Wainscoted walls, top shelf lined with red, black, and gold insignias on tins of tea
Flotilla of knives, ladles, shimmer of grater ridges, measuring cups in a tidy line
Chopping boards etched by a century of knives, stirring spoons, sigh of lids
Ancestors draw close to breathe in stock simmering with scallions, mushrooms
Priests and muses, servants and masters, the cooks snip, toss, test, taste
White hands on black clock inch past 6 p.m.
Bass-voiced cook, Manhattan rich kid in the ancient kitchen becomes great grandson of
Russian Latvian Jews with soul patch, consults Torah for next prayer of butter and salt
Second cook with black curls, straight-backed Persian tenor glances up
Sweet smile above mound of sliced ripe apricots and perfume of strawberries
Bass cook’s wrists, a knife dancing duet, anchors red baby potato, slice, quick turn,
Quarter, toss into mound, white interiors glisten in lamp light
Scrawled black script:
Grilled Salmon Sauce: 1 shallot and 6 leeks
Cook till translucent add wine and sherry vinegar reduce by 2/3
Bass voice sighs: “15 years ago I had this dish. I’ve dreamed of it ever since.
Found the recipe from Robuchon. I think this is it!”
Through the open screened window, fog engulfs pine ridges
On rocky shore of islands across the wide channel
Split spruce hisses, sparks in the chrome-gleaming six-burner Queen Atlantic
Steel and enamel caldrons spew clouds rumbling under lids
Melted butter wafts through shrinking mound of shattered shallots and leeks
Wine and sherry hit hot iron, sweet steam
Bass cook talks to the stove: “Don’t make me leave you for the propane burner!
But I need some heat! Oh good, caught a major simmer.”
Bass: “Oh man, taste the broth!” Voice rises into Julia Child falsetto, “Does this need a
Soupçon of salt and white wine? Bon Appetit!” Tenor: “Lovely, lovely. And yes, salt.”
Work in 1 tbsp of cream and butter Garnish with tarragon
Thin sliver cabbage. Blanch in salted water
In t he Summe r Hous e Ki t chen: Di nne r f o r Ar t i s t s
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The Big House kitchen
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