Posts Tagged 'James Beard'

Entertaining with Jamesy

Care for a romantic French picnic, James?

It is no secret that I’m in love with James Beard. He’s a chef that helps me define in my heart and to detractors what exactly American cuisine could be, if you start stripping away international influences and fusions – not that you really need to, for I think that’s the greatest part of eating in the US.  I look for reasons to pull out my copy of Beard on Food (truly I don’t like the title – it sounds like a treatise on kitchen-based mold) and surreptitiously caress the pages.  My roommate was very understanding when I celebrated the mild breakdown in a dinner party of hers.  We were making the vegan gypsy goulash for eight, but it ended up being three.  Suddenly we had two extra pounds of white mushrooms slowly turning brown in the crisper drawer.  In the back of my love-addled mind, a bell rang.  Certainly…James had a recipe that needed…two pounds of mushrooms?

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An open love letter to James Beard

I have a new lover.  And his name is James Beard.  Unfortunately, he is dead.

No, I am not a necrophiliac.  James Beard is my kitchen lover, the man who has spoken to my soul by cooking the American-style food I had feared I’d never find (outside spendy restaurants) then writing about it in a way I’ve always wanted to read and write.   He has such love for his food that it is almost a physical joy to page through his works, with just a slight aroma of pretension that only makes him endearing, because it stays within the bounds of good humor and a consistent invitation into his realm of delicious simplicity.

I had heard his name before, usually from the mouths of Top Chefs as they grappled for supremacy in the kitchen, toting up awards and culinary battle scars.  But I didn’t fully understand his impact on the American cooking scene until I committed a minor Christmas infraction by buying his book (on huge sale!), Beard on Food, while I was supposed to be shopping for others.  It’s a major no no in my family to buy yourself something once December has gotten underway.   I do not apologize.  For that day, my heart was won by this simple phrase:

“…green beans boiled until just bitey-tender…”

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Hey, I'm Desa. I've been bouncing between the Pacific Northwest and Sevilla, Spain in the last few years and from tiny apartment to tiny apartment. I cook mainly for one, which means some potentially boring meals, but here I'll be sharing the food that excites me. Feel free to offer suggestions, commiseration, or desires. And thanks for coming by!


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