Thursday, December 27, 2007
The Last Supper
This book was one of my Christmas presents. I had asked for it because the concept sounded fascinating and the chefs interviewed are among my favorite. I cannot tell you how delightful it was to discover that I have eaten at the restaurants owned by over 50% of the chefs featured in this book. I liked the photographs, but didn't love them. What I loved were the questions posed and the various answers. So, I decided to take the questions posed in the book and answer them myself. Cheers!
I. What would be your last meal on earth?
I would start off with an array of Armenian appetizers. I would want lahmanjoon: Armenian pizza. It is ground lamb with peppers and onions and tomato paste and spices on top of a thin crust. You usually squeeze a little lemon and then roll them up when they are nice and hot and eat this delectable blend of meat and dough. I would want my great aunt Nevart's beurek; she made thick mounds of philo dough and inside was a mixture of cheeses, feta being the prominent one. I would want a small plate of manti: lamb dumplings with yogurt and a sprinkle of cumin served on top.
For the main course, I would switch to Italian fare. I would want a timable...a huge blend of meats and pasta shapes encrusted in a huge mold of pasta. This dish was featured in the film Big Night and recreated by my best friend's parents one New Year's Eve. I would want gnocci with three sauces: pesto, alfredo, and bolognese. I would love some chicken marsala on top of linguine. There would be freshly shredded percorino romano cheese to go with all of this in addition to some boccocini marinated in olive oil and basil.
Dessert is en francais: I would love profiteroles with coffee, pistachio, and chocolate ice creams. I would love a vanilla bean creme brulet. Chocolate ganache would be aplenty all over the table in addition to bottomless cups of cafe au lait.
II. What would you drink with the meal?
Argentinian Malbecs, Smokey Shirazes, and Fruity Merlots.
III. What would be the setting of the meal?
I would want to eat at the dinner table of my best friend's grandmother's old home in Sag Harbor, New York. It had large bay windows with a view of the water where spotting cranes was sometimes a daily occurrence. I miss that house, I miss that table, and I miss its owner. Every meal I had at that table was divine, so this would be no exception.
IV. Would there be music?
Oh yes. I would want George Gershwin playing some upbeat piano rolls, especially a long rendition of Stairway to Paradise.
V. Who would be your dining companions?
All of my family, friends, and loved ones. It would be a big celebration. Jack, my nephew, would have to sit to the right of me.
VI. Who would prepare the meal?
I would take care of the Armenian appetizers and the gnocci. My best friend's parents would do the rest of the Italian fare, and I would get the ganache from Maison du Chocolat and the French pastries from Payard Patisserie in NYC.