Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Happy Anniversary, Chez Crumb

We had a fantastic spread of Fatted Calf charcuterie with olives and pickles today, complemented by a bottle of pink ('scuse me, rosé) bubbly.
It was amazing how well the fruity, spicy champers went with the beautifully seasoned paté de campagne and duck liver mousse.
But, then.
I've been having this conversation in my head — and with actual people — about how much we are allowed to "desecrate" somebody else's creation. Once the mortadella (just for instance) is perfected, is it a crime to smear it with other flavors?
I tend toward purism, which, darn it, is a lot closer to puritanism than I want to be. I am in awe of my artisan purchases. I'm nervous about messing with them. I take them straight, the way the artisan intended them. I think.
And today I realized that makes me a fraidy cat.
A couple of months ago I went to a party where somebody brought not only a Fatted Calf ham, she lugged along some of her homemade tomato chutney... and gooshed it all over the ham. On bread! She made a verrry interesting sandwich from individually sanctified ingredients by putting them all together.
Well, I followed her lead. I made myself one of those sandwiches, and it was damn fine.
The parapets started to weaken.
A few days ago, I was given a jar of homemade strawberry preserves by a friend, who apologized for the slightly loose texture of his concoction. We both wondered aloud what might be done to brilliantly use this trickly jam. Of course, ice cream. Then, I said... Mostarda? My friend assumed a knowing expression but didn't quite conceal his discomfiture over the fact that I was talking about stirring mustard into his fruit preparation.
And perhaps I was being obtuse. You can exhale now, Sean. I didn't do it.
Back to the charcuterie plate. Assume that I am more cavalier about adding tastes to someone's ideal recipe. Watch me search the fridge for... oh, hey, fig chutney!
So, Cranky stirred Dijon mustard into some homemade fig chutney (remember, this was already a highly seasoned mess). And it just got better.
With minor trepidations, we smeared some impromptu fig mostarda on the paté and mousse (over baguette slices), and ohgod, it was divine.
The spell is broken.
Artisan food crafters, rest assured that I will always love your creations for what they are, in and of themselves. But be advised that I might add a layer of spunky.

It is anniversary number 26. I don't know what traditional gift that entails, but around here, it usually entails something good to eat. Pork. Duck. Mostarda... Like that.


Dagny said...

Once you hit 20 years, then tradition only names gifts for every five years. Your combination sounds quite yummy. Congrats on the food and the anniversary!

Kalyn Denny said...

Twenty-six years. I am beyond impressed! (You realize how I personally have bad judgement in this particular area of life!) Many more to come I hope. You two are a great couple!

tammy said...

Wow. I'm a child of divorce. I didn't know wedding anniversaries went that high. (Not that I'm calling you old.) (Good one, Tammy.)


Anonymous said...

"...oh, how we danced on the night we were wehhhhhhhhhd..." I celebrate you.

"9 To 5" w.m. Dolly Parton from the film Nine to Five
"All Those Years Ago" w.m. George Harrison
"Allentown" w.m. Billy Joel
"Allergies" w.m. Paul Simon
"America" w.m. Neil Diamond from the film The Jazz Singer
"And I Am Telling You I'm Not Going" w. Tom Eyen m. Henry Krieger from the musical Dreamgirls
"Arthur's Theme" w.m. Carole Bayer Sager, Burt Bacharach, Christopher Cross & Peter Allen from the film Arthur
"At This Moment" w.m. Billy Vera
"Baby, Come To Me" w.m. Rod Temperton
"Being With You" w.m. William "Smokey" Robinson
"Believe it or Not (Theme From The Greatest American Hero)" w. Stephen Geyer m. Mike Post
"The Best Of Times" w.m. Dennis DeYoung
"Bette Davis Eyes" w. Donna Weiss m. Jackie DeShannon
"Black Limousine" w.m. Mick Jagger, Keith Richards and Ron Wood
"Bruce" w.m. Rick Springfield
"Chariots of Fire" w. Jon Anderson m. Vangelis
"Dynasty theme song" m. Bill Conti
"The First Time it Happens" w.m. Joe Raposo, from the film The Great Muppet Caper
"Good Thing Going (Going Gone)" w.m. Stephen Sondheim
"Hill Street Blues theme song" m. Mike Post
"Key Largo" w.m. Bertie Higgins & Sonny Limbo
"One Of The Girls" w. Fred Ebb m. John Kander introduced by Lauren Bacall in the musical Woman Of The Year

Ilva said...

Auguri! I can't believe that a whole year has passed since you posted your wedding pic! I tend do do the purist as well, mainly because I want to feel all the flavours but there are some combinations that leads me astray. Fortunately.

Anna Haight said...

How magnificent! May you more than double those happy years together.

Anonymous said...

Congratulations! May the next 26 be as blissful.

El said...

Europeans of my ken think our country's abhorrence of rose is rather quaint. They look down their noses and sniff that we know not what we are missing.

I'm with you on the purist/puritan thing. I also think (and this applies to my culinary talents, or lack thereof) it's easier to both mess up and make well a simple meal. It's a stretch if you layer flavor upon flavor, unless you bring in the big dogs like mustard to get everything else to step in line.

That said, here's to another 26 years of culinary experimentation to you and Cranky! (Chin-chin!)

Anita (Married... with dinner) said...

Yay! What a way to celebrate. I think charcuterie should definitely be the new-traditional 26th anniversary gift. :D

Katie Zeller said...

Happy Anniversary! Anything goes will with the lovely champers!

I practice the art of compromise regarding the food: the first bite or two is pure...after that I'm free to mess with it as much as I want - assuming I want to. I get really pure when it comes to my pan-seared foie gras - sea salt and nothing else...particularly not blueberry syrup (bletch)

Dagny said...

After you pass 50 years, you can receive anniversary wishes from the President. Just a thought. ;-)

Anonymous said...

Interestingly, I'm pretty sure 26 *is* mostarda. And worry not, when you said mostarda, my thoughts ranged more to a ketchupy condiment than mustard -- but that's the eye-talian in me again. I invite you to adulter my strawberry preserves/sauce to your heart's content (I don't know yet what we will do with the remains ...). I would hardly call it artisanal, merely homemade.

Anonymous said...

Well done, you two -- and may the magic last.

I am a purist, too, and seem to be getting more "puritanical", as you said, all the time. I so like to taste things in their original form that sometimes it's hard to experiment. Think what I like best is picking up ideas from those who do when they appeal to me. (And the blogosphere is the ideal place for that.)

Abby said...


Jennifer Maiser said...

We should put together a food bloggers' anniversary list. Year 1 would be prosciutto, Year 2 would be chocolate covered graham crackers, Year 3 would be gummy bears. ;)

I had to call mom and ask her what all those songs meant. I guess it was songs that were popular the year you got married. Did you know that?

Tea said...

I love Jen's idea! And, of course, champers for every year.

Congratulations! Wishing you all the best, for many years to come.

Stacie said...

happy anniversary and I commend your bravery! mix it up! or, like we used to say in the East Bay, f%#k sh*t up! man, that spread sounds awesome... happy happy!

Anonymous said...

I can remember when just about the only wine one could buy in the US was the sparkling rose' in the terra cotta bottle - Lancers! That, and Mateus, were the only wines served in our house! I love rose', but I'm glad the years have brought more choices, too!
Happy Anniversary! I'm only approaching the 8th... this second time around! :-)

cookiecrumb said...

Dagny: So I can just make something up. Last year we got a silver car. This year, food.

Kalyn: Thank you! Right about now, we're staying together out of inertia. But... yeah, we're a pretty good couple.

Tammy: Well, see, I got married when I was one. :D

Jen's Mom!!! Where ya been, gal? Thank you for what I'm told was a list of greatest hits from 1981. I remember "Bette Davis Eyes." I'm not sayin' anything about the rest.
You are super.

Ilva: Yes, fortunately! We must be brave.

Anna: I think we just might make it. Thank you.

KathyF: Thanks, luv. BTW, Cranky made sure to point out a NYT op-ed piece today by Timothy Egan on the farm bill, which favorably mentions your cousin-in-law, Jeff Flake.

El: Aw, thanks. Incidentally, I'm concocting a blog post in my head about how local eating has totally simplified my cooking. It's all about flavor. And yet. Now and then you crave a little jolt. I'm still not over soy sauce.

Anita: Sure, but why wait for your 26th? I wish you charcuterie for your next anniversary. :D

Katie: Cranky and I agree with you. First bite or two -- virginal and appreciative. Then, fire away!
(I wish you would saute foie gras for me. I melted mine.)

Dagny: My only thought on reading about the president's wishes was "Who the hell is it going to be in 24 years?"

Sean: Does everybody love you as much as I do?

Kudzu: OK, "puritanical" is our secret code word for "stodgy." Eh?
Yes, I agree with you that the blogs are such a great resource for a kick in the stodgy slats. :D

Abby: Merci!

Jen: That beats some of the dumb traditional ones like "paper." Well, that would be OK if it was paper wrapped around a fine piece of pepperoni.
Nope, didn't guess that about the songs. Thanks!

Tea: Yeah. Champers. Pink!! Cheers.

Stacie: Here in refined Marin County, we say "Fornicate that crap." Well. No. :-)

Pam: Eee! Lancer's was bubbly? I guess I never had any, but I remember when Mateus was the height of suburban sophistication -- or a freshman's best hopes of getting laid.
Best wishes to you... My first didn't last a year.
(My dad says he knows *of* your dad, BTW, but didn't meet him...)

Ms Brown Mouse said...

Bugger tradition, after 26 years you've earned the right to pick whatever gift you want and pink fizzy wine, pork & duck sound just perfect. Congratulations, may life be good!

Anonymous said...

Fun that your Dad has heard of mine - mine has gone to heaven so I can't consult him about whether or not he knew of yours. I miss that old guy - he was great fun!

Try Vin Gris from Mt. Tamalpais Vineyards - it's the best rose' I've had in a long, long time and I found it on some food blog that linked to yours - can't remember which one, but I owe them one! I got it at the wine shop in the Ferry Plaza building.

Anonymous said...


cookiecrumb said...

DMM: I think you're right. I'll do it my way, thank you. xx

Pam: Too bad they didn't actually know each other.
And! YES! I've had glass after glass of the Vin Gris. God, so lovely. So pink! I first tried it at the Ferry Plaza wine bar, too, and we bought a bottle on the spot.

Sean: You smug little bastard. And I mean that in the most loving way, as you know. :D

Anonymous said...

Yes, the pink color is a raspberry pink rather than the more usual strawberry pink - and the flavor is more raspberry, too. Now, I actually look for that color. We bought two bottles and are hoarding #2. #1 went the way of all good things.

Barbara said...

I'm a little late but Happy Anniversary to you both.

cookiecrumb said...

Thank you, Barbara!

MizD said...

A woefully late happy anniversary to you! I tried to post earlier but my silly computer ate my blogger password when it died and I couldn't remember where I'd written it down. Ours was the day before yours, of course, and I'm told it was the "leather" anniversary, though sadly, we didn't do any leather-related shopping that day.

cookiecrumb said...

MizD: Ah, stirrings from you. Activity resumes?
Thank you, dolling.
And happy anniversary to you! You could celebrate leather with very little leather and nothing much on, yome sane? ;)