Saturday, September 23, 2017

Chock-a-block City. Culture Night 2017

Chock-a-block City

Culture Night 2017
Isabelle busy at On the Pig's Back
Progress is slow as we enter the English Market on Culture Night. Little by little, it becomes clear that there are two lines in the packed old building, one going one way, another going the other way, both going slow! But you want to turn? No bother. Crowds yes, but courtesy abounds. A smile and then a gap and you’re on your way.
Tim and Jack McCarthy

On our way to a plate of local food. Eat it a counter or from the top of a cask. Eat it with strangers, from Cong, from Conna, from Congo. Who knows? Who cares? The music plays. The conversations start, flow on, on the food, the new baby, the dog, the new house, the turkey sexer (yes, that came up too).
Metropole sushi
Time to move on. Like the Arc-de-Triomphe roundabout, it is easier to get out than in, particularly if you're not too pushed where you exit. We weren't. Where next? There a gang of steel drummers playing by Brown & Thomas, a circus in North Main Street.
Justin introduces his Bertha's Revenge to
Cllr Des Cahill, ex Lord Mayor
We had been in North Main Street earlier, at a very well attended wine tasting in Bradley’s. Music outside the door there too. Master of Wine Mick O’Connell was conducting the tasting on behalf of Findlater's, introducing new wines he has sourced for them. Some gems there, from Portugal and Crete and Bordeaux, though it looks as if the Roqueterre Reservé Carignan 2016 from the Languedoc was “flying out the door”.
Jamie of Haven Shellfish at the Met
Superb stop in Nash 19 in Prince's Street where our generous host was, as ever, Claire Nash. She had some of her local producers lined up. Rupert was there with his cool cider and warm apple brandy from Longueville House while Justin Green was tasting his amazing Bertha’s Revenge gin.


That same gin had been used by Jack and Tim McCarthy from Kanturk in their sausages (no shortage of those!) and of course you couldn't leave without tasting the black pudding. 
Thumbs up from Tim Mulcahy of the Chicken Inn
And great too to meet Jane from Ardsallagh. Lots of new things going on there including her Feta style cheese and also her delicious creamy ash covered pyramid. She also had a selection of cheeses combined with a layer of chutney - the mango is superb. Watch out for these in SuperValu soon.
Market queue

The evening had started for us with a visit to the lobby of the Metropole Hotel where another superb host, Sandra Murphy, welcomed the guests, including Lord Mayor Tony Fitzgerald. Haven had their delicious oysters both raw (with a tasty salsa) and cooked and the hotel laid on some excellent sushi. And of course, there was a glass of bubbles on hand as well, wine and Murphy’s Stout too.

After that it was out onto the street to join the good humoured crowds making their way on foot and on bus to the many events all over the city. What a night!
Market Music



Amuse Bouche

In December, Pop insisted that Ed come for Hanukkah, because, he said, Zinaida would make latkes, and also they could watch Georgetown play Virginia, “Ewing versus Sampson, what a match-up!”. The latkes, Ed thought were heavy on the onion, and fried not in oil but, thoroughly, in Crisco; they ate them in front of the television, on paper plates, with sour cream and a quivering, translucent plum jelly.... Zinaida, Ed noticed,...., drank beer from a glass while poking at her frying pancakes... “The pancake,” she said, piling latkes on her spatula. “You want?”
....
Zinaida pointed out the refrigerator and added: “More zour crim.”


From Ed King by David Guterson

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Imperial Bond With Taittinger. Champagne Flights on the Mall

Imperial Bond With Taittinger

Champagne Flights on the Mall
Sparking Seventy Six

The bond between Cork’s venerable Imperial Hotel, over 200 years old, and the long established Champagne house of Taittinger was further enhanced with a special event in Seventy Six, the classy bar of the South Mall hotel, last Wednesday. Kevin McKee, UK Director Taittinger Family, took us through three of their Champagnes: Brut Reserve NV, Brut Prestige Rosé NV and the Nocturne Sec NV.

And speaking of bond, Kevin told how James Bond figured in the Taittinger story. The now famous champagne house had only begun to come to prominence in the mid 1930s. So it was something of a surprise for the family to read James Bond ordering Taittinger, which he called “the best in the world” in Casino Royale, Ian Fleming’s first Bond book (1953). The compliment was unsolicited.

Frits Potgieter, the Imperial’s General Manager, is determined to have even more champagne in the South Mall. “This is the first time ever in Cork for the Taittinger family. And it’s great for us that they’ve sent Kevin here. We have a great relationship with Taittinger and this is a great informal way to introduce the various styles of champagne.” 

And Frits also told me that after this first informal tasting, the hotel will offer tasting flights that will allow their customers try out and enjoy champagne. So do watch out for those.

Kevin told us that Taittinger are based in Reims, once the royal capital of France and it was here that Clovis The First, the first Christian king of the Franks, was baptised. During a  chat later on, Kevin told me of a theory that the name Clovis “mutated” into Louis, the name of many subsequent French monarchs. 

The fact that the kings were in Reims meant the local wine became the royal wine and that gave it quite a boost. Whenever there was a celebration in court, the local were an integral art of it and so Champagne became associated with all kinds of celebration.

We’re jumping about 12-hundred years here, from 500AD to 1729 when the first champagne house was founded. Taittinger was founded, though under a different name, in 1734. “It is still run by the family and that’s pretty unique,” said Kevin. “They are adamant on quality as their name is on the bottle. With champagne, there is nowhere to hide - flaws will be obvious - it has to be perfect.”

He told us of a constant battle between the accountants and the winemakers, with the accountants keen to move the champagne faster, the winemakers standing firm and refusing to let it go until it is perfect! “Luckily, we own about half the vineyards we need. Land in the Champagne region can cost one million euro per hectare!”

“We sell about six million bottles a year, only a very small percentage of the market.” He said the Imperial was an ideal match for the family “and the only partner we’re aware of who are doing a tasting flight.”

We started with the Brut Reserve NV. “the one with the white label. This has been in the cellar for three years. There’s lots of Chardonnay in there in this clear and crisp wine”. A very elegant cuvée indeed.
Tempting canapés with the Nocturne

The Rosé was another winner. Kevin explained: “There are two ways of producing rosé. Leave on the skins is one and that makes a heavy style, not one that we want. The second method is to make a red wine and add it to the mix. So twenty per cent Pinot Noir wine is added. We use clear glass in this bottle to show off the colour.”

Champagne, as we were finding out thanks to a selection of tempting canapés from the Imperial's kitchen, “is unbelievably versatile. You can use it right through the meal, from starter to dessert. This Rosé, three or four years in the cellar, has more body and flavour, again lots of Chardonnay there, and can cope with a bit more flavour on the plate.” The Imperial paired it with crab, ginger and mango and with Prosciutto di Parma, basil pesto.

Time then for the Nocturne with its purple label, designed for the evening. “A little bit softer, sec means off dry, next category up from brut, ideal for late in the evening.”

He explained the difference between brut and sec in sugar terms. “The brut and rosé have 9 grams per litre, almost dietary! This sec has 17.5 per litre, still very low in Champagne terms.” No shortage of sweetness with the delicious pairings here: Lemon Tart, white and milk chocolate desserts. 

 As the tasting drew to a pleasant lazy end, Kevin said Seventy Six on the Mall was a fantastic venue. “We are delighted to be partners here.” Frits thanks Kevin for coming and promised that this would be the “first of many tasting evenings”. 


While we were in Seventy Six, we decided to try something from their Irish tapas menu. The Duck Liver Paté with port glaze and toasted brioche (7.00) was superb, creamy and full of flavour. And another that I can recommend is the Pan Seared Scallops with Jack McCarthy’s Black Pudding (9.00), a by now classic combination with top class local ingredients. Quite a wine list here too. Quite a bar on the Mall!



Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Bordeaux. On the Double. St Emilion and Côtes de Bourg

Bordeaux. On the Double
St Emilion and Côtes de Bourg

Chateau Moulin de Grenet Lussac St Emilion (AOC) 2012, 13%, €19.75 Karwig Wines
Lussac is the most northerly of the St Emilion satellites. Here in the former Cistercian abbey of Faize, La Famille Roskan-Brunot have their vineyards. The Cistercians were noted for the austerity of their abbeys but this wine is rich and harmonious. So much so that noted wine writer James Suckling gave the 2015 vintage 91 points.

The other three satellites are  Montagne, Puisseguin and St Georges. “At their best, the wines from these areas are every bit as good as a Saint-Emilion grand cru. At their worst, they are attenuated and rustic.” I quote from The Wines of Bordeaux (2004) by Clive Coates. I reckon that this one is much closer to grand cru than to rustic.

The blend of 60% Merlot, 30% Cabernet Sauvignon and 10% Cabernet Franc, has a deep colour. Ripe dark red fruits, vanilla, tobacco and toast feature in the aromas. As smooth as it gets, with a hint of background spice, well rounded, rich and harmonious with a good aromatic finish, it is Very Highly Recommended indeed.

Chateau La Grommet Côtes de Bourg (AOC) 2009, 13%, €16.85 Mary Pawle Wines
Côtes de Bourg is known as the “little Switzerland of the Gironde”. Its beautiful landscape is much more pleasant on the eye than the boring flatlands of the Medoc across the estuary. If you’ve holidayed in or near Royan, then you’ve probably met the wines of Bourg and those of  Blaye.

This particular Grand Vin de Bordeaux is made from organic grapes. It is a blend of Merlot (the dominant grape in this bottle and, indeed in the area) and Cabernet Sauvignon and has spent 12 months in barrels.


Colour is a mid purple, legs slow enough to clear. Lovely aromas of warm red fruit. On the palate, it is ample with good depth, intense, fresh and balanced. A rich wine, with its by now silky tannins, it has a long flavourful finish and lacks nothing in character. A Bordeaux red for sure and Highly Recommended.

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Taste of the Week. Bó Rua Mature Cheese

Taste of the Week
Bó Rua Mature Cheese

During the recent FEAST in East Cork, I enjoyed a multi-course dinner at Sage and one of the highlights of the evening was the delicious mature cheese from nearby Bó Rua Farm, so much so that people, pretty full after the amazing meal, were taking some home with them. This is our current Taste of the Week.

The Dineens, Norma and Tom, have been making cheese from the milk of their Montbéliarde cows for just a couple of years. I was impressed with their early efforts at the Cork/Kerry Food Forum in 2015 but didn't know about this gem until Sage.

On this blog, you’ll often read of winemakers saying healthy fruit is a prerequisite for good wine. And the Dineens say the “cheese begins long before milk reaches the cheese vat with the careful breeding of our cows”. In 2015, they were honoured to receive an AHI ‘Milking For Quality Award’.


And you can expect a certain consistency from year to year as this is a “closed herd” meaning that all of the herd is born and bred on Bó Rua Farm, with cow families remaining for generations. Quality in, quality out. So do look out for the cheese from the red cow farm in Ballynoe!  

Monday, September 18, 2017

Taste Cork Week. Plus! Jazz Extension Added

Taste Cork Week. Plus!

Jazz Extension Added
The perfect cider pour by Rupert of Longueville House

Following last year’s success, Taste Cork Week returns next month. Indeed, it will run for more than a week with an extension that takes it up to the eve of the Jazz Weekend.

At the launch last week, in Nano Nagle Place, the spanking new major attraction right in the heart of the city, Ernest Cantillon of Festival Cork told us to watch out for some of the more informal events: jazz cafes, a distillery visit in a barn, and pop ups in unusual places. 
Ernest Cantillon of Festival Cork

One or more of those pop ups will be in the café in the peaceful gardens of Nano Nagle. Keep an eye on the Taste Cork website here for more details of all events.
.
Victor O'Sullivan (left) of Bluebell
and Tim Mulcahy (Chicken Inn)
Evenings with guest chefs always seem to be popular. One of the highlights from last year was in Isaac’s when Arun Kapil, founder of award-winning spice company Green Saffron, Chef Patron Canice Sharkey along with restaurant co-owners Michael and Catherine Ryan, hosted an exclusive sold-out spice pop-up at the Cork city institution in McCurtain Street.

Holy Smoke are one of the first up this year with an invite “to embark on a unique gourmet journey and experience the best of Irish BBQ cuisine, prepared with the local meat that is cooked in Holy Smoke’s signature barbecue-style, low-n-slow, for four to sixteen hours”. 

Pitmasters John Relihan and Decky Walsh will serve up an exquisite six-course meal on October 17th and will walk you through the secrets and preparation techniques behind each dish while Caroline Hennessy will masterfully guide you through the pairing of each dish, presenting and explaining the corresponding whiskey or craft beer.

Justin Green, and Bertha’s Revenge of course, were at the launch. And Justin has an event lined up at Ballyvolane House. It will kick-off at 12 noon  (October 18th) with a B&T (Bertha & Tonic) and as soon as everyone has arrived, guests will be given a tour of the house, gardens and gin distillery. 

Lunch will be served at 1pm in the dining terrace where guests can meet and chat with the makers over lunch. Stonewell Cider and Eight Degrees Brewing will also be involved and tipples produced by all three makers will be served during lunch.

So there you are, a nice trip to the countryside. As Ernest Cantillon said in his address the event is designed to bring city and county together and indeed both were officially represented on the night.
Lorna Conroy of
Kinsale Bay.

Lord Mayor Tony Fitzgerald pointed to the fact that Cork has been designated as a Healthy City and put that down largely to the good food in the area. He stressed the importance of festivals in drawing visitors and said he was very proud of what Ernest and his colleagues are doing.

Ian Doyle, Deputy County Mayor, rightly congratulated the City Council on the marvellous work that they have done (and are continuing to do) at Nano Nagle Place, “a fantastic venue”. He noted that artisan food and drink are becoming very important and praised the great dedication shown by the producers.

Ernest said there is a great relationship between businesses, such as restaurants and hotels and suppliers. “Cork is well known for the quality of its produce and it is up to us to make sure we use it.”

Shane Clarke, of Nano Nagle Place, gave us a brief rundown of the life of Nano Nagle and of the current project and said there had been some 250 years of education on the site, an element they intend to take forward. And he too mentioned their lovely cafe and is looking forward to the pop-ups during the festival. The Nano Nagle has just recently opened and is well worth a visit. Details here

As is usual with Taste Cork, there were quite a few producers in Nano Nagle: Cider from Stonewell and Longueville, spirits from Bertha’s Revenge, Kinsale and St Patrick’s, Kinsale Bay and the Fish Deli (great to meet up again with Monica and Peter), Bluebell Falls, Hassett’s, On the Pigs Back, and Ballymaloe Relish. And the Old Butter Roads Food Trail had a lovely tasting plate. Well done to all for turning up and adding to the occasion.


Sunday, September 17, 2017

A slice of Cork Food History. A walk; then a superb lunch in Jacques.

A Slice Of Cork Food History

A walk; then a superb lunch in Jacques.
Firkin Crane, with Butter Exchange on right.

Saturday last was that little bit different for members of the Munster Wine and Dine. No bus needed this time. A walk through some of Cork City’s old food (and drink) sites was followed by a lunch in Jacques where the menu gave an occasional nod to food from the past.

The walk, more of a conversation on the move really, began near Seamus Murphy’s Onion Seller sculpture in Cornmarket Street and  threw up a few surprises. 

The first was the delight of some walkers who were seeing the Saturday Coal Quay Market for the first time. And another delight came up in Shandon where sweets from the local sweet factory were distributed. Gaps of anticipation as the bags of Bull’s Eyes, Clove Rock, Butter Nuggets, Pear Drops, Rhubarb & Custard and other old time favourites appeared!

There were some differences as to the highlights - one walker loved the Seamus Murphy Dog Drinking Bowl in Patrick Street where the stroll finished - but there was general agreement that the powers that be need to get their act together about the Butter Exchange area, an area packed with history, that badly needs renovation and that has the potential to be a major tourist attraction. One suggested that a good power-wash would be a start.

Certainly much more needs to be done and quickly before the Exchange and its Portico fall victim to the march of time or the match of the arsonist.
Kilbrack Farm in the market

While some of the history touched on stretched back over the centuries, some was quite recent and when we reached the site of the old Whitaker's Hatchery on Camden Quay, we had first hand knowledge passed to us by ex-employee Aoife McCan. She told us all about the day-old chicks that were dispatched by bus all over the county and beyond.

But it was her tale of the “turkey sexer" that really surprised everyone. Apparently it is not easy to tell the difference between the genders. But some people have the gift! And Whitaker's had to book their expert well in advance and get him in from England when the turkey chicks, destined for Christmas market, were being born. Nobody wanted the “tougher” male turkeys, so the “sexer’s” job was to weed them out.

The Kiln Rover once flowed past Whitaker's but that part of it is now enclosed underground. We went up towards the brewery to get a glimpse of its waters. And another walker was able to tell us that the brewery and a nearby distillery (St Johns, long closed) would have had an argument or two about their use of the Kiln River’s water.

If you missed the walk, I have published my notes for it here and you may check it out for yourself. And if you want to get some of those sweets, note that the factory is open Monday to Friday, not on Saturday.

Pickled mussels
Huge queue at Jacques as we arrived for lunch but it was at the other side of the street heading to see Cillian Murphy in Crane Lane. A welcome glass of Longueville House cider as we got to our seats and than an immediate bite from the past: pickled mussels, apple, nasturtium. The pickling was a method of preserving them.

We had a choice of starters and I picked one of the old ones: Lambs kidneys, smoked potato purée, raisins, pine kernels, red wine. A blas from the past. The Barry’s here buy quite a share of their vegetables from the Kilbrack Farm stall in the Coal Quay market - we had stopped there earlier - and the Kilbrack beetroot was featured here with Ardsallagh cheese.
Lambs kidneys

Dave Barry’s Queens turned up in my mains which was a delicious fresh Hake, with seaweed butter, those spuds, and sprouting broccoli. Also available were Confit Duck (with pearl barley), Leg of Ham (with colcannon) and more.

And dessert was largely foraged: Carrigeen mousse and in-season blackberries. As we walked out on to the street, the rain had started to fall. We didn't mind too much as it had stayed dry for the walk!
Hake
If you missed the walk, I have published my notes for it here; you may like to check it out for yourself.
Dessert


Food Walk in Cork. Notes for the recent Munster Wine & Dine Walk.

MWD Food Walk in Cork
Notes for the recent Munster Wine & Dine Walk.

See also post on the actual walk and lunch afterwards in Jacques here.
The Onion Seller

Today, we start with this little statue of the Onion Seller. It was made in 1937 by Seamus Murphy to commemorate the traders here in Cornmarket Street but you’ll also have seen her twin over in Bishop Lucey Park.

The four bay double height Cornstore behind us has seen service as a cornstore and also as a potato and coal store. And, if you look up, you’ll see signs of it being a market and bazaar.

The Bodega stands on the site of St Peter’s Market. The main entrance was on North Main Street. It was completed in 1843 and became known as the Irish Market, its customers regarded as inferior to those of the English Market. 

After years of decline, the Irish Market closed in 1916 and then saw service as a shell factory for British military. Later, after the various wars, it was revived as a market and stuttered along until its final closure in 1955. 

Coal Quay Market


Across the road, you’ll the Musgrave name, long associated with food and general trading in the city. More recently, the Rising Sons brewery opened here, one of a handful of brew pubs across the city.

Now we have the Saturday Market on the Coal Quay, which was indeed a quay. But water is never far away here, just below the floors of the premises, always a worry. Here you’ll see some lovely stalls including Kilbrack Farm from where Jacques get their organic vegetables.


Over the footbridge now and, off to your right, you have Iyer and his famous South Indian food. On the left, there is a newish Nepalese restaurant called Thali (meaning plate!). 
The Cornstore (taken a few years back).

On the corner of Shandon Street, for a few months this year and up to a few weeks ago, the corner building had been painted with butter wraps including names such as Lee Valley, Silver Churn, Freemount and Drinagh. Not anymore, for some reason.

But a nearby advert has lasted much longer. Look up, above the hairdressers, and you’ll see the Arnott’s Gold Medal Porter sign. John Arnott was mayor of Cork for the first of three terms in 1859 and once owned the St Finbarre’s Brewery in the city. 

He also operated a large bakery on the site for a few years and, according to the Beamish and Crawford history (by the O’Drisceoil brothers) he was also involved in the Cork Racecourse, linen manufacture, drapery and department stores and the Irish Times.
North Gate Bridge (left) and Pope's Quay

The brewery, bought from Abbott’s in the early 1860s, became best known as Arnotts. And provided strong competition for both Murphy’s and Beamish’s. In the end, Murphy’s prevailed and in 1901 took over and closed down the Arnott’s breweries. 
Butter wraps - now painted over

Shandon Street was the spine of the city's commercial life in the 18th century. Such was the scale of the beef trade here that it was known as the slaughterhouse of Ireland. 

And it wasn’t just Ireland. In 1756, France and Britain were at each other’s throats in the Seven Years War and “the Great Ox-slaying city of Cork” emerged as the Royal Navy’s preferred supplier for beef, pork and butter. 

Let us head up now on the right hand of the street and, as we do, take a note of all the different cuisines available here. You’ll also find an info panel about some of famous people associated with the street. Turn right into Dominic Street and then go left by the Four Liars restaurant.

The Firkin Crane here was built on the site of Shandon Castle and is named after the small barrels in which butter was transported. Here the empty firkins were weighed, washed and repaired. They were used to export the butter to many areas of the world, especially where there was a British presence.

The Butter Exchange here was remarkable for its longevity, from 1770 to 1924. This Portico, a grand name for a porch, was built in 1849. By 1861, the Cork Butter Exchange became the largest butter exchange in the world. Exports peaked in the 1870s. After that it was in slow decline. Rigid in its ways, in ways that had previously served it well, it failed to react to foreign imports of butter into England and also to new developments in packaging.

The system itself, that included quality control and that had been remarkably successful for the best part of a century, now inhibited innovation and the end was nigh. You can find out all about the butter trade and the famous butter roads in the museum here.
A firkin

And if you want some good old sweets, you may call here to the  Exchange Toffee Works, now known as Shandon Sweets. The Linehan family have been making the sweets here since the 1920s and nowadays the business is carried by Dan and Tony, a father and son pairing. Signs here too for the Loft Shakespearian Company (founded by Father Christy O’Flynn, a man that I knew) and the Butter Exchange Brass Band, and also Mother Jones.

Down now to the quay, via Mulgrave Road. Whitaker’s were established here on Mulgrave Road in 1905, to pack butter and eggs; they later started breeding and hatching their own stock, a natural progression. They are still going strong today in Carrigaline, rearing one million point of lay pullets annually.

But they started their breeding here in the heart of city, on Camden Quay by the Kiln River (covered in 1992). I have to admit I remember them and the excitement at home when the box of day old chicks arrived, having journeyed out of the city by train or bus. And they were dispatched to many parts of the country as I was reminded when I recently saw an advert in the Gaelic Week of January 11th 1969, the swinging sixties in Ireland.

Walk up now towards the brewery and after while you’ll see glimpses of the Kiln River. Cross by the traffic lights into Leitrim Street. In the run-down triangle of buildings (including O’Keeffe’s Bar), there once was a café called An Stad where I and many other secondary school students would stop (on our way from a match in the Athletic Grounds) for a doughnut and a glass of milk! Times have changed since the early 60s.

Walk now to the four-way junction of McCurtain Street, Bridge Street, Coburg Street and Patrick’s. Again back to the 60s (and further) when drovers guided herds of cattle through these streets on their way to the Innishfallen on Penrose Quay, cattle below, humans above, all on the way to the UK. When the cattle had passed, the streets didn’t smell well, didn’t look well. Lots of these drives were in the morning so, to cater for the drovers and the dockers, some pubs in the area, were able to get an early opening licence.
The Bodega

Down now over Patrick’s Bridge and stop at the top of Patrick’s Street, more or less opposite the entrance to Merchant’s Quay shopping centre. Take a look at another Seamus Murphy sculpture, one of his smaller works. You’ll have to lean down to see it at the base of the building, 124 Patrick St.

In the 1950s, there was a restaurant here called the Milk Bar (how times have changed!). The owner commissioned the sculptor to make a trough so the dogs could have a drink while their owners dined inside! 

Our walk, book-ended by sculptor Murphy, ended here. See also post on the actual walk and lunch afterwards in Jacques here.

The route: Cornmarket Street (Coal Quay); over footbridge to Pope’s Quay; turn left to corner of Shandon Street and North Gate Bridge; turn right up Shandon; turn right into Dominick Street, then left by Butter Museum into John Redmond Street; down Redmond Street to T junction; turn right on to Mulgrave Road, then left on to Camden Quay; then left on to Carroll’s Quay; cross road at lights by Heineken Brewery and turn right onto Leitrim Street; walk along into Coburg Street to junction with Bridge St; turn right here, cross the Bridge into Patrick Street.

Friday, September 15, 2017

Amuse Bouche

via Wikipedia commons



....he had experienced far more global diversity than the average college junior. He knew about shaved ice and malasada, the fried pastry coated in sugar of Honolulu, and about permen cabai, the red pepper candy of Jakarta; now he picked up a simple Sindhi chicken curry recipe from the Pakistanis that became a staple of his home cooking during the New York years: caramelize some onions; toast a spice mix of turmeric, coriander, garlic, and cumin for a minute or so; throw in six chicken thighs and a bit of water; cook until the skin falls from the thighs. He knew the ways of different cultures better than he knew himself.


From Barack Obama by David Maraniss.