Tonight when I hung up my apron after prepping mise en places for a five-course New Year’s Eve dinner that my husband and I
are making for two of our favorite foodie friends, I felt sad, listless, and immediately bored. Also, I felt relief; my feet were killing me after a good six hours in our galley kitchen.
Through all the dicing, chopping, measuring, and mixing, I recalled the pieces I adored most from From Plate to Palate. As I carefully placed each chicken liver in a cup of buttermilk (it draws out any impurities and helps the flour adhere before frying), of course the Offal issue from October 2009 came to mind. In fact, I melded Sarah Pazur’s Great Grandma Piwowarski’s Crispy Chicken Liver recipe with Chef Michael Symon’s and blogger Melissa Joulwan’s to create an ultimate 1st course. In the beginning of From Plate to Palate, it was the contributors, such as Sarah Pazur, Melissa Edgehouse, Carrie Hribar, Carly Sachs, Jeannie Kidera, Karen Babine, Arlan Hess, Cal Freeman, F. Daniel Rzicznek, Kaite Hillenbrand, Andrea Iglar, Arielle Greenberg, Kelly Fiore, and many more talented writers, farmers, gardeners, activists, home cooks and chefs, who turned a column into a community table. I will forever be grateful for their dedication to food and food writing.
While I can’t thank everyone involved with From Plate to Palate enough, there are a few who have really impacted my understanding of food. Chef Michael Bulkowski has had the biggest impact on my food writing. Just eating his food alone has taught me so much about flavor profiles and textures, but, more importantly, as a friend, Bul has taught me that good food takes time, patience, and a lot of hard work. Before her acclaimed restaurants, Girl and the Goat and Little Goat Diner, and before publishing her must-own cookbook Girl in the Kitchen, I had the great honor of interviewing Chef Stephanie Izard (who I met through Chef Bulkowski—the culinary world is small!) and premiering an episode of her video blog Tasty Life right here on From Plate to Palate. Having Steph share her insights with me was a really exciting experience that I will never forget. In addition to interviewing Bul and Steph, the third of my top-three highlights as editor of From Plate to Palate was hanging with Chef Valerie Bolon and capturing a behind-the-scenes glance of her Culinary Speakeasy with her business partner, personal chef Rachel Winpar, and Chef Tommy Chino Yamauchi who will be opening his own restaurant soon (but you didn’t hear that from me!) Val embraced me and camera-girl/video-editor-whiz Kristin Esper as part of her kitchen, and I will forever be appreciative for her hospitality and acceptance. All three of these chefs, as well as Kristin, have had such an amazing impact on From Plate to Palate. They will continue to hold a dear place in my heart too.
As I twisted open a Ball jar of my own homemade duck stock for Anthony Bourdain’s mushroom soup recipe (the second course), I fondly remembered Spatula and my good friend and co-host Sarah Lenz. The two of us had quite a time arguing who made the better burger, sharing our love for kale, and just joking around making drinks for St. Patty’s Day. As I prepped the sides for the third course (roasted duck with celery root and apple slaw) and fourth course (venison with mini pomme de terre anna and braised cabbage with juniper berries), I thought about the time Sarah carried a whole—soil-caked roots in tact—Brussel sprout plant through my house into the kitchen. Thinking of it now causes me to laugh so hard I almost pee my pants, but it wasn’t so funny back then, when I had just waxed our wood floors. I cherish Sarah and our time on Spatula; it was a hoot!
After three and a half years of food writing and editing From Plate to Palate here at Connotation Press, this will be my last piece under this column. Making deserts and saying good-bye have never been my forte. That’s why, for the fifth course, our friends are bringing mini tortes from renowned Pistacia Vera in Columbus. And that’s why I’m not saying good-bye to Ken, a dear friend and a hell of an editor-in-chief, to my ever-supportive co-editors and Connotation Press staff, or to you, my gracious readers. I am saying it’s been a treat sharing all of tasty these morsels with you. Thank you.
Instead of saying farewell, let’s say bon appetit. Eat well until we meet again.