Daniel got jealous of my seafood post on Tuesday and wanted in on the action.
I’ll keep this short, but yes, reading about Mark’s never-ending shellfish dinner immediately made we want to write about cooking a giant, steaming pot of mussels or clams. Why? Because shellfish in spring brings me back to a very specific place and time: College, the end of it, when I mostly stopped doing homework and started committing considerable time and attention to lying in the grass.
More or less, this was also the period when I really started learning how to cook, and there are two dishes that consume my memory of those months. One was smoked ribs: A friend and I “borrowed” some plywood from the wood shop to build a smoker that basically ran continuously from April to graduation. It has since burned to the ground. A plywood smoker caught on fire—hard to believe.
The other was a giant pot of steamed mussels, a novice college cook’s dream. Mussels are cheap, they require one big pot (which is probably all that we had), they’re dead simple to cook, and they felt and still feel classy as hell. (All the same can be said of clams, except for the cheap part). I cooked mussels a lot that spring: with friends and for friends; with garlic and tomatoes and parsley; with white wine and cream; with coconut milk, curry, and beer; eaten inside on cruddy tables; and eaten outside on the grass. I cooked mussels and French fries for a Valentine’s Day date. We’re married now.
We produce reported pieces, profiles, interviews, and rants about what’s broken in the food world (there’s a lot) and how to change things for the better. People sometimes tell me to just keep politics out of it. Respectfully: No. Food is political. We can’t and won’t ignore that.