Well last night was the final straw.
After attending at least thirty charity
events this fall season, I've eaten my
last short rib. I truly don't know why
they became the protein of choice at
posh catering facilities. All I know is
that munching on them repeatedly at
the Waldorf, Plaza, Pierre, and even
the Marriot Marquis, causes one to
doubt if they'll ever eat another again.
What's makes me most sad about this
turn of events is that I actually make a
pretty damned good short rib. There is
nothing I like more than a slowly braised
hunk of beef. Years ago while working
at Marshall Field & Company I was
introduced to Staub porcelain glazed
cast iron. Voila, love at first braise!
You can put almost ANYTHING into
one and several hours later, MAGIC!
The good news is that none of the
major banquet chefs have embraced
the other assorted goodies cooking
in my Staub. Until they do, I can
continue to dish out Braised Lamb
Shanks, Boeuf Bourguignon, Osso
Buco, and good old Irish Stew!
All one can hope is that these don't
become fashionable to the $25,000
a table crowd. Otherwise I have no
idea what I can possibly serve at my
next dinner party! Maybe I should
just invite them to a charity event?!
Somehow I miss the old days of
roasted spring chicken and prime
rib. While we all complained, as
I now look back, they weren't
all that bad. Their simplicity was
actually appealing and therefore
still viable. Somehow everything
served en masse got fussy. In
our search for "different" options
we ended up dining on mounds
of carefully composed foodstuffs
designed to survive in an oven
for interminable lengths of time.
To make their goop palatable,
the grand hotels drown it in
sauce. Hence what I find most
terrifying about banquet dining.
There is nothing scarier than an
irate waiter looming over your
shoulder with sauce boat in hand.
Obviously catering managers and
committee women consider table
service posh. Having enjoyed a
sauce "bath" several times during
this season, I prefer getting it all
safely on one plate, splash free.
In the end there is light at the end
of the tunnel. Once the holidays
are over this town will shut down.
Until the tulips poke their heads
above the mulch, nobody will be
stepping out for charity. Such a
respite from "festive cocktail",
silent auctions, and short ribs is
most welcome. While I won't miss
said soirees, by February I may
braise some short ribs for old times
sake. After all, absence makes the
heart (and palate) grow fonder!