On my way to work this morning, I heard an interview with Mark Bello, who teaches folks with regular home ovens, to make pizza at his Little Italy-workshop, Pizza a Casa. He was describing his obsessive method for bringing pizza from New York home to Chicago: “I had this system of transporting frozen slices, which involved wrapping each slice tightly in tin foil to prevent freezer burn, labeling individual ziplock bags and storing them in my mom’s freezer in Jersey until the return back to Chicago in my suitcase in a cooler bag.”
I thought: What a nut! Then I thought: Wait a minute, Emily. You’ve done exactly the same thing. I have gone to great, and ridiculous lengths—driven hours out of my way, made friends and family wait in hour-plus-long lines and paid entirely too much money—just to eat food that someone else has raved about. One morning, on vacation in Vermont, I drove two hours south of my hotel to eat donuts that I’d read about online. I arrived at the small shop, starved, 10 minutes before they closed for the day, and purchased a few of their last, cold hangers on. On the way home from that same trip, I drove across the state to a truck stop I’d read about, and ate a lackluster open-faced turkey sandwich and a not-bad coconut cream pie. I’ve waited in line for two hours to brunch at Prune and have forced my parents to endure the young and painfully hip crowds at the Spotted Pig. My father wailed: “This is abuse!” I think, in hindsight, he may have been right.
As a food professional I am supposed to take pride in making physical and emotional sacrifices, in climbing mountains and torturing my family, just to eat only the best in food. Well, I just won’t do it anymore. I am calmer, wiser, and less patient in my old age. And I’ve never eaten better!
Tell me about the lengths you’ve gone—or continue to go—to for food.