SO THIS is how it is to live with a chef. True, it is a blessing. Expect nothing less than the best on the table every meal time, unless the chef is dead tired from work and opts to order take out, which rarely happens though.
You see chefs have created their own standard when it comes to food. They know what’s in every recipe, how the dishes are prepared and how these are cooked. No one can fool a learned tongue. And just like any “learned” person, they prefer preparing their own.
Staying with Nuhma, a Dabawenya living in The Big Apple and works as a private chef for several high profile personalities in the city, has taught me just that. She personally prepares and cooks each dish she set on the table, even her chili sauces and jams. Only the freshest of ingredients are to be used and that gives you a picture of the contents of the refrigerator-almost nothing (well, except for a few slabs of cheese and a variety of wine). That given, she has to shop almost everyday for fresh stock that she calls “happy food.”
Happy food is anything organically raised and grown, from greens to meat, and she knows who offers the best of what in NYC. If you need herbs go here, for fresh fruits go there, for happy pork and beef that butcher have them, for sausages made from happy pork go to this deli, for free range chicken, call this guy to order, get your fresh bread from the Amish bakery on this street, etc. In short, sourcing out for the ingredients she wants in New York is not a problem. She is a “suki” of different suppliers. Then, she plans the menu for her home or her clients based on what she has on hand.
Every day before I do my buying of my own kind of happiness in some boutique that won’t open ‘til noon, I happily head out with Nuhma to buy happiness in some street corner.
Just like any pop-up stores, the street market stays only for a few hours on its designated area in the city. Now you see it, later it*s gone. It’s always best to go early. The next day will offer another market in another part of the city.
I was amazed. From the different orchards and farms, truckloads of the freshest produce and bottled goodies were ready to sell. I wish I could take home their foodstuff. The bottled delicacies like Bourbon Peaches and Apple Butter were tempting, there was honey, pollen beeswax candles, soaps, flavored yogurts, beautiful vegetables, freshly baked wheat breads, and so much more.
This was the dose of happiness my friend wanted everyday. Happy food makes her happy but I am happier knowing that I will be dining on something fresh and good for dinner.
So, how much is happiness in the street corners of The Big Apple? They don’t come cheap, honey.
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