6-hour pork shoulder roast with palm sugar crust
Korean short ribs marinated in soy sauce, honey and pear purée
Ginger scallion sauce, ssam jang, gochu jang to dip
Korean perilla leaves and red leaf lettuce to wrap
Various kimchi and other pickled veggies
Lots and lots of soju and beer
…oookay, this is not exactly the usual Friday dinner every week, but this is the usual party food at my place.
Today I was listening to Charlie Rose interview with Ferran Adria. Adria says that food should satisfy in 4 levels: hunger, senses, emotion, intellect. Brilliant! I know, I know, it does sound a little bit too serious for food. After all, you want to be able to enjoy yourself at dinner rather than having a deep philosophical discussion about it. But what he said really stayed with me. I often hear chefs talk about food satisfying all 5 senses but I don’t often hear them go beyond that. I can respect that he is taking food that seriously. (On a side note, I can also appreciate that the first standard is satisfying hunger. You all know how much I dislike leaving a fancy restaurant feeling hungry.) And he is Ferran, who am I to argue otherwise.
So, I shall evaluate my meals according to Ferran’s standard. Let’s examine the aforementioned dinner, shall we?
- Hunger: There was indeed lots of food. I have a habit of preparing too much food and this time was no different. For 7 people, I prepared for 14. A friend attributes this unfortunate habit to me being an immigrant and all and there may be something to it. When I plan a dinner party, I always hear my mother frowning at some gathering that the hostess didn’t prepare enough food and what a shame it was. So there, lots of food and booze, check!
- Senses: It looked scrumptious and abundant. The short ribs were sizzling away and smelled sweet with all the meat caramelizing right at the table. The pork had a wonderfully fatty luscious texture and melted away in your mouth. It was pretty damn tasty. Check!
- Emotion: Um…people exhibited amazement at the amount of food displayed on the table…or was it concern? Anyhoo, I want to say Check?
- Intellect: Okay, I fail here. It was like a feeding frenzy at first, then people got really full really fast. Then there was more desire for a nap time than any intellectual adult discussion. Maybe I’m being to critical. There were good conversations, but not an intellectual one on food.
There you have it. While the food was good, I did not meet Ferran’s standards. The quest continues! (And what an enjoyable quest it is.)