I answered the phone to hear a man speaking loudly, not in an angry way, more excited with anticipation. I had trouble understanding him, his accent heavy and exotic, then heard the words, “Zenon Taverna” and realized he had first said, “It’s Stelios.” Then I knew who he was.
Jude's Culinary Journey
If you are an antsy person, as I am, the wait for the annual planting season can seem interminable. Where we live in Sullivan County, one generally doesn’t put trowel to earth until the first week in June for fear that a stray frost may unexpectedly hit and kill your newly planted herbs and vegetables.
My sister-in-law was visiting, and I brought her up to my bedroom to show her some changes I’d made to the décor. After she’d admired my new acquisitions, she looked down at an old wooden child’s chair on which sat a large, gangly stuffed animal, a monkey. She made a disparaging comment. “That’s Bananas,” I said defensively.
You have undoubtedly heard the phrase “you eat with your eyes.” To a great extent, this is true. Otherwise, cooks and chefs alike would disband with plating and garnishing food in an appetizing way. On the other hand, some have such an avid following they don’t bother with appearances.
When you work in a shop that specializes in the foods of a foreign country, as I did for 10 years, you often run into customers who aren’t quite sure how to pronounce an ingredient or product they want to purchase.
I’ve never been one to make New Year’s resolutions, partly because I could never think of something substantial-sounding, and I didn’t think I’d remember I’d made a resolution in the first place.
I’ve been cooking since I was a little girl, when I first coveted the Easy Bake Oven featured in commercials on television. Ignoring my pleas, but wanting to motivate me, my mother rolled up my pajama sleeves, propped me on a stool, and introduced me to the kitchen stove.
At the farmers’ market in Callicoon, I had a short discourse with a vendor on the benefits of cooler weather on such crops as Brussels sprouts, cabbage and cauliflower. The lower temperatures bring out the sweetness, she told me.
Earlier today, I went outside and leaned on the wooden rail of the front porch and looked down at what had become of my garden. Some people find pulling and tugging at weeds cathartic. I am not one of those. The ground was so overgrown with grass and weeds that I could no longer make out the globe basil, sage, or tarragon plants.
My sister, Janet, and I fell head over heels for Sullivan County 20 years ago. We rented a small tucked-away house in Callicoon and eventually bought it when the owners moved south. The place was unfurnished save for a funky speckled green metal table from the ‘50s.