Speak Up

Friday, July 31, 2009

Best New Restaurants

Tyler Kord, No. 7
Courtesy Bon Appetit via Grub St


Bon App├ętit’s latest edition will boast the: " Top 10 Best New Restaurants in America” and not one but TWO of the restaurants are those that I love.

Number one: Ok, so I've never actually been to The Greenhouse Tavern in Cleveland, but I've been reading the chef's wife's blog, Chef Widow, for a couple years now. I was drawn to her because when I started reading her blog she was moving back to Ohio from NYC and I was desperate to do the same. She's super supportive of her chef and family and I love that. Head to her site for a great giveaway going on now.

Number two: Actually it's No. 7. Brooklyn's own Tyler Kord opened No. 7 last summer and it's been so great ever since. I met Tyler when he was cheffing with my husband at Perry St. He also has an amazing wife and an incredibly fat cat. When visiting No. 7 in Fort Greene, don't leave unless you've had the fried broccoli.

Food is Love,
Hilary

Dough Dreams

Washington Square Park a couple weeks ago
My younger sister, bless her soul, wants to be a pastry chef. Her fourteen year old dreamer mind wants to own a cake shop when she's older. When Erik heard this I could see how uncomfortable he was. He wanted to tell her to do anything in the world but cook/bake. But he also didn't want to crush her dream. At around 8 0r 9 I remember my father saying I shouldn't be a news reporter because they lie. I almost died; during that summer all I wanted to do was report the news with my mic made from an apple on a Popsicle stick. I ended up teaching and I'm the happiest person in the world doing that.

For a soon to be sophomore I think she's a pretty good savory cook. She made me dinner not too long ago-garlic sauteed shrimp and rice and she explained the steps along the way too as if my parents kitchen was a studio. I have a feeling she's been strongly influenced (like many people) by the Food Network. Shows like Ace of Cakes make it seem like being a pastry chef is all about cleverly icing cakes in a funky office with all your pals. There really isn't a show on the Food Network or any network that shows how demanding cooking and baking really are. There are plenty of books (Kitchen Confidential, Spiced , The Sharper Your Knife the Less You Cry, etc. ) but the books are slightly less available and certainly less appealing to teenage girls.

I really don't know what to tell my sister. She's a great student, gymnast (I coached her her first few years), and cheerleader. And she's young enough that her mind might change three dozen times before settling down with a career. She might also end up with her own fake cake show selling the improbable dream to a new generation of wide-eyed teenagers. The career really makes no difference to me so long as she's treated right and happy about it.

Food is Love,
Hilary

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Chef Mumbles

Getting reading for work this morning I heard the chef muttering something in bed.

"How many wings are here?"

"Um....2?"

"No, there are way more than that, there are at least 5 birds cooking. Can't you smell it?"

Now, he's dreaming about chicken. Or come to think of it, that could be turkey or even squab. We'll never know.

Food is Love,
Hilary

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

A Hard Post to Write

One of my fears on this blog has been that I come off too whiny and other women who have tougher situations will disrespect me. I always think about doctors' wives, firefighters' wives, police officers' wives, and military wives. I don't want others thinking I made a blog out of something useless or unnecessary. My fear became a reality when I got a comment by a women married to a man in the military. Some of you may have read her comment posted on "Search Party" but I'll include it here for reference.


I, on the other hand, found your blog by hitting "next blog" and stumpled on it...I was fasinated by the content and had no idea there was a need for this forum. I do feel for all of you. I'm sorry that your boyfriends/husbands work long hours and leave you home alone or just feeling alone. I'm sure the 14, 15, 16 hour days are long and when he comes home he's tired and maybe deep down because of this you're not being completely fulfilled in the relationship and that might make you doubt why you're in it. I get it. My husband doesn't have to be a chef for me to get it. I'm happy that you have eachother to listen and simply know that someone else is out there feeling the same lonely pain. It's not unlike the support groups I have for my life. We all marry or date these men who have their lives and passions and no one puts a gun to our head to make us stay...we stay because we love them and it becomes our lives too. We should embrace our lives. Move on with your own lives as much as you can. A good relationship is two lives not staring only at eachother, but standing next to eachother moving in the same direction.

With all due respect to fellow women, some of you sound a bit too wrapped up in the sadness of it and the drama instead of taking the hard times as they come and realizing how good you have it! You all are so lucky! You have these men who you love and who love you and they may work a long day but oh my good they come home and they are safe and happy doing what they love!! You are so lucky and I feel like you don't see it or really appreciate it as much as you should. I know it's hard to look for the good and the bright side, but you have to. You have to. Life gets harder...sometimes for you and sometimes for others. You're growing to grow older and have kids and the focus will shift from longing him to have an 8-10 hour day to real problems and I fear you're not being happy and grateful now, when you should be.

My support group I mentioned is for wives of military men...mostly men who have been hurt or killed in Iraq. My husband has been gone this tour for 2 years...I've seen him 3 times during that time. I go for days and days, a few times weeks with no email or word from him. I go to bed at night not knowing if he's safe...or when me and the kids will see him..or if we will see him. I helped choose this life and I know and pray someday it will change.

I'm in no way trying to "trump" your pain. I know its all how we're built and what we can handle. But try, for me, to keep things in perspective and be happy and grateful for what you do have.

The reality of it all is that there is a need for this blog, otherwise no one would read it. We have all found comfort in the stories shared by others. I've worked very hard to make this a playful blog as well. "Chef mumbles", stories of reality chef TV, silly anecdotes, and links to other food related articles make this blog fun, too. As you can see I'm feeling very defensive because I feel attacked by Rachel. I can't imagine what her life is like married to a man who is on tour in Iraq let alone in the military. But unlike Rachel, I never once made my case seem worse than anyone else's. In reference to her last paragraph, in my experience, when someone says "I'm not trying to..." it means they are very much trying to (in this case trump our pain). I married a chef, she married a military man. No one is better, nothing is harder, no one is greater. We are all given struggles in our lives to overcome. Some we can handle, some we can't. It is what it is. My life is wonderful and if readers don't see how happy I am, then I guess I'm not getting that part across.

Rachel, thank you for reading my blog and commenting. I hope your husband and his fellow troops come home quickly and safely to their families and I'm sorry if you feel like I'm not grateful for my life. It must be difficult reading a blog like this in your situation so it seems like you would be much happier not reading it, though I welcome you here anytime.

Food is Love,
Hilary

Monday, July 27, 2009

Matter of Knife and Death


No tool is as useful and necessary to the chef as his knife. Before Erik was a chef I knew nothing about knives. And now, well, I still know next to nothing but I'm certainly more aware of the styles, purposes, and different types of steels used. I also know they cost a lot, but thank goodness for tax write-offs. And because of the durability of the knives, Erik doesn't need to buy a new one that often. I'd say he splurges on a new knife every 4 or 5 years, but when he does I hold my breath at the final cost. These knives are made of all kinds of crazy steel and then gone through some crazy process to make them hard as rocks so they don't come cheap. Last week Erik headed over to his favorite knife store: Korin. Chef or not, this store is worth a visit. They have the most beautiful and unique knives as well as tableware, cookbooks, and sushi bar items.

He came out with a 240 millimeter Suisin Damascus Ginsan-Ko Gyutou with and ebony and silver handle, engraved with his name, a sharpening stone, and these awesome Japanese scrubbers called Sandclean, for cleaning pots and pans. I tried them on the caked on grease on my stainless steal pots and they are spotless! And I didn't even use any cleaning products. It kind of looks like a crazy sea creature and it feels like sandpaper, but it works great!
I seemed to get sidetracked with the scrubbers, but the knives just don't excite me like they do for Erik.
Food is Love,
Hilary

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Search Party


My best friend (of the non-human form) is the Internet. I could spend all on day on a computer if I had the time. Amazon, Facebook, email, blogs, news, and all the other websites that are silly yet powerfully addicting. (cakewrecks, failblog,craigslist) Writing on this blog is therapeutic for me; I can't get enough of the Desperate Chefs' Wives. The more women who read, email, and comment give me good ideas and support. I don't know what I would have done without you ladies the last couple of weeks when Erik was working so much. But how were you all led to this unique site? I have a feeling it's mostly Google or some other search engine. I remember also searching "dating a chef" and coming up empty handed. But now the first website listed is this one and I'm so glad that others have found the blog when searching for help.

However you found me, I'm so glad you did because now we are all a little less alone.

Food is Love,
Hilary

Sunday, July 19, 2009

BBQ Road Trippin'

I came across a new blog today and I just have to share it with you since it involves a chef and his wife. Pete Daversa, the Pitmaster at one of my favorite go-to restaurants, Hill Country is going on a BBQ tour. Traveling with Pete is his wife, Kristin and dog, Marley. They're traveling to BBQ joints East of the Mississippi and writing about the sights, sounds, and food on the way.
I would love to go on a food tour with Erik, but I don't think I'd choose BBQ. I'd love to go on a burrito tour in the southwest. I'm all about cilantro, cheese, avocados, and sour cream covering a couple scoop-fulls of meat, wrapped in a soft flour tortilla. 



Don't forget, there is still time to get a free Ben & Jerry's ice cream!! CLICK HERE
Food is Love, 
Hilary


Would anyone else want to road trip it with their chef (should they have the time off)? And where would you go? What would you eat?

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Creating a New Normal

Taking photos with giant veggies....this is normal.


In the movie Food Inc., there was a women who lost her young son due to E.Coli in a hamburger. She said something that stuck with me and I think we can all apply it to our lives-especially being married to chefs. She said that after losing her son, she didn't want pity. She had a hard time dealing with but she "created a new normal". Our lives aren't really normal, especially those of us who have chefs who work late nights and holidays. We don't have the lives that society says are normal so we have to accept that and normalize what we do have. A normal weekend becomes Sunday Monday, a normal Valentine's day is days before or after the actual holiday, and married mother's feel like single moms.

A commenter, Allie, wondered how I could possibly keep my mind of Erik working so much just because I'd be away in Cape Cod. Well, that's easy-that's my normal. Being without Erik is pretty normal for me, but being without him so long is really tough. Keeping busy with my own things seems to really help during times like these. This is especially true since I only see my family twice a year. (they live in Columbus, Ohio)

So, make a new normal for your life. Our lives are like no one else's and it's better to embrace what we have then focus on what we don't. And I hope I don't sound to much like an overpaid life coach, because I just want to share what helps me.

Food is Love,
Hilary

Friday, July 17, 2009

Free Wednesday

We are halfway through Erik's 2 weeks of doubles and out of the blue he had Wednesday off! I was so relieved to know that he got a break. Plus, the school was closed on Wednesday so I was home, too! Sometimes I wonder if things are going so well-what will happen next? But the fondant on the cake was that we got to see the new Harry Potter. I'm a huge fan, clearly.

Oh, and my parents and sisters are going to Cape Cod tomorrow and they're picking me up on the way. We've never been, but I can't wait to spend time with my family. I never get to see them this much. The next week gazing across the sound at Martha's Vineyard will keep my mind off the fact that Erik is working a million hours a week.


Don't forget to write a comment on my free Ben & Jerry's post. There is still time to get a free Flipped Out ice cream! I picked up mine today at Target Greatland but since they come in a two pack I'll wait until Erik gets home to have an ice cream social.

Food is Love,
Hilary

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Flipped Out Giveaway!


Leave it to the forward-thinking R & D guys at Ben & Jerry's to come up with an interactive ice cream. They've created a single serving ice cream sundae in a cup. Just peel off the lid, flip it over, then let the fudge melt all over the ice cream and cookie chunks.

Want to try a pack for free? Then leave a comment with your name and email completing the following phrase: "I'm flipping for Flipped Out because....". But act quickly because only the first 35 comments will receive a coupon for a free ice cream. The treat comes in three flavors, vanilla fudge brownie, peanut butter chocolate, and chocolate cookie dough.
Check out their facebook and twitter pages.
Food is Love,
Hilary

Sunday, July 12, 2009

I Take It All Back

I miss this nonsense. 

Everything I said about being without Erik this long  and things going "swimmingly" must have been written on some sort of park and sunshine euphoric high. I take it all back, every keystroke I typed. I hate this. And this could be some sort of emotional melt down at a weak moment for me, but I just feel like this industry is such a monster. It's the meanest bad guy bogeyman that ever came out from under my bed. I'm so aggravated with the complete uuber saturation of food media-especially on the Internet. I've got half a mind to delete all my links to food websites, but I suppose they go along with the theme of this blog. 

What type of job forces someone to work 100 hours a week for two weeks in a row? Which today is the first day  of restaurant week in NYC. Oh happy day. This is insane. Hello, food industry I'm talking to you. You're a jerk! All the "fame", press and otherwise BS is not worth all of this. Not for what Erik's making. And you know, not even for millions. Because no matter what the check says, my husband is still coming home after 1 AM every night looking like a shell of a man. Chefs are feeding the world, while unknowingly being eaten alive themselves. 

It's not the being alone part that's killing me, which is what I feared before this double thing happened. I've been busy with park days, picnics, online shopping, bike rides and cooking. (Yes, I cooked: pasta with shrimp and a butter garlic lemon sauce-which tastes great but looks like old yogurt.) But I need some companionship in my life and the cats ain't doing it! I never knew how connected I was with Erik until I started feeling disconnected. Keep in mind, this is a man I've known since before he even was a man. I've been holding hands, telling secrets, and leaning on Erik for nearly 12 years. I suppose I'll never grow out of the hopelessly romantic puppy love stage. 

Now, at this point I'm worried I'm losing readers. You might be thinking, "Oh boy, she's off her rocker. I wonder what's going on at eater.com? " Don't abandon me just yet. I'm sure it's just a phase. Eventually, I'll change my facebook status from "I hate Jean Georges" to "I love my chef". I can't believe I wrote that I hate JG. It's amazing how fast our moods can make us do such silly things. Speaking of silly things I've suddenly got the urge to spend money. This is so unlike me. I'm working (quite hard in therapy actually) to convince myself that I do deserve new things. Like last week, I saw this AMAZING Tory Burch "thalie" tote with a gold chain in the 33% off rack at Saks AND it had already been marked down 33%. I convinced myself not to get it, went home, then came back a couple days later with all he will in the world to spend a couple hundred on a purse, and sure enough it wasn't there. If that wasn't God rolling his eyes saying, "shoulda coulda" to me, then I don't know anything. It's like I know I'm getting the crap of a bad deal and buying something might redeem some of this nightmare. 

Back to the lecture at hand: I'm miserable. But tomorrow will be better. I already feel better talking about this hell week. 

It's 9:33 and I at least have a plan. I'm going to put on my pajamas, start my new book since I finished The Julie/Julia project and LOVED it. (inspired to make previously mentioned lumpy garlic butter sauce.)

Food is Love, 
Hilary 

Pom Wonderful

You've probably seen the cute bubble shaped red bottles in the grocery store-but have you ever tasted Pom Wonderful pomegranate juice? I never had until Pom sent me a case to try. Now, I know there has been recent controversy on bloggers being paid to write seemingly honest reviews of products. So let me preface this by saying that I wasn't given monetary payment to write this. In addition, I've been sent other products to try and write about, but I'm not a reviewer and I only post about things I think are valuable and enjoyable to my readers.

First of all, I'm not usually a juice drinker. Yea, milk, water, and yes-soda. But I've found that I have to water down most juices so the sweetness doesn't knock me over and rot my teeth instantly. Pom Wonderful is 100% pomegranate juice and the only brand that guarantees that. Along with that, there are no added sugars, preservatives, colors, or fillers. Just the juice. 

Pom Wonderful tastes like you're eating the actual fruit. And we all know drinking pomegranate juice is much, much easier than wrestling with the seed-filled fruit ending up covering in red juice. It's like the juice is being sincere with me, "Here I am, full of antioxidant goodness, go ahead and drink me and live long and prosper." Pure and authentic. It's a bit pricey but healthy and delicious don't always come cheap and after all, aren't we worth it?

Food is Love, 
Hilary

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Bikes, Beaches, and Better Days

I'm blogging from Newport Beach- grass, no sand- and though it took me a bit to log on, I'm typing away like a teenage text addict on this iPhone. Normally this time of the week I'd be excited to see Erik tomorrow scheming away at all the errands and dinners we'd have. But as you know, he's working doubles til what feels like forever. And so far I've been handling it swimmingly! I just took the last bite of a reduced fat triscuit snack with 10 month aged Vermont chedder cheese. I'm catching some sun and about to dive back into the biography Julie and Julia. I've been riding my bike a lot more too. I forgot how simply relaxing a bike ride can be. You never  know your town until you've traveled it by bicycle.

But I still can't help feeling bad for Erik. It's hard to see him this tired. He's not even himself really. He gets in at 1:30 just to leave at 9. I
I think we both need a new normal, this isn't working.

Food is Love,
Hilary

Friday, July 10, 2009

Little Bro

My younger brother, Christofori and his girlfriend are coming into town. They stopped in Boston first for college orientation; Chris is going to Northeastern. I love when people come into town. It gives me a chance to do silly touristy things. I would never have the chance to get together with my friends and go to the Top of the Rock or take a ferry ride. But also, I get a chance to show off some of my favorite places in Manhattan, which of course includes Perry St. I love sending family members to Perry St, but even more than that I love taking them there myself. I could eat my husband's food all day long. Since Chris is 20, and he's eaten at Perry before, I'll let him and his girlfriend have a romantic night alone.

AND! The PATH train which takes my husband and I under the Hudson River to NY is getting all new train cars. Finally! It's the little things that really make the day to day special.

Food is Love,
Hilary

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Tip of the Iceburg

Since we were in Columbus last week my mom brought up a topic that she brings up often when she's around Erik. She starts off calm but ends up heated and yelling about the inequalities of the restaurant industry. She believes that chefs should be tipped or included in the tip pool. But as someone...I wonder who...wrote years ago into the laws of most states, only service staff gets included in the tip pool; it is illegal for managers to get tips.

I knew a couple that used to tip for service and also send cash back to the kitchen to show their favorite cooks and chefs some love. I've bought beers for the guys at Perry St and I think they liked that enough.

Sure, I get it that waitstaff deserves tips, after all they only get paid a couple dollars an hour and they slave over unruly diners. But what about the chefs and cooks? Some servers make more money than the cooks who put in twice as many hours. Shouln't they get tipped? Are they not also performing a service like a barber, cab driver, or hotel maid? They are technically in the food service industry. I don't know the answer to this. It would be great if my husband got tips on top of his salary but knowing this brutal industry his pay would be decreased to $10,000 before that would ever happen. Heaven forbid chefs would actually make what they are worth. Or teachers for that matter, but that's another blog.

Food is Love,
Hilary

PS It's day one of Erik's doubles. AHH! I'll be busy til Thursday with work, then Friday my brother and his girlfriend are coming into town. Yay! Plus, Erik and I just got our bikes from Ohio so I'll be riding bikes next week. I'll be busy enough!

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Gun Control

To prepare for Erik's 17 day double schedule, which starts next week, we are spending a week in Columbus, Ohio with my family. Erik hasn't been out here for a while so it means a lot to me that he's spending time with my family and I on his vacation. Yes, he does get two weeks vacation  each year, though not allowed in a row. Week one was Italy and week two is Ohio. I know, the two can't compare-but family is family. 

There is a target range only minutes from my parents house so Erik and my brother went to shoot. Erik had  never fired a gun. Oh I wish he never went. He's been twice now and he is convinced he needs a gun to "protect our family". Are you kidding? I know that anything can happen to anyone-but we live in a condo building on the 20th floor. Oh, whatever-that's besides the point. Guns are dangerous! I don't want one anywhere near me! I know all about gun safety but so do a lot of people who got themselves or their children killed. 

That's only the first reason why I think guns in my house are a bad idea. There would be a lot of expenses for this thing. The permit, the gun, the lock box, the ammo, and WAIT there's more! (Picture me sounding like Billy Mays-rest his soul) Erik found a target range blocks from our house in Jersey City and now he wants to practice more so there are more fees involved like renting the stall, protective eye wear and headphones, and targets. Plus, he'll probably want to join the NRA! How many times have we both watched Bowling for Columbine? We own it for Pete's sake! You see, my husband likes toys. He likes spending money on toys. And like most "children" they eventually get bored with their toys.  I'm worried he'll get bored with shooting, but of course AFTER the money is all spent on the products. 
 

What is a wife to do? Do any of your husband's own guns? Help me have some peace of mind, please. 


And thank you to all the lovely wives who gave words of wisdom and support regarding my chef's 17 day binge of working. I really appreciate your advice and I'm looking into a dance class to occupy my time. Perhaps, Bollywood dancing...

Food is Love, 
Hilary