Saturday, January 26, 2008

The meal I can't talk about

When it comes to writing about food, I have a rule: don't talk about your friends.

It's perfectly fine to critique one's own creations, or to have fantastically witty things to say about restaurant meals (you know, as I do all the time), but writing up domestic dinner parties ("Kate's chicken dish, much like a community theater production, was amateurish and overwrought") is Just Not Done. Not only could such an act threaten a friendship, it might also mean we don't get invited back.

This week I faced a conundrum when we were invited chez les Frères Fabuleux for dinner. One is a former colleague, fellow Spanish-practicer and all-round sweetheart; the other is a formidable professional chef who has worked in kitchens from
Yountville to Vienna and is currently in residence at one of the best restos in Cambridge, if not New England (and is also very lovely).

So on which side does this fall? Friends or free-for-all?

In the end, I decided to play nice. The Chef was cooking on his day off, after all; it would hardly be fair to tear apart his domestic offerings.

Which means I can't tell you about the winter salad of rocket and radish and roasted beets, and that's a real pity, because the textures and flavors all played off each other so nicely: sweet and bitter, soft and crunchy. I definitely can't show you a picture. Well, not a whole one.

I certainly won't be illustrating the gigot d'agneau (the fat so sweet and aromatic with herbs) or the accompanying creamy, complex garbure-like stew of white beans and thick chunks of salami.

And I probably should just stay clear of the buttery tart topped with Glühwein-poached pears.

Yep. Won't say a word.

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