I have the kind of relationship to food that I think many people might identify with: I love to eat. But cooking, meh, not so much.
Actually, it’s not that I don’t like to cook. It’s just that I love thinking, reading and writing so much that cooking gets in the way, even when there are pots on the stove (as my consistently burned Cream of Wheat can attest). As my sister Gina, a superb cook and hostess, always says, “If you would just bring to cooking the passion you bring to writing, you’d be a halfway decent cook.”
Unfortunately, the only thing I really enjoy about cooking – synthesizing things in new ways – is what I love about writing.
Then, too, my kitchen experiences are somehow often derailed by culture. There was the time after a big holiday dinner that I decided to inaugurate the self-cleaning device on the oven while watching the movie “Sylvia,” in which tragic poet Sylvia Plath (an excellent cook, played by Gwyneth Paltrow, no slouch in the kitchen herself) ends it all by sticking her head in the stove. The newly metallic smell of the self-cleaning feature, the intense heat emanating from the oven – well, it was too much for me. Convinced I would gas myself, I turned it off and proceeded to open all the windows in 30-degree weather. “You’re a nut,” Aunt Mary, a fabulous professional cook, yelled down from upstairs.
Then there was the time I attempted to make red velvet cupcakes after seeing Johnny Depp in “Sweeney Todd.” The result was me on a fainting couch. I think the less said about that episode, the better.
Fortunately for WAG readers this month, we’re all about people who know a sous chef from a chef’s salad. Did I say people? I mean specifically men who can cook, and as we ladies know, there are few things sexier on the face of God’s green earth.
Our guys fall into two distinct categories – the pros and the talented amateurs. The latter include cover guy Stanley Tucci, who has a long association with food on-screen (“Big Night,” “Julie & Julia”) and off (“The Tucci Cookbook”). He leads a group that includes Shelton Police Chief Joel Hurliman, Dr. Richard Klein, banker John Ritacco and media executive Jeffrey Warshaw.
Then there are those who have a professional association with food – De Cecco USA CEO Marco de Ceglie; Michael Jannetta, co-owner of the new Sala-on-Hudson restaurant; Stew Leonard Jr. of the eponymous market; Chef Marc Lippman of the Castle Hotel & Spa; and Chef Rafael Palomino of the new Palomino restaurant.
What all these men have in common – besides a love of pasta – is a playful passion, a tremendous sense of creativity that they bring to the art of dining. You may also notice another sub-theme, a strong Mediterranean connection. Recent studies have confirmed that the Mediterranean diet – with its emphasis on fruits and vegetables and use of olive oil – is a particularly healthy one, although we just love Italian and Spanish cuisines, to name two. So we have Cappy’s wanders piece, in which she unleashes the Gypsy in her soul through flamenco, and a story that considers the Latin lover in pop culture with a look at two of the greatest – Rudolph Valentino and Ramon Novarro.
There are pieces on the new Glo Beauty Bar and what’s under the chef’s apron – namely, men’s undies. And let’s say that Spanx isn’t just for women anymore.
But mostly we’re about food in our “Hot Tomatoes” issue. To our readers, we say, “Savor.”
And to our subjects, we say, “Hey, guys, what’s for dinner? We’ll be over at 6.”