(phenobarbital and flowers), notes on lucky peach, 11102013

The chef/poet link is an important one in terms of reverence for title and short and small beauties in potentially overwhelmingly complex systems. What makes the connection even more important for the poet is that a cook, or a chef, or whatever (actually what i mean is the opposite of “whatever”), exists in all of us. We all cook, we all need to eat. And we ALL acknowledge that. For the poet, while I suspect we would say there’s a poet in everyone (blah blah blah,) the average person encounters poetry as some bizarre, anachronistic chore undertaken for some brief, academic period of time and then gratefully left behind.

Shit, people get sad, depressed, lonely and they make a thick, buttery grilled cheese sandwich when they should be writing a sestina.

Barbara Lynch (on cooking, mostly): “The challenge is to combine the guts, your feelings, your instinct, and make it personal.”

“The ingredients are simple–eggs, soy, dashi, sugar. Anthony worked to get the balance just right. These days, he adds extra yolks for richness and uses white soy sauce because it’s saltier and more savory (umami!) and paler (better presentation.)” Genevieve Ko on Michael Anthony (p19)

Aaron Franklin spinning wildly on convection, MC5, the sugar and density of burning live oak (four cords per week) vs other wood. 

It’s more than attention to detail, but what is it?

“Cooking is about timing. We live in seconds and minutes. I can tell you how long a minute, three minutes, eight minutes is. I can feel it. My heartbeat keeps time.” Juan Gomez, Pork Store Café (p40)

An athlete’s focus. Minding the math of the end-game. Working to ignore the nonessential details.

“Alex was one of the first guys who started digging deep in his family history, his personal history, searching for flavors that were seductive and exploring how these Asian ideas would fit into the mix.” Anthony, p71

A man with a camouflage hat, brim pinned thick with pink and blue and silver paper clips, riffles through the bin where read newspapers are indelicately stuffed. He spends an inordinate amount of time sorting, then returning some of the broadsheet pages. He walks away with the rest.

He returns, as if on cue, in exactly the amount of time it took me to type out the paragraph above, and indelicately stuffs the newspapers back into the bin.

”she longed to die there of love (phenobarbital and flowers)” -Jean Genet

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