Welcome to the jungle baby…err, Nagrant Family Farm. I’ve killed more plants than a Detroit auto executive. Everything, from finicky herbal seedlings to hearty tomatoes, has met the reaper that is my green, or maybe more appropriately, gangrenous, thumb. I once grew the tallest plant in a junior-high biology contest, but only after my father introduced me to Miracle Grow, and I juiced that bad boy like an agricultural Barry Bonds. That was a lifetime ago. Last month, despite their legend for weathering biblical droughts, two cacti in my living room recently developed a feathery mold.
Zevro’s new wine bottle opener I’ve got corkscrew envy. For years I’ve settled for the double lever wing style corkscrew, the standard kind you find in the cooking supply aisle in your local grocery store. Sure it takes five minutes and the strength of Vin Diesel to open a bottle, but it’s the style I grew up, and I’ve settled on it precisely out of nostalgia.
I’m a chef groupie. It’s not quite the same as being a rock star groupie. I’m not waiting near dumpsters in rat infested back alleys waiting for an opportunity to trade my body for a moment with culinary greatness. Instead it’s more of a tableside admiration and exploration of today’s best chefs plying their craft. It’s not a mindless adulation, which breeds mediocrity. I can watch TV celebrity chefs when I’m in the mood for that, rather, I’m interested in becoming a better home cook, and watching pros makes a difference. Chefs like Grant Achatz of Alinea or Thomas Keller of the French Laundry are modern day secular monks, dedicating the majority of the waking portion of their life toward the pursuit of perfect technique and sublime ingredients. They have something to teach and I’m intrigued by the techniques they’re using, especially induction cooking.
Target may not be a shiny food retail mecca like Sur La Table or Williams Sonoma, or a secret grungy restaurant supply shop, but they have mastered the merchandising of designer flair and offer the occasional good deal on cookware.