Foodie Friends

Hello other Muffin Toppers! I wanted to write today about the experience of having foodie friends. Last night I was perusing my bookshelves, looking for something else, when Laurie Colwin’s two books, Home Cooking and More Home Cooking caught my eye. I carried them upstairs to bed with me and read a bit from both of them, feeling both grateful and melancholy. Grateful because I love Laurie Colwin’s writing, and the sense that I have of her as a person. I love her sense of warmth, her humor, her generous spirit. And melancholy, because she died way too early, at the age of 48. When I heard of her death in 1992 I couldn’t help wondering if it had something to do with her penchant for butter balls:

… my mother would make butter balls. She took very cold pats of butter and rolled them between two flat, ridged wooden paddles that had beeen chilled in the freezer beforehand… working them until they became little balls, with crosshatched surfaces. Then, she made a hole in each ball, sprinkled in a pinch of sugar and a drop of lemon juice, and put the balls in the fridge. Later, my sister and I were allowed to eat the butter balls as a treat, and, believe me, they were wonderful.

I believe her. Here was someone who took such pleasure in not only food, but words, and the company of human people. I longed to somehow, someday be her friend, to hang out with her in her kitchen while she whipped up some spicy gingerbread or her mother’s beef stew with buttered noodles. (more butter, mmmmmm) Apparently I’m not the only one who feels that way.

Some of my dearest friends look upon food as a necessary evil. Some of them see it as a drug (they have a point) For some, food is strictly utilitarian. And others are intimidated by things like cookbooks. Some of them would no more likely watch a food show on TV than I would watch a round of golf. (ie, one in ten million)

Speaking of food TV, I would like to bring up Rachel Ray. So many people just loathe and despise her. She’s totally over the top cutie pie, but for some reason, I don’t find her despicable. When I was at Blue Mountain last year, I found this issue of Adirondack magazine that showed the house where she lives in upstate NY with her mom (which she bought for her mom), and it was the most appealing, beautifully rustic place. I think she would be fun to tool around with, traveling and finding unique and fun places to eat at, although I would give much bigger tips than she does. I almost hacked my way through my TV screen when she was on some trip to Maine, eating lobster rolls out on some pier. I wanted to be there so badly! I like people who are enthusiastic about food, rather than suspicious of it or indifferent.

It’s been such a treat to discover that there are foodies among my friends recently. And I can curl up with Laurie Colwin’s delicious words and experience her cooking and her company on a different level.

6 responses to “Foodie Friends

  1. My Laurie Colwin is Alice Waters (although she’s not deceased). She was the one, through Chez Panisse Menu Cookbook that inspired the foodie in me.
    While I can appreciate that Rachel Ray is quite a nice person, I have a bit of an issue that someone with dubious ability in the kitchen is allowed such foodie celebrity. It just kinda irks me – could be jealousy, I’ll freely admit – and I’m not one bit afraid to say so.

    Great post Susan!!

  2. I don’t think I could be friends with anyone who DIDN’T like food as much as I did. I even ran my boyfriend through several informal food-tests to make sure he liked certain dishes! (pho was one, lumpia was another, but I can’t imagine why I’d ever date anyone who didn’t like either…)

    I have to say I agree with Eric about Rachel Ray. I even have a good friend who LOVES her, calls her “ray-ray” for short. But the woman has SEVEN COOKBOOKS out all at the same time. It was just a bit much for me.

    To be fair, I’ve never seen a whole show of hers or tried a recipe. (Yes, I’m just judging her and all 7 of her books by their covers…)

  3. Btw, those butter balls sound delish. And dangerous.

  4. I am suspicious of people who don’t swear, and people who don’t love food. 🙂 So I’m glad we’re friends, Susan.

    But wrt Rachel Ray–I am also suspicious of “cooks on TV” who yell. And that would be Emeril and Rachel Ray. Why must they yell? 🙂

  5. I’m a big Laurie Colwin fan, too. Her books migrate between my nightstand and my kitchen bookshelf– they’re some of the best reading cookbooks I know. She has the best recipe for gingerbread, she makes me want to make jam (I’m going to do it this summer, really!), she very nearly convinced me to buy an electric frying pan to make fried chicken, even though I’m a vegetarian– that’s how wonderfully enthusiastic her writing is.

  6. …okay Susan, you have pierced my psyche with this post. I am craving butter balls!

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