Corn has become a precious commodity this drought-stricken year and this summer I've heard about an unusually high number of strangely labor-intensive methods for cooking it, even when it comes to my seasonal favorite preparation — grilling. I've been told earnestly that grilled corn has to be shucked, brined overnight, air-dried, then carefully grilled for about an hour; or boiled in a court-bouillon for no less than ten minutes; or steamed stem-end down, tied with kitchen twine like asparagus, upright in a pot. It's as if all the cooking shows collectively overloaded people's common corn sense, making one of the simplest foods overwrought and complicated.
Thursday, Charlie Trotter (the chef) stood under the newly unveiled street sign bearing his name, a few steps west of Charlie Trotter's (the restaurant), closing tonight after 25 years of international acclaim, to answer a few questions from journalists, including yours truly.
Too bad my little interview seemed to go south almost as soon as it had started.
"Any other trick questions?" asked Trotter. I'd been asking him about his current school plans, since he first told the Sun-Times' Janet Fuller that he was planning to study philosophy and political theory for a master's degree.
Friday, August 31
My fellow food friends, the day is nigh. Oh wait, I wasn't talking about the "Casual" Charlie Trotter and Friends Final Feast at Trotter's. That's sold-out (at $250 a pop) though they say there's a waiting list. Oh no. I'm talking about the blessed 31st annual Taste of Melrose Park! Get your sfingi (think doughnut holes), arancini, cannoli and fried bologna sangwiches around Village Hall (1000 N. 25th Ave. — and remember, that's Melrose Park, capisce?). Check out food photos from last year's TOMP on LTHForum.com. This Taste runs three days through Sunday.
Two weeks ago today, I went salmon fishing off the coast of Alaska (after cooking at the Sitka Seafood Festival). I caught one, too — a silver, also known as coho. We actually have them off our coast too, in Lake Michigan. You can fish for not only coho, but the King of salmon too, the Chinook. And yes, they're edible.
Saturday, August 25
India is currently the second most populous country in the world, and one of North America's best known Little India neighborhoods can be found on Chicago's Devon Avenue, yet the culture's cuisine still seems so misunderstood here. Find enlightenment at "What's your hurry? Enjoy our curry!" with Anupy Singla at Kendall College, presented by the Culinary Historians of Chicago. Anupy, a local journalist-turned-blogger behind Indian as Apple Pie, will explain the difference between curry as South Asians know it and curry powder. She'll also talk about her new book, Vegan Indian Cooking, as well as trends in Indian restaurants in the U.S. And, most importantly, she'll cook samples.