We revise , delete, draft and rewrite
To make it sound good (edit: better)
We sketch, outline, scale and then finalize to make it look good
We dub ourselves
We discredit our impulses
How far from nature
A Moment’s Rumination on Dr. Goldfarb…
(or how I learned to stop questioning my move and love the Balinese)
As Jori was doing headstands in the corner of the rattan clad loft of the backpacker bar in Ubud, Bali, I was reassuringly slugging back Arak Mudu and reassuring Will, for the 3rd time, that beating cancer then moving your family to the farthest place from the town in which said cancer festered to build a career, regain international notoriety and have a new restaurant on the way was, as I think I said, “pretty fucking hot”.
“Yeah,” he replied, “I guess so. I mean…I’d fuck me.”
Jori, uprighted, rejoined the conversation and I ordered another round of Arak as they entered into the specifics of curing and steeping tobacco leaves.
Will often questions his moves, or, at least, when we chat we look for reinforcement from one another…the trusted nod –the go ahead—willing the path less travelled.
I know that lingering in the back of his mind he knows, and he’s right, that his prodigious talent (easy) could carry a restaurant in any city anywhere in the world…and we don’t always want our escapism to read as escapism. I get it…and tell him so.
But who gives a fuck. If you’re cooking well and happy then to whom, I ask, must you apologize.
The Balinese pantry is reason enough to decamp from the grey tones of New York and build a life elsewhere.
Creativity seems to be flowing easily for Goldfarb…cooking as he is in an incredibly pure sense.
A panna cotta of sorts, no sugar, just coconut milk and aloe vera, gently cooked sets: a delicately trembling cream
From the guy who brought us WillPowder to an almost outright rejection of modified starches and hydrocolloid abuse.
The toys are there, but the simplicity in which they’re applied is where his next phase is evident….
A Pomelo “jam”:
Juiced pomelo, zest and pulp spun in the homogenizer then slowly cooked in the vacuum chamber of the rotary evaporator to the deglaze the fragile pomelo segments with the concentrated water that is pulled off in the distilling process.
As he says, “it’s different, not a deep, rich jam, bright, but a jam nonetheless”
It’s thoughtful and involved.
A man who loves process, dare I say, perhaps more than the result.
The summer’s gone.
I seem to have a more acute understanding of its departure than its arrival.
Perhaps my sensitivity to summer’s approach is deadened by the eternal waiting period we all experience. Waiting through the spring for the long languorous warm days of summer. Calloused so much so by an unyielding impatience for fruit so ripe that I don’t notice summer’s here until the juice is already dripping down my chin. Maybe.
By the time the fruits are all picked and you’re eating the best tomatoes of the season, the morning light that is my standard alarm clock is becoming a bit lazier, showing up late, exhausted and disinterested; passively allowing the relationship to die. And I’m groggier, aware of what’s happening but reluctant to admit that it must end. Delusion, one of the mind’s major achievements, keeps us waking up, pulling ourselves out of bed to own the moment, all the while truly knowing we’re just as powerless against the entropy of relationships as we are the more orderly rotation of the seasons.
With heads down we cultivate the garden, observant of Voltaire’s dervish and the farmer and the futility of idleness or of the wondering why.
I guess it’s easier to have a grip on gravity than that which we believe we should be able to control but can’t: the determinism of what may appear a whimsical emotional tug comes to mind. So rarely do the changing seasons make us cry.
We are quick to find comfort in routine, the rhythm to which we’re dancing, and we all find routine. Even the proud who eschew routine, cast it aside with disdain are only circumnavigating the more generic definition of the word. The routine finds its way into the work and the work weaves its way along the routine.
The summer disappears, the winter is endless, and the summer, no matter the rain or our busy lives, is always a long, wonderfully easy jam session that ends too soon. It all ends too soon.
Adjusting to less light and brisker mornings is one of the more jolting shifts, an abrupt segue that leaves you on the dance floor swaying awkwardly, uncertain how to move your body to the new beat that’s emerging from the fugue that is change. But it comes…it always comes until we become compost. So now we wait for a new beat, the next beat…the next thing to eat.
The leaves have begun flaming out, giving their green to the acorns and ripe shells of black walnuts: A departing gift. And the brilliant leaves falling off the trees are wildly beautiful: the oranges and reds, yellows and purples, electrified with a drama far different from those early days when I was denying the light’s late arrival. Soon the swirling winds will whisk the colors by my face as I stand powerless, happily, happily powerless in the middle of the grand rotation, reminded of all summer gave, it’s bounty growing over fences and from the roadsides, its early mornings filled with so much to do to manage the aggressive growth. And I’ll remember wine drunk late into the night as I laid in the soft grass and I’ll remember the juice and the sticky hands and the perfume of delicate flowers whose scent belies their fragility and I’ll also remember the tomatoes that never made it into jars, but fell, rotting in the garden, an unused offering. The fruits and greens, the berries and herbs that summer pushed upon us and we still could not get to all of them even though the days were so long that they, not unlike the winter, seemed endless.
I’m not feeling terribly sentimental about much these days.
I do feel a compulsion to stay close, to stay in touch, with a few people but my sense is that’s a strategy for an anticipated need for comfort at some point down the line. So I’m hanging around and watching what the earth gives up, offers, that is, and I watch, peripherally, as our entitlement to its riches, its lessons, are ignored and, like a bigot would a slave we treat it with a similar dismissive attitude; our right to subjugate man reflects our indifference toward the method by which we acquire and manipulate natural resources that just simply must meet our immediate demands.
So why be sentimental? Why lament a fait accompli?
I don’t. I am eating my way through it. Literally.
Our capacity for delusion is our mind’s most evolved accomplishment. We sort through garbage, yet press on. Hope spawned by denial.
Understand this: your work is your life. Separation does not exist. As Bill Callahan sings, “life is not confidential”.
Man has the capacity to spend his days conceiving of ways to exhaust the remaining breath of an already ailing planet and then spend those “hard earned” dollars on philanthropic endeavors and not notice the irony. Daily we refine the great con.
Money Making versus Wealth Creation: greed is a better fighter, a malignant tumor arising from base survival instinct. If there is only one thing you want, one thing for which you’re fighting, you’ll stop at nothing to get it. But if that for which you fight is a large, ambiguous, multifaceted approach to an ideal you’re pretty sure is the best thing…well, that pretty much says it all, I think. Agnostics didn’t drive the Crusades.
Philanthropies arise from the wreckage left behind by our own ambitions: new diseases being the obvious example, or the preservation of grand traditions or the magnificent feats of man. Translated: our ability to tag the wild with the blood of our brothers + time equals a great accomplishment, a marvel to be protected and preserved at thousand dollar a plate society functions.
So who gives a fuck? Eat your way through it.
There are more restaurants opening in our urban centers than ever before. They all seem to be sustainable, organic and local. And I am folgarth, trinsaptic and relmandian: the new buzzwords of a better way of being, the right way, the conscientious way. Only these words started out meaningless, so they have nowhere to go but up, or at least to be honored with a definition to then be watered down. The new age of relentlessly whipping the nag is that of stretching the definitions of words to suit our fat ass ideas. Buzzwords are Goombahs in track suits.
Our delusional excellence allows us to embrace empty words, at least while someone is looking, like a highfalutin coffee table book properly placed so every guest can see it. Biodynamic is trendy, so I try to look for it on the label and it’s all I buy…as long as it doesn’t cost too much. I mean, in our time of acceptable last minute texted cancellations and rescheduling, society is quietly colluding, ducking & dodging accountability together. Belief does not necessarily come with conviction included, those days are on the wane.
Changing one’s mind is not the problem. That should happen. That is evolution.
Our half-assed latching on to an idea is just the result of effective marketing. Marketing is the persistent winner: it’s easy when we barely have time to read a granola bar label because we have a phone call and are late for that thing and have to cancel that other thing and did you see my tweet?
Eating is still a really good time.
Using some words on labels or as labels can get expensive as words can be bought, owned and subjugated in the same vertically integrated delusional chain that began with that hole I drilled in the ground, using a draught horse while my tractor rested in the garage, of course. Demeter has trademarked the word Biodynamic, just to add to the cost of the shit we bury in our garden and herbs we sprinkle over our compost. So you and I pay some entity for the right to practice what was intended as a healthy, holistic and compassionate approach to growing food and living life. A set of rituals created to impel us to open our eyes to nature is now properly owned and marketed…just as nature intended. The debt circle of the healthy hippie ideology spins my mind more than a mu-mu wearing aisle dancer gone dervish at the crescendo of a really tight Scarlet->Fire.
Don’t get worked up over it. Just ignore it. And pass the butter.
It doesn’t matter if you’re 90 years old and running a marathon or 19 years old, drinking a 50 ounce Mountain Dew while chain smoking Newports and riding over to the fried Oreo booth at the county fair on your propane fueled wheel-chair-motor-bike that you named “Marathon”. We’re all compost. Who knows what type of plant will be growing out of our hopped up corpses in a hundred years. Monsanto is already devising a seed that will thrive in the chemical cocktail we’ll leave behind. It’s expensive and somehow, I heard, is adding a percentage on to the death tax?
What does it matter? Eat through it.
The truth is, fried Oreo or organically grown tomato from your own garden, eating is one of our few remaining affordable pleasures. Get it while you can because the price of our meals is not sustainable, not unless we all spend more time gardening and less time fighting wars or practicing other diversion tactics. Mama, don’t let your babies grow up to be computer programmers…or defense contractors, for that matter.
My greatest pleasure is eating, and my definition of eating encompasses the act of preparing my meal as well. Sometimes, it even includes looking for it, raising it and killing it and, of course, growing it.
The act is ongoing and it lasts longer than sex and is more active than watching a movie and just as diverting which, in the end, keeps my mind on much more pleasant things. Pleasing my palate as an end goal for a lifestyle choice….
Zak & Jori: Solutions to Difficult Days & the Perplexities of Life
We call our second car “emphysema” as she guzzles gas and chokes out emissions with all the charm one has come to expect from a late 80s model Jeep Grand Wagoneer. A choice well art directed, but clearly a case of aesthetics and false nostalgia subjugating function and practicality. Welcome.
I agreed to Jori’s romantic idea of driving Lady Emphysema to Vermont for a day of skiing fully aware that the odds were not in our favor. To my surprise, she made it up! And, it was without a thought for her well being that I loaded in the cross country skis and prepared the packs for a day skiing the woods of the Green Mountains.
So, it was no surprise that dreams were crushed as our belching hag slowed to a halt about a mile from where we were staying. A tow truck and snowy hike later, the day’s ski activities effectively thwarted, we had to adapt, adjust to another day’s difficulties and perplexities.
With survivalist skill, we stripped down to our long johns, smoked some hash, put on Pere Ubu, made bacon & butter sandwiches and settled in to some intense Jenga playing. Solved.
We’ll get out doors tomorrow.
Eat With Your Hands…more than just a cookbook…it’s a life altering experience!
The subjects in this photo appear happy & calm. Sadly, this photo was taken before the woman and dog devoured the photographer’s face and belly meat. (At the request of the family, the photographer will remain nameless, as well as faceless)
You know how boxers have been known to rub rock salt on their faces to toughen their skin…well….
I never ever do the same with chili. If you do, please send me photos. Use the contact page. I’m serious. I want know who to avoid….