Thursday, January 21, 2010
NEW ORLEANS UNDERGROUND GOURMET RIP
DR. RICHARD H. COLLIN RIP
uncannily, in the wee hours two nights ago, i pulled down his book to luxuriate in his vision of the great city & it's eating habits & locales. every now & then i get the itch to read through his book despite it not having much to do w/the current city of new orleans. it does have a lot to do w/the city i first visited when i was seventeen, fell in love w/immediately, & have returned to many many times.
the shit-ass willard & i used an edition of his book to navigate the city on my first real eating tour in '79. we dined at galatoires &, most significantly, leruths. i made my first visit to the inimitable buster holmes' based on collin's recommendation, along w/angelo brocato's, acme, the hummingbird & mothers. we went from the top to the bottom to the top again & experienced great food at every level. primarily, the book then opened up an aspect of the city i'd never considered important: it's food & it's eating habits. that he was so spot on w/his advice just re-enforced that importance to me. this was food as anthropological meditation, as archeological revelation:
"Ordering a grilled pork chop at any New Orleans resaurant is wasteful to the point of contemptibility. Most food---especially great food---is incomparable. Cooking is an art form. The art of dining consists in eating what a restaurant prepares best."
i still pretty much follow collin's edict here. when i'm back in new orleans, i'm usually eating all the seafood i can get my hands on. it's not that it's not done well out here in the bay area. in new orleans it can be ethereal & that's the experience i'm seeking when i eat. collin lead us to several ethereal moments way back then & lead me to a real appreciation of something i probably, snarkily, considered mundane at the time. i'd even stretch it to say that he lead me to my vocation.
FRIDAY ADDENDUM: TOM FITZMORRIS' NOTICE