Tuesday, May 12, 2009

the same, but different

Almost exactly two years ago, I sat on a dull blue plastic-covered mattress, flipping through a copy of Saveur to pass the time in between college graduation and dorm check-out day. My mom sat across the room on a college-issued two-seat couch, fiddling with my iPod. The air hung around us, fragrant and sticky, the way it gets every few days in New York when spring finds its way into the city. I was irritable, partly because I had no idea what do do with this new freedom after a lifetime of doing homework. Mostly I was irritable because I couldn't stand that humidity.

I delved into Saveur, reading every bit of text and examining each photo. I think that issue may have contained an article focused on Bengali dishes. The photos framed sacks of color-saturated spices. I didn't know what I would be doing for the next few months, but I hoped it would include those spices. Back then, I was pretty newly cooking-obsessed. This was, in part, thanks to my fantastic roommate of two years, Anjal. During our time living, cooking, and generally having fun together, she introduced me to agave nectar, her ethereal homemade chai, and a nebulous little concept called food politics. Facing a future that didn't include Anjal, I grasped onto what I could: A Saveur magazine describing flavors that would flit across my tongue in perfectly coordinated ecstasy. That summer did have some incredible flavors in store for me: I ended up interning as an affineur at Artisanal Cheese, allowing me to put off full-time work just a little bit longer while tasting some truly great stuff. Even if that season held big bunches of uncertainty, at least I ate well.
I all but forgot about Saveur for the past couple of years until a few weeks ago when I stumbled upon its website. I particularly liked a little feature of seven salads, all perfectly melding everything one could ever want in a salad with what spring has to offer. I had to make one, if only to say that I finally cooked something out of Saveur.

Ostensibly, not a lot has changed in the past two years. I still visit Adriana and her family in New Jersey every so often, and my mom still needs my help with the ol' iPod. New York still gets obnoxiously humid on random spring days, and I find myself leaving the house in a tank top while everybody else dons their fashionable spring jackets. Just the other day, I wore the same shirt that I wore to college graduation. It still has the same rip on the left side of the neck, and I still don't care.
Other things really have shifted. Adriana and I mustered up some courage and decided to put our cooking, writing and photography out into cyberspace with this blog. I don't hate the humidity quite so much, because I've forced myself to just embrace it (for the most part). I've started looking, really looking, at the city all around me, and it's sometimes even pretty. Plus, I'm working only one job and have no homework to do, which allows time to notice things like how very green the trees have suddenly gotten and the way the air hangs delicately on warm nights, carrying laughter and hints of white zinfandel on its breath.

I'd venture to say that since my first reading of Saveur, life has circled back into itself, improving after a few times around.


Fennel, Sunchoke, And Apple Salad
Adapted from Saveur

1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 Tbsp. raw apple cider vinegar
2 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
2 Tbsp. chopped scallions or chives
2 Tbsp. chopped fennel fronds
Salt and pepper to taste
8 radishes, trimmed and thinly sliced (I didn't use them, but you can)
6 sunchokes (Jerusalem artichokes), peeled and thinly sliced
2 Gala or Fuji apples, cored and thinly sliced
2 fennel bulbs, trimmed, cored, and thinly sliced

In a small bowl, whisk together oil, vinegar, lemon juice, scallions or chives, and fennel fronds, and season with salt and pepper to taste.

Add radishes, sunchokes, apples, and fennel. Toss well and refrigerate for a half hour to a day, allowing the flavors to come together. Season with salt and pepper before serving. This is a great salad to make on the weekend and use throughout the week, as it stays crunchy for several days.


  1. Wow, that totally brings me back to the strange afternoons I spent right before I graduated. Was that actually 2 years ago? I'm definitely going to try this salad, Kylie. It looks delicious.

  2. This is my favorite post of all time.

  3. I have never tasted sunchokes ... this recipe makes me want to search them out!



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Adriana Willsie and Kylie Springman ©2009