A flavorful vocabulary lesson from Food & Wine | AspenTimes.com

A flavorful vocabulary lesson from Food & Wine

Just before Food & Wine kicked off this week, someone went around town delivering richly apportioned schwag bags for various people and businesses.It included the usual goodies such as pens and magnets and the not-so-usual goodies such as bags of coffee, a French press and a salt-and-pepper shaker shaped like a stick shift. Thus, the first vocabulary word that must be learned during Food & Wine is: schwag.The next is romance. Sure, some people think they know what romance means. Not so, unless the first word they thought of after reading romance was “giblets.” As Mario Batali put it during his cooking presentation Friday, “there is a romance to eating the whole animal.”That was just after he had cooked up some calf’s liver to ooohs and aaahs, then talked about tripe. Yum. Next up is “New Orleans.” It’s a word that is pronounced correctly when issued from the mouth of Emeril Lagasse. Sure, he’s good at cooking Southern food, meaning: with butter. But if you really want to learn something, listen to the man say “New Orleans.” The Orleans is, in all seriousness, a three-syllable word. Practice it. Now, writers strive to be concise (our next vocab word). But concise cooking? Only Bobby Flay. “The food is simple,” he said. “It’s concise.”That was during the second round of cooking demonstrations, the one at 2 o’clock, when Flay was cooking up his shrimp cocktail to a good amount of excitement. When someone asked a solid question, he responded, “You’re supposed to be drunk at this point.”Quite right. And at least one person at the demonstration (a gentleman sitting in the back) was nodding off with perfect timing. Perhaps he was a newbie who had done the empty stomach trick at the first grand tasting. Which brings us to “belligerent.” Batali’s second demonstration, at 3:15 p.m., was delayed because Batali was taking a nap. “I’m the kind of guy that can sleep on a long elevator ride,” he said. “I took a nap.”Outside, people weren’t being nearly so gentle. Volunteers tried to keep the crowd from pushing and throwing elbows while waiting to get a good seat. “I’m not bitching at you,” said a volunteer during an escalating situation. “Yes, you are,” responded another possible empty-stomach grand-taster. And that was at 3 o’clock on Friday. Yum. Joel Stonington’s e-mail address is jstonington@aspentimes.com

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