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Chicken Fists

May 12, 2010

As previously discussed, I took part in a food tv show last week, and my gorgeous dinner tanked. If it were a song, I’d say it fell on dead ears, but I’m not sure what the equivalent of “dead ears” might be, when discussing bellies, appetites and table manners. Three of the four guests balked at tasting the freshly baked breadsticks in case they got too full. One man claimed he’d never eaten carrots; another diner had never tried a beet. They cringed when shown a whole splake and informed that we’d be eating a similar one that evening. Turned up their noses at fiddleheads, poo-pooed the aioli, and pushed away the chevre cheesecake, declaring “goats are weird, and so is their milk!”

We stood behind our menu, our technique, and our storytelling, and remained excited by our meal even when one guest suggested we were bores, “This is a dinner party,” he scoffed, “not a food party! I don’t know why you’re spending so much time talking about where things came from!” He added that he’d rather be anywhere than at our table, and with all my heart, I wished he was, too.

But, after a text-message exchange between Z. and I this afternoon, I’m reconsidering our guests’ position regarding our culinary style. In charge of dinner at my house tonight, I got in touch with Z., who works at a local grocer. The tiny, homey shop features fresh, seasonal, responsibly raised/ butchered/ harvested/ processed/ milled meats, fish, cheese and dairy, pulses and grains, sauces, breads and greens. Everything is delicious, and some things are borderline incredible, but cripes, if we said anything on camera last week like we texted today, it’s not surprising those kitchen lightweights freaked out:

Me: what’s the chicken situation like today?
Z.: there are some!
Me: how about the stuffed ones?
Z.: well, they aren’t stuffed, but they do have herbs inside. Also butter.
Me: no, no, the ones shaped like tiny fists, only they’re made from chicken instead of fist.
Z.: ohhhh I thought you meant the whole chickens with the herbs and butter under the skin!
Me: no, not the whole chickens wearing butter undershirts. Just the tiny pieces already prepped with good things shoved inside!
Z.: you mean the ballotines! No, we’re all out. No more chicken fists today.
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