Adam Schell

December 11, 2009

Mario Batali Owes Me A Free Dinner

(This is a piece I wrote for NPR’s Kitchen Window that was rejected on account that it was too opinionated. Secretly, I suspect Gwyneth Paltrow got to them 요리왕비룡 다운로드. )

I’m cooking when I should be writing. Well, of course, I’m writing right now, but in general, I’ve been working in the kitchen more than at my writing desk 승부사 다운로드. I haven’t been right since I got back from Spain. I’ve been distracted and angry, and I spend an inordinate amount of time mentally constructing the aggrieved letter I’d like to write to Mario Batali, Mark Bittman, Gwyneth Paltrow and that other Spanish, multi-lingual babe from Nat Geo’s 13 part TV special, “Spain: On the Road Again.” I’ve been misled, bamboozled, hoodwinked and robbed of the very muse that I sought in Spain 저지 드레드 다운로드. So I put down my pen and take up my spatula, and seek out the very gastronomic vengeance I deserve. For Spain, dare I say (dear Mario, cover your ears), is not all it’s cooked up to be 바이엘 악보!
Never mind the fact that I went to Spain to research my next novel, Batali, Bittman, Gwyny and the multi-lingual babe should at least be forced to pay into a class-action fund to reimburse the travel expenses us “common folks” absorbed after succumbing to their rather charming, but entirely misleading travel show 다운로드. (In fairness to Bittman, he often seemed cranky and dissatisfied. Perhaps he knew that the rarefied company was painting a portrait of deceit.) Never once, in the seven-hundred hours of programing, did Gwyny fret over her blonde locks stinking of cigarette smoke (EVERYONE SMOKES IN SPAIN – EVERYWHERE!); did Mario have to upbraid a chef for cooking so un-chivalrous that Don Quixote would have reached for his lance with a cry of “Villian!”; did Bittman whine over bread so poorly crafted and stale that it makes one pine for the Wonder Bread of their youth; nor did the multi-lingual babe have to use any of her twenty-three tongues to search out an AWOL waiter 다운로드.
Perhaps I exaggerate – a little. Perhaps the Spanish are largely villains in my next book (a 15th century adventure), and I traveled there with my eye and palette unconsciously trained on villainy 가타카. Indeed, Spain, at least the Southern Spain I visited, is a land with some wonderful ingredients; green olives that eaten day after day, meal after meal only grow more delicious; olive oil so good that my wife and I set aside our normal moisturizer and took not only ingesting it, but slathering ourselves with it each morning – yes, I’m being serious and our skin never felt better; and cheese (manchego, namely), that so increased my affection for sheep that I’ve since traded in the family dog 갤탭 안드로이드.
Maddeningly, though – foodie-heartbreakingly – despite that glorious trio of olive, oil and sheep, and the occasional delicious tapa, the cooking of Spain left much to be desired 재무제표 다운로드. For certain, it was nothing at all like what had me salivating with Mario and crew as they were shuffled off into a myriad of private dining areas to feast upon Spain’s finest without the slightest waft of cigarette smoke affronting their nostrils or having to wonder where their waiter might have wandered 다운로드. (Full Disclosure: As you may have noticed, the author of said essay does not smoke or eat ham, which should fundamentally rule out Spain as a travel destination. Not that you need to smoke and eat ham to enjoy Spain – although it is best – but it is imperative that you partake of at least one or the other.) Or, perhaps, I’m a frustrated novelist with looming deadlines and a gloriously rambunctious fourteen month-old whose run his mom and dad ragged after six weeks in Spain, looking for a lofty place to misdirect his writerly indignation and creative energies. God knows, I can’t heap it upon my wife, not with her bosoms clawed, gnawed and suckled with a fervor not seen since the days before National Geographic updated their image.
What’s a writer to do? Head to the kitchen! Why, because my first novel took nine years of on and off effort, yet in a mere nineteen minutes I can make something beautiful and tasty, and then not have to fret over sales or marketing or movie rights. (My wife’s approval will do fine.) So I head to the kitchen with great aplomb and frequency and recreate the foods of Spain in a fashion that my wife and I were rarely so fortunate to enjoy: Gambas al Ajillo, succulent little shrimp bathed and bubbling in a cauldron of garlic and olive oil; Pisto Manchego, a roasted red pepper, onion, tomato and garlic hash of sorts, topped with a fried egg; delicious bocadillos de manchego set in the panini press and dusted with smoked paprika; and paella, that glorious dish of Valencia that done anywhere outside of Valencia often leaves much to be desired. Arrogance? It’s been said of me before, but if you’d eaten in Spain with anyone less than Mario and company it is not that difficult to cook the foods of Spain well – often better than you’ll find in Spain. So I head to the kitchen because the world is crazy, my baby is noisy, Mario, Gwyneth, Bittman and that multi-lingual Spanish babe owe me an apology and several thousand dollars that I’ll surely never receive, and, a novel, unlike a good Spanish meal, takes a very, very long time to cook up.