Everything I hate about foodies is packed into that last one. Everything. Foodies, I've decided, are not people who love food. They're people who love making simple things complicated out of bloodyminded competitiveness. This revisiting of an old recipe from--the horror--a home cook is perfectly emblematic of the problem. Here's what I mean:
Earlier this summer, I gave the Málaga gazpacho recipe to Michael Tusk, the chef and an owner of Quince Restaurant in San Francisco, to see what it would inspire in him. Deceit, at first: Tusk said he had to sneak around the San Francisco farmer’s market in a hooded sweatshirt with a bag of local hot-house tomatoes, hoping that none of his watchdog chef friends would catch him with the contraband.
I'm not sure what he was sneaking around for; are local hot-house tomatoes bad? Should they have been vine-ripened? Organic? Imported? See, the implication is I'm supposed to know this stuff, that only a pariah would not know this stuff. This is 1980s wine snobbery all over again, and I hate it.
Back in the privacy of his kitchen, Tusk stripped out all of the flavors from the original recipe and essentially gave each ingredient its own stage. He ran a variety of tomatoes through a food mill to get a dense base. Into this, Tusk floated a simple cucumber granita, given a little zip with cucumber vinegar (although Champagne vinegar also works).
And screw you, I guess, if you can't get Champagne vinegar. But let's look at that "simple" cucumber granita. Oh, I get what they mean by "simple" here; they mean simple in composition, not simple in execution. And a good thing, too, because it definitely isn't simple in execution:
To make the cucumber granita: Place the cucumber in a food processor and pulse until smooth. Stir in the cucumber vinegar and salt, to taste, and place in a shallow, wide pan in the freezer. Run a fork through the granita every 20 minutes for approximately 2 hours. Keep in the freezer until ready to serve. (This can be done the day before.)
This whole article should be subtitled: "How to Take Food Preparation from Fun to Fatiguing."
Well, I was after a good gazpacho recipe anyway. I'll use the 1968 one. Let Michael Tusk fart around with food mills and granitas; gazpacho originated as a simple (in composition and execution), summertime food of the poor. In my kitchen, that is how it will stay.