A Simple Salad

A Simple Salad

A Simple Salad

Thursday is pasta night. Growing up this was perhaps the only truly inviolable law in my family. Generally (though not exclusively) spaghetti was served with my mothers sugu (our Sicilian-American word for what the east coast Italians often call Sunday Gravy (a story for another time). With our pasta we always had salad, a  very simple dish of crisp washed lettuce, garnished with veggies such as tomato, cucumber, bell pepper, onion (for Dad), carrot (for me) celery, radish (Dad again and later me too), and on special occasion black olives. The classic dressing was a simple red wine vinaigrette which we called “Italian Dressing” on other occasions Mom served the dressings buffet style. Continue reading

An Unknown Soldier.

Blair and I (upper left) at an after work bitch session somewhere in Wanchai 1995.

Blair and I (upper left) at an after work bitch session somewhere in Wanchai 1995.

I learned last night that a former colleague and friend died suddenly of a heart attack at the relatively young age of 56. Blair Anthony Sweet and I both worked for Dan Ryan’s at the same time, when I first moved to Hong Kong in 1994. He had arrived about a year earlier, and as such was my first Chef friend in town. We worked each in one of Dan’s two Hong Kong shops so we always had a bit of friendly sibling rivalry going. Continue reading

The Recipe of Theseus

There is a thought experiment of philosophy sometimes called the Ship of Theseus, which concerns haecceity. The experiment probes the nature of a things nature, and what it means to identify a specific thing as that thing…or rather what it may not mean. Confused yet? Continue reading

The Bread Was Vital.

FA Bread Basket, Taipei, 2014.

In late 1997, not long after Hong Kong was formally handed over (back?) to China from the British, Andy Chworowsky, Dale Willetts, and I, began meeting in secret. As colleagues, we met through a shared frustration at work, and a dream of a better way to succeed. We met to envision, invent, and discuss, opening our own place: Fat Angelo’s Italian Restaurant.  Continue reading

iHealth Update

For all of my (2) regular readers, I just wanted to update the saga of our digital scale purchase and subsequent disappointment. iHealth’s agent (maybe manufacturer) in China did eventually send a curt, vaguely apologetic, reply and notice that they would send me a replacement scale (same model). After some wrangling with the new courier about delivery times it was eventually delivered. So I can say that they have lived up to their obligation under warranty. What I am going to do with two cheap plastic scales when I wasn’t happy with the one? Certainly not their problem. At any rate it is only fair that I note the resolution for what it is worth. .

Making a show.

Hey friends, City Super’s wonderful culture club Executive Chef Charmaine has invited me to help out with a few cooking classes coming Christmas week.

1. On December 20th I will do a “Christmas Family Roast” of inverted turducken (Chiduckee?), along with twice baked potatoes and glazed winter veggies.

2. On December 22, I will make “A Very Vegan Christmas” featuring a Portobello Wellington, along with Quinoa Pilaf in a Baby Pumpkin, and Winter Berry Trifle.

Please feel free to sign up so that you can criticise my inept culinary skills first hand.


Happy Thanksgiving You Turkey!

IMG_8760Thanksgiving has always been one of my favorite holidays. It speaks directly to the kind of chef I have always wanted and tried to be. It is a purely American, purely secular holiday of conviviality. The sharing of warmth and familiarity with loved ones, around a table piled high with good, rustic, homey, and wholesome food. It is the opportunity to assess the bounty of ones life, ones kith an kin, ones larder, ones fortune…and in so doing appreciate all that there is rather than being mindful of what is missing. Continue reading

The scales fell from my eyes. 

I have been fighting a protracted “battle of the bulge” since my late twenties (more on that perhaps elsewhere). In a previous campaign some 18 years ago I bought a then, top of the line body analysis scale from Tanita. It did weight and body fat (probably not accurately but still, data is data). It was steel and something of a tank, no doubt one of the last before materials sciences gave us the modern era of lightweight polymers. It served it’s purpose well enough but is a bit worse for wear and has become obsolete through modern software innovation more than anything else. As a scale it still does a good job. Continue reading

Chef Paul

PaulPrudhommeSigningHolgaACropI have often dismissed the outpouring of regret when a celebrity passes away. In those times I usually like to point out that while the celebrity lived (and died) pretty well, many unfortunates lived and died in horrible circumstance, unnoticed. No less can be said of one of my culinary icon’s, Chef Paul Prudhomme. Having said all of that, I would like to take my moment to eulogize a person that had no small amount of impact on my life (and to be sure, the lives of many).  Continue reading

I Dreamt I Was A Chef

Last night I dreamt I was a chef. Having been a chef in the past, the dream had that ultra-real quality that dreams which draw on memories have. There was a familiar pass shelf, and dining room, there were even familiar colleagues from years gone by. Continue reading