December 4, 2010 § 7 Comments
I had the sudden realization during a conversation the other day that I have a tendency to go through, shall we say, unique obsessive phases. I was telling someone that I was really obsessed with igneous rocks – well, actually just obsidian and pumice – for about a year in middle school, and they gave me a look that clearly said, “I think that either you are from some planet that is separated from Earth by at least one asteroid belt, or else you probably grew up under one of those igneous rocks that you were obsessed with.” It had never really occurred to me before that this kind of obsession may not be entirely normal, and then I started thinking about some of my other obsessions. Scarab beetles, for a while. I was also fixated on Aquaporins (that would be the protein channels that allow water to travel through cell walls) and prions (the misfolded proteins that cause mad cow disease) at various points in time. And the concept of zero. And bloodroot flowers. And the “cerulean” Crayola crayon. And, well, you get the idea.
I also go through obsessive food phases (surprising no one). Like ricotta, or lemon zest, or chorizo, or mini turnovers. The phase I am currently in is Ottolenghi. That would be Yotam Ottolenghi and his eponymous cafes in London. One of my younger brothers is currently in London for grad school, which means that in theory he could get take out from Ottolenghi any time he wished. Ah, how unfair the world is. My obsession with Ottolenghi is by no means unique, however. He’s a bit of a buzzword in the food world, particularly because he has a new cookbook of vegetarian recipes out this year, and ever growing swaths of people are being extolling how fresh, curious, vibrant, and downright stunning his recipes are. He is the cure for food doldrums.