New York is not America; Pizza , Pasteles, Picorico & more

Bapopik at AOL.COM Bapopik at AOL.COM
Thu Aug 2 14:27:00 UTC 2001


   From "This New York" by Lucius Beebe, NEW YORK HERALD TRIBUNE, 4 March 1939, pg. 16, col. 2:

   Some wag once remarked that good Americans, when they died, went to Paris.  Somebody also later discovered that New York was not America, a fortunate exemption, which makes it possible for good New Yorkers, when dead, to go not to Paris but to San Francisco.  Only San Francisco rather prefers them alive.


   "Pizza Pies Offer Savory Snack For Midnight Parties at Home" is the title of the Clementine Paddleford column, NYHT, 21 April 1939, pg. 14, col. 2.
   From the NYHT, 6 May 1939, pg. 16, col. 7:

   RUBBER PIES--The article on pizzas (appetizer pies) carried in the column a few days ago inspired Vincent R. Dellesandro, of Spring Street, to tell use how he makes a pizza variation at home and easily. (...) (Col. 8--ed.) "Rubber pie, you surely know, is pizza's nickname, due to the stretch of the cooked mozarella."


   From the NYHT, 22 March 1939, pg. 24, col. 6:

   DRESSING THE SALAD--There are those with a knack for it, who need no more recipe for beating up a salad dressing than that old Spanish proverb: "A spendthrift with the oil, a miser with the vinegar, a wise man with the salt, and a mad man to mix it."


   Not in the OED.
   From the NYHT, 16 March 1939, pg. 22, col. 6:

   FOREIGNERS--Pasteles have arrived from Puerto Rico--first cousins of the tamales of Mexico.  Three pasteles in a can, each done up in a square of something that resembles wet wrapping paper, but is actually a piece of plantain leaf.  Inside this is a pasty stuff made of plantain flour with chicken, a little finely cut beef, olives, raisins and chick peas, mixed through and blended together with plenty of seasoning.  Odd mess, but tasty and not so hot as old friend tamale.


   From the NEW YORK POST, 1 August 2001, pg. 39, col. 1:

   BARNACLES are here.  And hot chefs are stuck on them.  These seafaring cling-ons are an Iberian delicacy that's popping up at fully committed spots such as Ilo, Patria and Chicama.
   "My customers love them," says Patria's top toque, Andrew Di Cataldo, who has barnacles flown in weekly from Chile.
   They're called picorico, which translates as "beak in the rock," referring to a tiny beak-like claw that peeks out of their shells when they're feeding.
   (...)  The appetizer costs a whopping $21, due in part to the labor-intensive cooking process.

(Prices have changed since 1934's TIPS ON TABLES--ed.)


   From "Incomparable Senegalese" by Tama Janowitz, NEW YORK PRESS restaurant review, August 1-7, 2001, pg. 37, col. 4:

   I CANNOT TELL you if Chez Gnagna Koty's is a good Senegalese restaurant or a bad one, as I have nothing to compare it to. (...) The menu is intriguing--among the lunch offerings are thiebu dien, $8, thiebu yap for $7, maffee, yassa and, for the vegetarian, domoda and beans cocktail. (...)
   Other dishes I was tempted to try were: sauce feuille (collard green or spinach with a palm oil sauce); vermicelli (in a mustard and onion sauce); maffe kanja (white cabbage, carrots, potatoes and okra stewed in a peanut butter sauce); and (Pg. 38, col. 2--ed.) domoda (thick tomato gravy flavored with African spices). (...)
   In _A Taste of Africa_ by Dorinda Hafner (Ten Speed Press, 1993) the author does not specifically offer Senegalese recipes, but did describe fufu--from Ghana--much the same, I expect, as the version served at Gnagna Koty's.  Potato flour, warm water, instant potato flakes are combined to make a sort of dough.  Hence, no doubt, the paste-like quality.  Gari is listed as a dish of the Ivory Coast--cassava powder mixed with water and allowed to swell.  Maffee--here spelled maafe, from Mali--is indeed made with tomato paste, and an assortment of vegetables, corn, sweet potato, some tomatoes--flavored with peanut paste.  So from my reading I felt that Chez Gnagna Koty's recipes were not only authentic, but probably very fine examples indeed.

(OED for maffee?--ed.)

by Eve Zibart
Menasha Ridge Press, Birmingham, Alabama
444 pages paperback, $16.95

   The back cover contains a blurb from Eric Asimov, restaurant columnist, NEW YORK TIMES.
   This book is not as in-depth as the books from the Madison, Wisconsin couple that I mentioned here before.  There is no bibliography to indicate where the stuff is stolen from.
   Senegal, for example, is not here, but there is a small "West Africa" section that does not have "maffee."

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