Tuesday, April 29, 2014

The dictionary is your friend



We all loved the chicken with salami and olives from Donald Link's Down South. It’s the kind of hearty Mediterranean braise that food writers often call “lusty.” I’ve always resisted the adjective “lusty” to describe dark, overtly sensual things like flamenco dancers, Zorba the Greek, and chicken with olives and salami. Was there any proof that they were truly “lustier” than refined, pale things like ballerinas, Ingmar Bergman heroines, and filet of sole? After all, the birthrate is higher in Sweden than it is in Italy. 

Dummy. It turns out I’ve been using the word “lusty” wrong all my life. As I learned just this morning, lusty doesn’t mean “sexually passionate,” it means “robust and full of vigor.”

Lustful is another story.

Anyway, this dish is very lusty. I liked Kim Severson’s line in her New York Times piece: “The olives and salami offer backbone unachievable by simply seasoning everything from the salt box.” To make this excellent stew, you brown chicken pieces, then take them out of the pan and in the residual fat cook onions, fennel, garlic, green olives, tomato, oregano, rosemary, and chopped salami. Some wine goes in there, too, as well as some chicken stock. Put the browned chicken back in the pan and bake for 90 minutes. You’re supposed to baste, but I didn’t because it usually doesn't matter. It mattered. The top got charred and some of the salami cubes resembled tiny charcoal briquets. So baste. You should also serve this with a starch -- rice, quinoa, potatoes, bread -- to soak up the delicious sauce. The recipe is here. Highly recommend.

How is chicken with salami and olives a Southern dish?  Donald Link: “New Orleans has a sizable Sicilian population.”

Ok, I will accept that. But barely. I’ve decided that Down South isn’t actually a Southern cookbook. A short list of the dishes that support this view: Uruguayan baked cheese, Uruguayan chicken sandwiches, spaghetti carbonara, turkey noodle soup, Milanese pork cutlets with brown butter and sage, cauliflower and gruyere gratin, Italian broccoli, chocolate chip cookies, Heath bar brownies. . . .

I would describe Down South as a conceptually muddled grab bag that was published to capitalize on the success of Real Cajun, Link’s previous book.

The best cookbooks have a unique and coherent vision that they present with force and clarity from beginning to end. Real Cajun is such a book. Down South says it’s doing one thing, then does whatever it feels like. But since pretty much every recipe I’ve tried from its pages has been straightforward and very good, I don’t really care that much.  

4 comments:

  1. It's a good thing the recipes are good, because you are right, this does not sound like a southern cookbook. Since I am from the south, I can say that without hesitation. (Captcha was messed up yesterday, that's why you don't have any comments. We tried!) I assume you are going to proceed with Egg and Down South? I have always used lusty incorrectly as well!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Sarah Bear5/1/14, 1:25 PM

    Ha, as an English teacher, connotation is everything!

    Maybe southern as in southern Italy etc?

    ReplyDelete
  3. Well, let's see... Uraguay is in South America. Italy is in Southern Europe. And... people in the U.S. South eat brownies and chocolate chip cookies. If you stretch it, it almost works. They do sound tasty, but if I had bought it thinking it was going to focus on U.S. southern cooking, I'd be a bit annoyed to find some of those recipes in there.

    I like the picture at the top of the post.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Aside from that being allowed to have plenty of pix louis vuitton replica substantial prospects of being allowed to buy a small amount of pix right out of the maximum range that can be advanced decent pix. Cyberspace provides a very good medium sized designed for pic creation and even designed for looking at photos through several other owners. There is always plenty of Web-sites which will overcome photos and even digicams. It is easy to flirt with other individuals familiar around ones own digicams gaining options and even advise for with it. You should also seek the advice of many people familiar around all round photos process and thereby raise ones own education. Cyberspace provides a medium sized designed for creation ones own online digital pix to help you common people and to an important find class of acquaintances. Creation pix isn't an entertaining way for you to have ones own photos through good friends it might be a great way to secure advice and even raise. Just like various photos web-sites mean you can upload ones own pix that allows several other owners to make ones own advice within the pic. It for your efforts helps you to raise later in life the result advice will help uou fully understand the best additionally, the harmful ─▒nside your online digital pix. Online digital pix can be recorded simply because computing devices archives consequently some people could also be highly refined as a result of application. Developing online digital pix are certainly successful. As a result of developing pix it is easy to ideal conditions with the classic pic establish issues and even reduce fake louis vuitton handbags high-quality. Reasons for and even best-known this type of developing change for the better is without a doubt removing green perspective impression. Most of us have looked at graphics that many people contain ones own eye lids decorated on tough green.

    ReplyDelete