Friday, August 28, 2009

Chez Panisse's Birthday

My father just updated his facebook status to wish Chez Panisse a happy 38th birthday. Which seems a bit surprising, since I remember a time when Chez Panisse didn't exist. Do the math: I'm older than I think am, maybe even than I act.

But I'll hasten to add that I only barely remember those days. I was very young. My vague memories include:
  • Sharing a dish of melon and prosciutto in 6th grade with a friend (the one who played Julia Child in our school video). She had insisted you couldn't eat ham and melon together, but was won over (come to think of it, she ended up an exchange student in Bra, Italy, then the future home of Slow Food). See how much the world has changed? Who would think twice about prosciutto and melon today?
  • Getting (on very lucky occasions) to eat a dish of crème anglaise upstairs after school. It was served in a footed metal dish. It's still one of my very favorite things, but now (on very lucky occasions) I like having it in a glass.
  • Working five days a week at lunch the summer I was 11. I still remember the humiliation of having a waitress bring back a plate of artichokes mayonnaise, telling me it looked a little 'funky'. To this day, I eat artichokes with butter.
What a time and place to grow up--I was one very lucky kid.


lshere said...

So you were one of those creme anglaise eaters too.

Giovanna said...

The nice thing about creme anglaise is that when you take a spoonful from a container, it doesn't leave a tell-tale track. Pastry cream is horrible that way!

Given the choice, always sneak creme anglaise.

Grace said...

I went to a cafe/restaurant yesterday for coffee and lunch with my friends, who came to visit for the day, and there on the wall... were two Chez Panisse poster reproductions. I asked the woman working there why...? She didn't know, maybe she knew nothing about it anyway. She asked why and I told her, "Because my grandmother worked there." That always feels like such an understatement. Chez Panisse is so much more than a place where Grandmere worked!

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