Now that I finally posted last year’s Duck Day notes and photos, I can do this year’s, which had the theme of “Bistronomy.” This year’s meal had the constraint on it that we were going to be in Singapore for the TwoSet Violin concert and wouldn’t get back until basically 6 days before Thanksgiving — functionally 5 days since jet lag wiped out an entire day — and normally we would have to start more than a week in advance to both source all the ingredients and do other prep of pickling, growing sprouts or herbs, etc etc. So we knew we had to keep ourselves from getting too ambitious, and we wouldn’t have time to run test recipes.
As it turns out, we’ve got so much stuff in our larders and already in process, though, and have stockpiled so many cooking techniques over the past several years, that we could pull it off in 5 days without straining ourselves too badly.
This year’s meal was highly influenced by last year’s trip to Paris. (The trip to Singapore was of course also an influence but there’s no way we were going to come home and try to work out Peranakan cuisine in 5 days, so it’s only there in a few spots.) In addition to the fancy ADMO dinner, we also managed to eat at Septime, one of the leading restaurants in the “bistronomy” movement. If you are from the Boston area you might have eaten at Journeyman, which was also a very bistronomic place. The Green Goddess in New Orleans was another notable US entry to this type of restaurant, and my fave is Edison Food Lab, Jeanie Pierola’s original place in Tampa (still there!).
“Bistronomy” was coined when various chefs, trained in the usual French haute cuisine style, found themselves not wanting to spend seven figures on tableware and having to have a huge staff needed for the typical fancy restaurant, and instead preparing a hyperlocal, constantly changing menu in more casual settings. (I’d almost call it “food forward” if it weren’t ludicrous to imply that stuffier, more traditional restaurants were not somehow also about the food…?)
Among the hallmarks of bistronomy: pickling your own stuff in house, growing your own herbs (since you are a small place and not trying to do 200+ covers a night…), inventive “outside the box” fusion…. heeyyyyyy, does this not sound like the way corwin and I cook and eat all the time?? A second theme emerged, though, which was basically: reuse – recycle – repurpose.
So he bought the Bistronomy book by Jane Sigel (get it on Bookshop, Amazon, Indie boosktores) just to look at recipes and read up on the history a bit more, and we planned our menu while jaunting around Singapore. (I think we were at the Michelin-starred restaurant Meta, which is deeply Korean while at the same time being very much in the French tradition of fine dining, when we came up with most of the menu.)
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