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ingredients

May 12, 2010

The ingredients to a good meal are not unlike the components needed for a good baseball team.  In a meal, like on a baseball team, you need someone to control the pace of the game, like a starting pitcher or a piece of halibut.  You need someone who can come in during clutch moments and swing a bat, surprising everyone and making things happen, like a power hitter or a jalapeno pepper or a bushel of asparagus stalks.  You need supporting players – a lead-off man or a right fielder with a strong arm – or a few garlic cloves, some olive oil and half a cup of grated Parmesan or Romano cheese.  And you need a stable, solid player that you can count on, like a veteran catcher who won the 1996 World Series or a handful of pine nuts.  In baseball, if you had all of the right elements, you’d have a contender; in the kitchen, you have white fish with asparagus pesto.  I’d rely on the asparagus pesto and fish over the Chicago Cubs any day.

In a city with sports teams as unreliable and unpredictable as those here in Chicago, you need something day to day that you know will be good.  If you take the freshest produce and the finest cuts of meat and treat them well, you’ll have a stellar dinner.  With a payroll of $146 million and some of baseball’s ‘most talented’ players, the Cubs are at best a prepared meal you’ve picked up from the grocery store; at their worst, they are no better than a couple items off the McDonald’s Dollar Menu that you bought last night after a few too many bottles of Schlitz, and regretfully ate this morning when you woke up.

No. 237: 5/11/2010

The sense was that she was not so much here in Italy but no
longer there in America.

– John Cheever, A Woman Without A Country

No. 238: 5/10/2010

We never really plan ahead.  If we don’t know what to do, there are always
eggs.  We love them.  Right now I have beautiful tarragon, chevril, chives,
and parsley coming up in the garden, the classic ingredients for a fine herbes
omelette.  With just some potatoes next to it, it’s the perfect dinner.

– Jacques Pepin

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