Tuesday, September 9, 2014

It's foie gras vs. kibbee and hamburgers

I was 47 years old before I learned how to spell foie gras.I mention that only because I am a hopeless laggard in what Smithsonian Magazine has referred to as the Era of Crazed Oral Gratification, which in the old days we called pigging out.

Smithsonian , however, noted that it was a perfect fit to tell us at length about world-class eclectic foodie(!) Anthony Bourdain, the global traveler with an iron stomach in search of exciting  new tastes and textures. (Clue: Rotting shark!)

Less exotically, the New York Times featured a piece on its front page about a Chicago nursing home for retired nuns as an example of the way kitchens are responding foodwise to the increase in aging Americans.  An upscale senior center in Evanston serves citrus-dressed duck breasts and "tomahawk" pork chops.

"The latte and sushi generation is coming," the Times quoted Mary von Goeben, the executive director of the nuns' residence.

My culinary needs are largely satisfied at the food truck level, although there were things on my mother's table that lived in their own cultural universe: Raw kibbee, doused in a generous pouring of olive oil and set off with crispy raw onions.   We also shared a putrified smelly cheese which I will  attempt to spell phonetically.  It was called shunkleesh, a word that described its evil intent quite well.

The only dropout from kibbee in our tribe was my Aunt Della, who had read something about tapeworms and other toxic intruders in raw meat.  My parents lived into their 90s anyway.

Now that I can spell foie gras,  I have yet to figure out how to pronounce it in polite society. A hamburger life is so much simpler.


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