Cheflebrity Smörgåsbord: When in Rome


When I was asked for my last meal on earth, I immediately went Italian. I have a bit of Italian blood in me, but I’m not the typical New Jersey goombah.  No, I’ve never worn a track suit and gold chain and you wouldn’t mistake me for an extra from The Sopranos.  But it’s certainly the cuisine with which I most closely identify.  I’m actually more Irish than Italian, but you’ve got to be kidding me if you think I’m spending my last moments with potatoes, cabbage and corned beef.

Looking at the list of my fellow ESers, I was struck by how many of them went for simple dishes that undoubtedly remind them of home, family, heritage and the positive memories of life around the dinner table.  Nobody picked the twelve course tasting menu at The French Laundry.  I briefly toyed with the idea of a star-studded mega-meal, but it just didn’t feel right. If you have one last shot, I think it’s best to go with something that reminds you of all the good stuff in your life.

Another wise choice for a last meal?  How about a smörgåsbord?

– Well, if you were going to go high-end for your last dinner, you might want to go Jean-Georges.  If he’s good enough to cook for the past four presidents, he’s good enough for you.

– James Beard winner, Philly food rock star and my personal foodie man-crush Jose Garces makes fish tacos on the Today Show.  He’s pretty good on camera (hint, hint, Food Network folks!)

After the jump:  a politico makes a bold statement on communicable diseases, a food festival as envisioned by William Golding, and the perfect gift for the Giada-stalker in your life.

– Rachel Maddow risked hepatitis A to have dinner at Momofuku Ssäm.  I guess she figured that regular exposure to Chris Matthews would mean she has a powerful immune system.

– The Great American Food And Music Festival was apparently an unmitigated disaster.  References to “Altamont” have been thrown around.  Pages, Pucks and Pantry has a great first-hand account, and her photo of Bobby Flay is priceless.

– Tickets to the Food Network New York City Wine & Food Festival went on sale.  It’s the perfect choice for those of you who like to combine you vacation with rapid weight gain. Unlike some recent food festivals, the Hell’s Angels won’t be doing security for this one.

(Photo Credit: Me and my new favorite lens at The Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Roman Gallery)

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