Meet Jennifer, Lester and their squash. I know this looks improbable, and thoughts may quickly turn to Photoshop. But I would caution you not to be so skeptical. This pumpkin is very real. And, at the time of the photo, it weighed in at a staggering 700 pounds. Jennifer and her husband Andrew own Eminence Road Farm Winery in upstate NY. Their fabulous wines (they are unfined, unfiltered and are all bottled by hand) have become a hallmark of our entertaining. They also grow vegetables, are great cooks and Jennifer pickles a mean ramp. Lester helps out when he can.
Following on the heels of yesterday’s love letter to my Bialetti, is today’s puzzlement at the Aerobie Aeropress Coffeemaker. First, let me say thank you to my father, who has only the best of intentions. He testifies to the quality of its brew and, as a gift, sent the Aerobie to us the other day so we might share in his caffeine nirvana. In deference to his generosity and enthusiasm, I will try it later today before rendering a full opinion on its virtues. That aside, man is this thing ugly! So many parts. All black and brown plastic. Could it ever outlast my prized Italian maker? There is a certain psychology inherent in the design and use of tools for food and beverage preparation. Personally, I would strive for a better marriage between form and function. This thing looks to be more like something one would encounter in the urology department of a large hospital rather than in a kitchen. Puts me in mind of another discussion regarding the Dyson Vacuum Cleaner. But I’ll save that for another day.
The Bialetti Moka Express coffeemaker is a miracle of design, simplicity and longevity: no filters, no glass, just coffee, water and a flame. It was designed by Alfonso Bialetti (who happens to be the grandfather of Alberto Alessi) in 1933. I know there is a profusion of brewing options out there and, depending on how much of a connoisseur one is, probably many “finer” solutions to procuring a morning cup of coffee. That said, I’ve had this little pot since I was 22. I lived in Italy at the time, and I thought I should do as the natives do. So I bought one. I’ve since graduated to larger versions this same design, but that aside, I’ve been making my coffee the same way for as long as that.
Are we, or are we not, a nation of sandwich lovers? I would venture that we are probably more obsessed about sandwiches than most any other food, other than perhaps pizza and barbeque. David Schwen, a subversively funny designer, has captured our preoccupation with all that fits between two slices of bread. But he has brilliantly distilled it down to the barest of elements. I think you can buy a print version of a hamburger here. And a tee shirt here. I am going to lunch now…
Yes, I’d like a Blue Vervain Watersboten on the rocks please. Has a nice ring to it, doesn’t it? The bottle looks as though it’s from a different century, the name implies that it’s from a different country and it tastes as though it’s from a different world. These are subtle elixirs. Fragranced and smooth. SD Watersboten, based in Pennsylvania, is a purveyor of what they call Herbal Table Waters. These are drinks based on Angelica, Verbena or Rhodiola Rosea. They have a rarefied quality. And at almost $17 per 32 fluid oz., they will be served accordingly. But don’t you just love the bottles! More information here. Photographs by Richard Quindry.
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