Saturday, June 22, 2013

The anti-Paula Deen

Bisou's preparations for squirrel tempura.

"Cooking With Dog" is the new "Into The Gloss" in the WWPD-sphere. Rather than going out and buying things Emily Weiss recommends (or, more to the point, going to the hair salon in Jersey whose expertise is the Republican Candidate's Wife look with a picture of Weiss), I'm now completely under the cult-like influence of Francis and the unnamed Chef. Who is Chef? A small, pretty Japanese woman of indeterminate age. Or maybe this could be determined, if one spent more time looking at her, and less time transfixed by the combination of Japanese meal preparation and World's Calmest Dog (yippy breed category).

Anyway, anything Chef cooks, I want to cook. Which means, alas, that any only-in-Japan cooking implement she uses, I want. And thanks to the newfangled whosawhatsit of online shopping, paired with the fact that none of these things are expensive, it could all be mine. I've lost interest in whichever luminous makeup the minimalist French socialites are wearing, but it's taking all my restraint not to buy a suribachi mortar, a yakitori grill. Whatever that cage-like device was she used to grill fish. Kombu and bonito flakes - that was easy enough (NYU should have just direct-deposited all those years to Sunrise Mart), although I still haven't made dashi. Still in search of a skimmer to remove the foam, although I have no idea what the foam is, nor why one must get rid of it.

Between the deep-fryer I recently bought my husband and the rice-cooker my parents recently surprised us with, we may not have counter-space, but counter-space is overrated. We could, in theory, have all the tempura rice bowls we want.

Thus far, I've only tried the rice-and-non-fried-stuff (specifically, hand rolls). And my respect for Chef is greater than ever, because no food makes my miniature gray poodle lose it like Japanese food. In different variations. I can't figure it out. Is it that she associates soy sauce with chicken, after being given (note the passive voice - I will admit nothing) lots of chicken that had been marinated in that sauce? Is it the nori, and its admitted resemblance in smell and texture to certain aquatic not-for-human-consumption dog treats? After plenty of exercise, and at an hour when she usually naps, Bisou gets one whiff of anything Japanese and flips into hyper mode. How does Chef manage it, or does Francis only lose it when she makes, say, pasta with pesto? The lure of the exotic, exotic being relative?

5 comments:

Petey said...

"And thanks to the newfangled whosawhatsit of online shopping, paired with the fact that none of these things are expensive, it could all be mine."

While that newfangled online shopping thing is indeed wonderful, have I ever mentioned that you'd likely enjoy a pilgrimage to the Mitsuwa Marketplace?

You can actually browse and touch a cornucopia of items, and if you don't go on Sunday to avoid the bizarre local Blue Laws, you can even buy any of them too. Plus the food court and apparel/cosmetics/other shops are incredibly nice bonuses.

Petey said...

"and the rice-cooker my parents recently surprised us with"

With any luck, they were savvy enough to get you a neuro-fuzzy model.

If so, one of its many possible usages is for steel-cut oatmeal in the morning. If you bother reading the manual for a few minutes, you can even set it up the night before so it finishes cooking right when your alarm goes off. Voila!

And we haven't even started talkin' risotto. Neuro-fuzzy rice cookers are humanity's single greatest invention since the printing press.

But whether they got the right kind of rice cooker or not, kudos to your parents.

Petey said...

"we may not have counter-space, but counter-space is overrated."

And what's up with this?

The only vaguely plausible reason for leaving the Big Island for regular 'murika is to gain your Constitutional right to abundant counter-space.

Absconding Manhattan for suburbia, ipso facto, leaves you with more counter-space than you can use.

Phoebe said...

Petey, you've made your presence known.

In all seriousness, Mitsuwa - so as to preempt further repetitions of this excellent-sounding recommendation - is ridiculously inconvenient. For me. Not for NYC-based readers. But you know how if you live in Greater Park Slope, say, and people will keep telling you to go to something in Greater Williamsburg, because it's Brooklyn so it must be close, you have to explain that really it's closer to go to either place from Manhattan? That part of NJ is so, so much easier to get to from NYC than from the part of NJ I'm in. Whereas there's an excellent Korean supermarket with lots of Japanese stuff here, and Sunrise Mart is more than adequate if I'm in that area. It's a huge drive, basically, and at the end is only a supermarket, and, I suppose, some chain stores that also exist around here.

Petey said...

"Mitsuwa - so as to preempt further repetitions of this excellent-sounding recommendation - is ridiculously inconvenient. For me."

I'm actually aware of the geography. But my educated guess is that a trip there would be somewhat less inconvenient for you than a trip to Philly. And I think an initial visit to Mitsuwa would likely make you happier than another visit to Philly.

Your life, of course. Just wanted to make sure I'd mentioned it.

"Not for NYC-based readers."

Well, if you live in NYC, you probably don't have a car, which makes the trip more inconvenient than it is for you. The dedicated shuttle bus is quite nice, but I'd still rather just shoot up the turnpike...

"and at the end is only a supermarket, and, I suppose, some chain stores that also exist around here."

It's so much more than 'only a supermarket', hence the advice to not go on Sunday so you have the option to buy appliances, cookware, and other such items after the rewarding physical browse and touch experience. Plus, a lot of folks make the trip just for the food court. You can't have fun for a full day in a supermarket, but you can in Mitsuwa.

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Mitsuwa aside, I'm now stuck imagining a screenplay along these lines where Bisou is trained to attack unreconstructed Southern whites.