What I’ve recently recognized about the world that we live in is that it lacks imagination. For all of the nouveau trends in food and dress, ‘retro’ is a rather civilized way of making lack of imagination seem trendy.
Style is an easy example. Ankel length, full length, wide leg, narrow leg, graphic prings, stripes, florals…it’s all been done before. Other than (thank God) changes in more practical fabric, it’s really not that different.
And then there’s food. One of my pet peeves. At a summer luncheon, I was served a house-named caesar salad. It boasted a poached egg atop a large disk of crispy parmesean which required explanation and directions with regard to how to actually eat the damn thing.
Let me be clear. This was NOT a caesar salad. The taste was similar, but it was not a caesar. It was delicious and did not disappoint my senses. The establishment could have at least given this wonderful creation the credit it deserved and called it something unique. As for the waldorf salad in a current epicurian rag-mag, it is not a waldorf salad. A waldorf salad has a specific dressing, walnuts, apples and lettuce. Eggs and cheese and pecans do not a fucking waldorf salad make. Please, for the love of all that’s holy, at least come up with an original name!!!
My ultimate annoyance is the caesar. Gimme some voddy and clamato. Rim it with celery seed and plop in a celery stick.
When messing with the classic caesar came into vogue over a decade ago, I was sitting at Fran’s in Toronto waiting for my date. We were headed to a Bonnie Raitt concert at old Massey Hall, and I was hungry. A great drink to order prior to a meal (when you’re freaking starving) is a caesar. It’s ok to have a cocktail while you’re waiting, but not so much a meal, and a caesar is pretty much an appetizer in a glass.
So I ordered my caesar and people watched. Enter the spicy bean. Like I said, I was hungry. So, I chomped down on the offending bean and almost died choking. I downed my glass of water, my caesar, and had to order another just to stop from choking again. Please no bean this time. Celery if you have it.
Please, do not garnish my classic cocktails with pretensious garnish that need to be groomed, pampered, handled with cutlery or introduced and explained.
Cocktail bars and great restaurants need not rely on old names for new, delicious concoctions. They need to get creative. Don’t sell me either caesar unless it’s true. Do tempt me with new concoctions with new names. Imagination is sexy darling, dreadful surprises are not.