“The chef’s name, an alias, is Kenji Fujimoto, and for eleven years he was Kim Jong-il’s personal chef, court jester, and sidekick. He had seen the palaces, ridden the white stallions, smoked the Cuban cigars, and watched as, one by one, the people around him disappeared. It was part of Fujimoto’s job to fly North Korean jets around the world to procure dinner-party ingredients—to Iran for caviar, Tokyo for fish, or Denmark for beer. It was Fujimoto who flew to France to supply the Dear Leader’s yearly $700,000 cognac habit. And when the Dear Leader craved McDonald’s, it was Fujimoto who was dispatched to Beijing for an order of Big Macs to go.”
I did an Internet search for quotes about life, and what it’s like, and I found life is indeed like a box of sardines (according to Alan Bennett), but it’s also apparently like: chocolates (Forrest Gump), artichokes (Thomas Aloysius Dorgan), pasta (Fellini), pudding (W.S. Gilbert), soup (Flaubert), an onion (Carl Sandburg), and a bowl of cherries (Erma Bombeck). There is a pattern here.
We are cooks, my friends and I: cooking is something that binds us and grounds us. My sister takes cookbooks to bed, reads them the way other people read novels. My daughter and I like biographies, or volumes of letters about/by people who’ve made their lives in food — James Beard, Ruth Reichl, Amanda Hesser. Recipes, like maps, give you places to go, tell you how to get there.
If you think José Andrés’ food is cool, you should check out his library. He has one of Honoré Julien’s notebooks which, according to Andres, proves French fries were brought to America in the early 1800s.
Beef and bacon pie anyone? Janet Potter brings to life the culinary flair of George R.R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire using the fan-made cookbook, A Feast of Ice and Fire. Fortunately, no illegitimate heirs were stabbed, poisoned, or otherwise harmed during the course of the subsequent dinner party.