a compliment to food, not a means to an end after dinner when you are full.
Francois, the gregarious and ever-smiling “Professeur de Fromage” comes from a long line of cheese makers. His studied and conversational flair of instruction is filled with humorous narratives and beneficial hints. All of these made even more interesting because of the ultimate enjoyment of the finest cheeses available. He demystifies the different varieties, goat, sheep, cow- and breaks each one down into its unique components of flavor. Sour, sweet, tangy, umami- what? What is that? I think it’s the indescribable flavor. The one between here and there. Confusing? Perhaps it is- but after taking a most basic class at the French Cheese Board you’ll certainly be less confused, and considerably more knowledgeable in the art of cheese.
Getting back to how flavor is revealed, Francois covers your eyes with a black eye mask and closes off your nose with a kind of swimmer’s nose clip. This is to encourage feeling the texture of the cheese through your fingers, without smelling the cheese, nor viewing it.
Is the cheese dry, soft, grainy, crumbly, wet, sticky, polished…?
The list of textures goes on and on.
French cheese comes in all forms, from hard, used for grating, to liquefied and unctuous, meant to be spooned and savored. There are many varieties and no, cheese is not just for dessert. It makes for an incredible aperitif with hand cut slices of black footed Spanish Iberico Ham, meant to stimulate the appetite.
Sure, you can enjoy cheese without a blindfold on and certainly without a nose clip blocking your passage to the ability of scent. But isn’t it interesting to dismiss most French cheeses because they may be overly assertive in aromatics. That is certainly a fact of life when dealing with washed rind cheeses and still others that turn into liquefaction through aging and cannot be eaten without a spoon, it would just be too sloppy!
Cheese and the study of cheese is as easy as taking a walk down to the French Cheese Board, conveniently located at 41 Spring Street in Nolita. Bring an open mind and taste yourself into another way of being. One that embraces the passion for hand-made cheese!
An Evening with Warren Bobrow
TASTING ROOM // HOME BAR SUPPLY
Join me June 15, 2017 to kick summer off the right way!
116 NORTH 3RD ST. PHILADELPHIA, PA 19106
|Author Series-Tree of Life: Turkish Home Cooking
An Evening of Mezes and Music at The Farm Cooking School, Titusville, New Jersey – May 9 – 6-8 pm with Author Joy Stocke and Friends
“The “aliveness” of the very freshest vegetables in your own garden or farmer’s market deserves a cookbook that honors not only nutritional vitality, but also the hundreds of generations of great cooks who have refined Turkey’s favorite recipes into a kaleidoscopic whirl of tastes, aromas, colors and textures. Stocke and Brenner celebrate the cuisine of a culinary-crossroads country in ways that are truly mouth-watering.” Deborah Szekely, Founder Rancho La Puerta and the Golden Door Spa
Join Farm Cooking School frind and author Joy Stocke for an evening of mezes, conversation and music as we celebrate the publication of Tree of Life: Turkish Home Cooking (Quarto/Burgess Lea Press) by Joy E. Stocke & Angie Brenner. Photographs by Jason Varney.
From her first visit to Anatolia, Joy was captivated by the traditional meze table, an array of small plates and savory snacks. Sample Gougères a la Turka, a twist on the traditional recipe featuring feta cheese and garnished with Aleppo pepper or Nigella seeds; Olives with Garlic and Preserved Lemon, Savory Spiced Chickpeas, Baked Hummus with Pine Nuts, and mini shish kebabs.
Mezes are often accompanied by a cool glass of wine, anise-flavored raki, or a cocktail such as the Bosporus Fizz – a beguiling mix of fresh carrot juice, a dash of turmeric and rosewater, raki and club soda. Cocktail expert, author, and the creator of the Bosporus Fizz, Warren Bobrow, will join Joy and mix the drinks. In addition, he will prepare a second drink, Persephone’s Revenge – an elegant composition of pomegranate juice, raki and ice. Non-alcoholic versions will be available as well.
Guitarist Bruce Fredericks of the duo JB Rocks will play themed surprises (Did anyone say, “Istanbul, Not Constantinople?”) as well as a wide variety of music. JB Rocks entertains audiences from Docs in Burlington, NJ to Freddie’s in Ewing, NJ and the Dubliner in New Hope, PA. www.jbrocks.com
Summer Johnson, owner of Zach & Zoe’s Sweet Bee Farm will be on hand to share samples of her fabulous raw honey. Joy has created a dish for Summer – Zach & Zoe’s Anatolian Roasted Carrots with Raw Beet Honey – which you’ll also be able to sample. Honey will be available for purchase.
Admission is $20.00. Registration appreciated, or email Joy, so we can get a head count. Books will be available for purchase – cash or check only. All after-tax profits benefit Wholesome Wave empowering under-served consumers to make better food choices by increasing affordable access to healthy produce.
The Farm Cooking School, owned and operated by Ian Knauer and Shelley Wiseman, is located at Gravity Hill Farm and is part of Roots to River Farm – a certified organic vegetable farm – 67 Pleasant Valley Rd, Titusville, NJ 08560. The Farm Cooking School is a space where cooks of all levels can come together to learn about and enjoy great food and real community.
To register visit the Farm Cooking School website – www.thefarmcookingschool.com – or click here: http://thefarmcookingschool.com/shopthefarm/author-series-tree-of-life-turkish-home-cooking-with-joy-stocke-may-9th-6pm For more information, call: 609-213-6580
Tree of Life: Turkish Home Cooking
Quarto/Burgess Lea Press
I’ll be signing books at the lovely Savoy Taproom, 301 Lark Street – Albany NY – 12210 3:00 – 6:00 pm Today, Sunday April 30!
Warren Bobrow will be here on Sat. April 29, Independent Bookstore Day, 3-5 PM, mixing cocktails and signing his new book Cocktail Compendium.
99 Claremont Road Bernardsville, NJ 07924 (908) 766-4599
Join Wild River Review co-founder Joy E. Stocke and West Coast Editor Angie Brenner for mezes and conversation to celebrate the publication of their cultural and culinary cookbook, Tree of Life. Stocke and Brenner will be joined by Cocktail Whisperer Warren Bobrow who will make and serve Bosporus Fizzes, which he created for Tree of Life. Poet and Translator Edmund Keeley will be reading his poem Moussaka, which asks the question: To use Béchamel sauce or no? The cookbook’s Spice Route Moussaka recipe has one answer.
Today April 27, 2017 at 6 PM – 8 PM
Labrynth Books 122 Nassau Street, Princeton, NJ