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Saturday, June 06, 2009

The 55th Circle Time: The Show and Tell Weekly Thread

Show and Tell is wasted on elementary schoolers. Join several dozen bloggers weekly to show off an item, tell a story, and get the attention of the class. In other words, this is Show and Tell 2.0. Everyone is welcome to join, even if you have never posted before and just found out about Show and Tell for the first time today. So yank out a photo of the worst bridesmaid's dress you ever wore and tell us the story; show off the homemade soup you cooked last night; or tell us all about the scarf you made for your first knitting project. Details on how to participate are located at the bottom of this post.

Let's begin.

First and foremost, a poll. I am considering moving Show and Tell to a different day of the week. Part of it is old school honesty--elementary school simply isn't held on weekends. Part of it is the craziness of weekends and wanting the time to read posts at a more enjoyable pace rather than shoveling them in my eyes like I would, let's say, attack a display of chocolate candy. But I do not want to move the day if the core participants like having it on the weekend.

Added: I probably should have stated this too, but since the vote is somewhat splitting down the center, it's hard to get a read. Vote for Wednesday/Thursday/Friday if you're willing to move (even if you like Saturday. I like Saturday too, but it makes it hard to read all the posts on the weekend). Vote for Saturday/Sunday/Monday if you'd be unwilling to move (meaning, you wouldn't be able to participate anymore). The move is to enable me to hold Show & Tell every week and not have to skip it sometimes if we're out of town for the weekend or to post it, but not get to read along. But I don't want to move the date if everyone is really set on the weekend. So if you'll still participate if it is held on Thursday, please vote for the move. If you plan to stop doing Show & Tell if it is on another day, vote to stay.

So I've embedded a poll below and please take a moment to vote on which set of days works best for you. If we vote to move it, we will hold a second Show and Tell this upcoming week on Thursday (I will open the list on Wednesday night, people can participate on Wednesday night/Thursday/or Friday). If we vote to keep it where it is, I'll see everyone back here next Saturday night (the usual: I post on Saturday night and people can participate on Saturday night/Sunday/or Monday). I'll post the results this Tuesday as to which day we'll use.

I need to preface this story by telling you that while I often stray from recipes, if I'm making something from a restaurant cookbook, I will stick to the recipe exactly in order to taste what it would be like in the restaurant. So we've tried Bouchon or Les Halles or Morimoto through their cookbooks. I'm sure the dishes are much more incredible when prepared at the restaurant, but this is as close as we're going to get to some of these places.

On Tuesday morning, I had a meeting that backed-up on Josh's afternoon meeting. Lindsay came to meet me at the office building when I was finished and asked if I wanted to try Mario Batali's restaurant, Otto, for lunch. I had not had success with Batali's recipes when I tried them--and by a lack of success, I mean that the food was inedible and we ended up dumping the meal. But Lindsay promised that the food was good so I was willing to give it a try.

We shared a Margherita (D.O.P.) and a pasta alla Norma. The meal was incredible.

As we left the restaurant, we were musing on whether chefs purposefully make their recipes for shit in the cookbook so that you will still be inclined to get a meal at their restaurant. Because the pasta alla Norma I made from the cookbook was nothing like the meal I had in the restaurant. We laughed about asking chefs this question.

A few blocks later, we are about to cross into Washington Square when I see an explosion of colour beginning with the shoes. Orange crocs, bright socks, hairy legs, blue shorts, two shirts, red ponytail, and sunglasses. It was so surreal and I heard myself saying to him as he passed, "Mr. Batali?"

"Yes," he responded, and we both started walking backwards.

"We just ate at Otto. The meal was incredible."

"Thank you!"

And then we both turned back around and I walked into Washington Square Park with Lindsay and baby Fred and he walked down the street with his friend, and Lindsay and I spent the next three minutes saying, "that was so bizarre."

The end of the story is that now that I could compare the red sauce in my mind, I tried to make it at home on Thursday night and here's the secret part he left out--blend it. Stick the whole thing in a blender and it's sort of the same consistency and sort of the same flavour as the sauce at the restaurant. And it also made for a lovely pizza sauce.

What are you showing today?

Click here or scroll down to the bottom of this post if this is your first time joining along (hint: link to the permalink for the post, not the main url for your blog and use your blog's name, not your name). The list is open from now until late Tuesday night and a new one is posted every week.

Other People Standing at the Head of the Class:

1. Weebles Wobblog
2. In Due Time
3. Building Heavenly Bridges
4. SSV
5. Bear and Comedian
6. The Infertile Sushi- loving Princess
7. one- hit_ wonder
8. Delenn
9. Hobbit- ish Thoughts and Ramblings
10. Infertility Podcast & Blog
11. Wise Guy
12. Dragondreamer's Lair
13. Are You Kidding Me?
14. Destined to be an old woman with no regrets
15. Fractured Rainbows
16. Parenthood for Me
17. Life After Infertility & Loss
18. The Therapist is In
19. Egg Factory
20. My Egg Your Nest
21. Michelle's Path
22. Baby Smiling In Back Seat
23. Dora - My Preconceived Notion (formerly ISO the Golden Egg)
24. Vintage Mommy

Want to bring something to Show and Tell?
  • If you would like to join circle time and show something to the class, simply post each Saturday night (or earlier in the week or on Monday if you can't do the weekend), hopefully including a picture if possible, and telling us about your item. It can be anything--a photo from a trip, a picture of the dress you bought this week, a random image from an old yearbook showing a person you miss. It doesn't need to contain a picture if you can't get a picture--you can simply tell a story about a single item. The list opens every Saturday night and closes on Tuesday night.
  • You must mention Show and Tell and include a link back to this post in your post so people can find the rest of the class. This spreads new readership around through the list. This is now required.
  • Label your post "Show and Tell" each week and then come back here and add the permalink for the post via the Mr. Linky feature (not your blog's main url--use the permalink for your specific Show and Tell post).
  • Oh, and then the point is that you click through all of your classmates and see what they are showing this week. And everyone loves a good "ooooh" and "aaaah" and to be queen (or king) of the playground for five minutes so leave them a comment if you can.
  • Did you post a link and now it's missing?: I reserve the right to delete any links that are not leading to a Show and Tell post or are the blogging equivalent of a spitball.


Lavender Luz said...

That's so cool that you figured it out!

And also that you found yourself talking to him. It's good to be impulsive when opportunity strikes.

Lindsay wears Fred well.

Cara said...

Oui - to the make it like they do - dillemma.

I worked in a nice Italian resturant for years carrying the food at eye and nose level.

I COULD NOT duplicate at home. Even with chef cooperation. *sigh*

one-hit_wonder said...

Neat coincidence!

LJ said...

You can't make this shit up, it was just steps from the restaurant, and we we really were talking about chefs leaving out essential parts of their written recipes. It was pretty freaking awesome.

Delenn said...

That is so cool! I love the picture of LJ with Fred.

Tash said...

This is v. timely: I'm currently in the middle of "Heat" (by Bill Buford) about a newspaper reporter who spends a year in Mario's kitchen at Babbo. FASCINATING. He sorta intersperses chapters re: the Babbo kitchen w/chapters on Mario's background, and his own delving into Italian cooking and finding the source of certain recipes and meals (and by source, I'm talking church writings from the 12th century). It's v. well written. You might enjoy it.

Beautiful Mess said...

That's an odd encounter, but so cool! Good work on the sauce. And you got a bonus pizza sauce. Way to go YOU!

areyoukiddingme said...

Most of the time it's unlikely that I would recognize my own mother in the street, because I don't pay much attention while walking along. I'm impressed that you could process all the clues to recognize someone quickly enough to speak with him!

My method of duplicating restaurant food requires tasting it first, and then reading all the recipes I can find to see if I can find one that looks like it will taste like the restaurant version. If I don't taste it first, I can't duplicate it. It's the same way I play piano - if I don't hear the music first, I'll never figure out the tempo just by reading the music. Even though it's all right there.

The Steadfast Warrior said...

Wow, how wonderfully random! Glad you had a good lunch and were able to figure out the sauce. :)

Mrs. Gamgee said...

Very cool! Otto is actually on my list for when we go to new york in the fall. I don't think I could be as brave as you tho... I'd clam right up if I saw him on the street.

kate said...

I've often wondered the same thing! Are restaurant recipes in the cookbook the same as what the chefs do in the actual restaurant? I mean, I know that the chefs have far more training and experience than I do (though I'm certainly no slouch in the kitchen), but I so rarely have good results when trying to replicate restaurant recipes at home.

It's so cool that you were able to figure out the secret (and that you got to meet, however briefly, Mario Batali!).

jenn said...

WOW! I am compleetly jelous of your meeting Mario Batali! I am a total food network junkie and that so awesome!!

I think that the reason the food tastes so good in the resteraunts is the quality of the ingedients.

JamieD said...

How cool! That is one of those things that makes you shake your head and think, "What are the chances."

I think your dead-on on your cookbook theory. If I could make all that stuff at home, I wouldn't go out as often either!

Cassandra said...

So the real lesson is: Good chefs aren't always good at writing explicit recipes.

I can't imagine that anyone would try to make a bad cookbook, because cookbook revenue for a TV chef is probably far higher than any increased revenue that the restaurants would see. Plus, maybe some people will skip the restaurant if the cookbook is bad enough, which might offset any increased business.

I'm sure a Lollipop Goldstein cookbook would be perfectly accurate and explicit.

battynurse said...

I've never heard of Otto but it sounds good.

A Mom in Jacksonville, FL said...

Way to go figuring out the "secret" step to the recipe!

Sounds yummy!