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Aug 21, 201409:43 AM
Haute Plates

Our weekly blog on the New Orleans fine dining scene

Moving Is a State of Mind

There is a part of me that feels bad writing for a second week about moving, but that part is small in comparison to the part of me that is exhausted and short-tempered. And so while this edition of Haute Plates Industrial Complex and Innerspring Mattress News is not only about my travails, you will understand it better if, while reading, you emit low moans of pain and anguish to simulate the atmosphere chez Peyton.

Part of that is the pain of leaving my Mid-City neighborhood, our neighbors, and being within walking distance of MoPho. Part of it is the fact that I have not cooked anything in more than a week, because we are not finished moving and un-boxing and cleaning the old place. This is, it occurs to me, the longest I have gone without cooking since Katrina.

Then it was two weeks until I decided for some reason that I had to make crepes while we were staying at a home owned by some incredibly generous friends in Columbia, Tennessee. I drank Scotch whisky and made two-dozen crepes. Most of the crepes were actually good, too, though that may have had something to do with the Scotch. Everyone liked them, though, and there were a couple of people (children, mainly) not drinking Scotch.

I haven’t decided what I’ll cook for the first meal in the new house, but I have a lot more options than I did back in 2005. I have my gear, for one thing. I think I packed a few knives and a pot or two when we evacuated for Katrina, but we made a stop in Amite before we headed to Tennessee, and I think I left all of that stuff in my mother’s home on North Laurel.

I’ve also got a lot more options ingredient-wise than I did back then. The freezer at my former home is still functioning perfectly well, meaning that among other things I have stock and at least a pint of Creole tomato sauce left. If I want something fresh, I can visit one of the many farmers markets or “ethnic” groceries that have opened in the last decade. And I can head over to Rare Cuts or Cleaver & Co. if I want a special cut of meat, too.

So I don’t lack for gear, and I don’t lack for ingredients. The only question is what to prepare. And how much time I’ll have to do it. That’s the second question – there are only the previously mentioned two questions and of course whether the kids will eat whatever I cook. Three questions, then, but that’s it apart from whether I’ll have the energy to cook anything after finally moving out the last of our stuff from the old place and (hopefully) playing soccer over the weekend. Four questions, he said, blatantly ripping off Messrs. Palin, Jones et al.

My guess is I’ll use up the last of the frozen Creole tomato sauce and maybe some of the stock and braise pork of one variety or another with some vegetables. It’s a pretty easy thing to do, particularly using a pressure cooker, and if you put the braising liquid and vegetables through a food mill or sieve, you’ve got the base for a pretty good pasta sauce to serve along with the meat. I know it sounds like more of a winter/cold-weather dish, but I have air-conditioning, so to hell with it.

You know that Irish toast, “May the road rise to meet you”? How about this one instead, “May you never require a road again, particularly not to move your home”? I think I like that one better, though perhaps it’s not as poetic.

P.S. The fact that Five Happiness delivers to my new neighborhood as well as the old makes me happy. I’ve always thought Five Happiness was a fine place – not my favorite Chinese restaurant but very good; well, my friends, when they BRING THE FOOD TO YOUR DOOR, it’s another ballgame entirely. When my kitchen is back up and running I will return to using the various fermented bean/chile/sesame products I’ve either already got in my pantry or will re-stock from the shelves at Hong Kong Market, but in the meantime, 5H 4-EVA!


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Haute Plates

Our weekly blog on the New Orleans fine dining scene


Robert D. Peyton was born at Ochsner Hospital and, apart from four years in Tennessee for college and three years in Baton Rouge for law school, has lived in New Orleans his entire life. He is a strong believer in the importance of food to our local culture and in the importance of our local food culture, generally. He has practiced law since 1994, and began writing about food on his website, www.appetites.us, in 1999. He mainly wrote about partying that year, obviously.

In 2006, New Orleans Magazine named Appetites the best food blog in New Orleans. The choice was made relatively easy due to the fact that Appetites was, at the time, the only food blog in New Orleans.

He began writing the Restaurant Insider column for New Orleans Magazine in 2007 and has been published in St. Charles Avenue, Louisiana Life and New Orleans Homes and Lifestyles magazines. He is the only person he knows personally who has been interviewed in GQ magazine, albeit for calling Alan Richman a nasty name. He is not proud of that, incidentally. (Yes, he is.)

Robert’s maternal grandmother is responsible for his love of good food, and he has never since had fried chicken or homemade biscuits as good as hers. He developed his curiosity about restaurant cooking in part from the venerable PBS cooking show "Great Chefs" and has an extensive collection of cookbooks, many of which do not require coloring, and some of which have not been defaced.

Robert lives in Mid-City with his wife Eve and their three children, and is fond of receiving comments and emails. Please humor him.




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