Culinary Integrity / Oddo Print Shop Until 2:30 / Antidote For December Days . . . Tuscan White Bean Soup Debuts Today

The rocket takes on some of our paper goods at a huge restaurant supply warehouse. While we load up with paper bags and napkins, everybody else is pushing along their oversize shopping carts stacked with all manner of horrifying, pre-made menu items. Yes, you can operate a restaurant and never have to actually prepare anything from scratch. Hamburger patties, pancakes, lasagna, egg rolls, egg sandwiches, lobster bisque, pizza, roasted chicken . . . all of this is available pre-cooked and ready to pop into a microwave or oven by thoroughly trained reheaters. This crap contains all the latest preservatives and flavor enhancers that can be brought to bear. You are unsuspectingly eating this stuff at more than a few restaurants whether they be food trucks, small ethnic eateries, and yes, even “high-end” bistros and brasseries.

We see chefs, all decked out in their whites, reaching into these freezer compartments grabbing the cold boxes and replacing the now vacant shelf space with their integrity. This is a culinary grifter, someone who has no problem with deception. You will never see any menu boasting of the ease with which your meal was prepared and the incredible markup being applied to it. The grifter serves it with a knowing smile that you are unaware. We have even had one of these “food professionals” mock our request for organic, local produce as naive. His words of wisdom, “Just buy it here and then say it’s organic. Why do you want to make it hard on yourself?” These assholes deserve to be stabbed in the back with a skewer while hot oil is poured down through the elastic waistband of their ugly chef’s pants.

The kitchen is a world of hard work, long hours, extreme heat, sore muscles, fatigue, passion and pride. The kitchen, whether professional or at home, is where you have a chance to practice an art form which at its most sublime moments achieves alchemy. Taking ingredients raised and gathered with care from as near as possible, performing nearly ritualistic rites upon them with fire and water and sweat, and then presenting them in innumerable variations one more delicious than the next is as close as we come to enjoying the mythic worlds of gods.

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