A Few Good Meals without any Pictures

Years ago, when traveling in South America, I had just taken some amazing pictures of a guy I met who was training to be in the circus. His name was Jaime, and he was practicing in the hall of my ‘hotel’ (in quotes because it resembled more of a prison). The pictures were beautiful and inspiring, showing the great drive he had to learn the skills, but also the hard work of training. The next day my camera was stolen on a bus through Northern Peru. I was, of course, devastated at the loss of all the pictures, especially those of Jaime, which would never have been recreatable. As I got over the loss of the camera, though, I realized it just meant I had to step up my verbal descriptions of the scenes that I was writing about. I may not have a picture of the old lady at the bus stop telling me you could tell the peacock was abused because of the notches in its tail, but I could describe the sorrow in her face as she watched it wander the restaurant garden. To me, this would be my ideal for a food blog. I am not a photographer. I nearly didn’t graduate high school because I was failing photo class. I try, but my photos do not show the beauty of the food, they do not capture the flavors that I can describe. I am a writer, not a photographer, yet for my blog to be successful, I understand that the blog-reading public wants pictures. And so I try and I struggle, but every once in a while, indulge me and read a post that lacks pictures, such as this one.

On Monday night I took a hint from my (imaginary) friend Tony Bourdain and made what he claims he would like for his last meal. After purchasing a marrow bone from the Pike Place Market (they chopped it in 4 pieces for me), I went home and roasted a root vegetable mix of a turnip, two parsnips and a pile of fingerling potatos. I doused them in olive oil, added a few cloves of garlic and a spring of rosemary and put them in the oven for 20 minutes at 400. After that 20 minutes, I put the oven to 450 and added the bones, each sitting on top of a toast triangle to absorb the juiced that came out. While that was going on I made the parsley salad: parsley, capers, half a small onion, lemon juice and olive oil. Made some toast and after 20 minutes in the oven, pulled out both the bones and the root vegetables. The root vegetables were a reminder of the simple cooking of winter, virtually unadultered, these were delicious and golden with hints of garlic and rosemary. Then there were the bones. The only way to describe marrow to someone who doesn’t understand is that it is meat butter. Somewhere between eating pure fat and the most perfect piece of steak, there lies the flavor of marrow. As I had my tongue up inside the bone, B looked at me like I was a nutcase. Perhaps I am, but I think there was a little tiny piece of rich, meat flavored deliciousness left in there!

 Tuesday night B and his buddy were in a bit of a hurry to get out the door to see Buckethead (head hung in shame) so I wanted to cook them something easy that they could eat while taking their shots of JD and running out the door. Using a left over piece of pita to make bread crumbs, I combined that with one egg and a pound of ground lambe, some minced onion and a tad of parsley and made lamb meatballs. To wrap them with, I made tofu shirataki noodles and sauteed mushrooms, spinach and onion. Then I gave them butter lettuce leaves to wrap with and some sambal oelek to add a hint of spice. Not only was it delicious little bites of lamb, but I saw a girl do something very similar last night on Top Chef. Coincicdence? I think not.

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