Photo by dumbledad/FlickrCC
Last month, Stephanie Pierson and Barbara Harrison kicked off their eating etiquette column, What To Do...?, by offering expert advice for how to act around celebrity chefs. Here, they give counsel on how to react to the food world's increasingly confusing dishes.
The economy seems to be forcing restaurants and chefs to be more creative. But what a thin line between creative and confusing.
What's on the menu? Complicated combinations of ingredients you're pretty sure you won't find at the local Piggly Wiggly (Madai with Yuzu Gelée? Shiro? Bacon Dashi?), heaped on a platter of hyperbole and accompanied by a dash of droll (Foie Gras Loco Moco.)
Maybe your dish is trying too hard. (Grasshopper Mint-Chocolate Salad.) Or not trying hard enough. (Menu item at David Burke at Bloomingdale's: "Yesterday's Soup.") Or trying to be something it isn't. (Lentil Sliders.)
It's all very...trying.
SITUATION: If you haven't heard of half of the ingredients in a dish, does that guarantee it will be more special? If the ingredients are new or exotic, does that make it worth more?
"I'm a sucker for things I haven't heard of, especially if they're expensive. I figure that I know a lot about food, so if I'm not familiar with something and it's on a fancy-pants menu, then it must be extra special. Weird combinations also get me. I can pair beets and goat cheese at home. But if someone is whipping up roasted nettles in a pomegranate reduction, it's kind of intriguing.