Peter Hoffman's Fireplace Beans; Mark's Liquid Gold
Also: Vegas help, your favorite food writing, and a very special playlist
It’s Wednesday, which means it’s a Food with Mark Bittman day, plus this week’s recommendations, snark, links, a playlist that means a lot to me, a “recipe” — my liquid gold! — and more.
Melissa McCart joined me as co-host on today’s episode of Food, and we have with us my old friend Peter Hoffman. Peter ran the wonderful Savoy restaurant in Soho — it was a real go-to for me — and other restaurants as well, but is even better known for bringing real farm to table food to New York City restaurants. We talked about that, and we talked about Peter’s book, What’s Good, and we talked for a while about culinary “fashion shifts,” which is an interesting phenomenon to consider.
Peter shares his recipe for Beans al Fiasco, here.
“My cooking has been about wanting to reflect the seasons and the changing of the seasons. The rotation of the earth and the tilt of the earth is where the seasons come from, and so as an urban dweller, the way that I stayed in touch with what was happening on the planet was by going to Union Square [Greenmarket]. And seeing that variation — what was coming in, what was going out, what was no longer available, and building menus, cooking for myself, and cooking for others.”
— Peter Hoffman
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Mark Requests and Recommends
DINING IN SIN CITY
I have a couple of requests for you this week. I’m spending a little time in Las Vegas, and then Taos. The latter – who knows? All advice welcome.
The former? Well, the first time I went there was in ’72, and it was still the post-war Vegas, the gambler’s paradise, the seedy nights filled with smoke and sequined cocktail waitresses and cheap drinks and astonishingly cheap buffets. (Not at all bad, as I recall, but do we trust my 22-year-old self? Probably not.)
Then came the food-and-family-entertainment Vegas and, because chefs wanted to cook there and tv people wanted to shoot there, I found myself (never, not once, willingly, I swear) in Vegas annually. There were near-constant restaurant openings by the world’s most famous chefs, ever-newer and more glamorous hotels and “exciting” events—and, except for Siegfried and Roy, it was almost always disappointing.
Now I’m headed there for work once more (I always swear it’ll be the last time) and I’m determined not to eat on the Strip, not to eat in restaurants run by famous chefs (with the exception of Jean-Georges’, because excluding his would be just rude), but instead to seek out some unusual stuff. Yes, I know about Golden Steer and Lotus of Siam, but if anyone has done a deeper dive recently, I’d like to hear about it. And I promise to report back.
READ ANYTHING GREAT LATELY?
And the second request: I’m guest-editing/curating Best American Food Writing of 2022 (here’s the link to last year’s edition) in the next couple of months, and I’m curious about any pieces you might have seen and especially liked. You can assume we’ve already scanned the obvious, like the Times (and The Bittman Project!); and please note that this is American — so while the Guardian might be fair game (there is an American edition, after all), the Independent is not. Send your ideas, please, to email@example.com.
LIQUID GOLD A LA MARK
Kate gave you some great soup suggestions on Monday, and in a couple weeks, Kerri and I will be doing a “Deep Dive on Soup” — debunking, really stellar tricks and tips, and, of course, recipes.
Today, though I wanted to tell you about my previously mentioned “liquid gold”: I’ve made a vat of this — carrot, leek, celery soup, a real staple, drinkable and portable veggies — two weeks in a row. And then I realized if I made smaller quantities, it would be the easiest thing ever.