By Paul Suplee, MBA, CEC, PC-3
We had a wedding last weekend at a private residence. The happy couple happen to be friends of the family and they own my great grandfather’s mansion in Cumberland.
George Truog, my great-grandfather, was an eccentric Italian-Swiss artist who owned one of the largest glass companies on the East Coast at the turn of the century. I still have a considerable collection of his work, and the only way I can describe his magnum opus is that he made stadium cuts.
Yes, stadium cups, like when you go to the dock bar and get your orange crush, and it comes in the plastic cup personalized with the logo? Well that’s pretty much where he made his bread and butter, he made logo glasses and was a master at acid etching.
Of course, I play down his talents, as a lot of his glasses are ornate and very detailed, having nothing to do with any particular brands or marketing. But, as far as I could tell, the logo work is how he was able to build his lavish 27-room house.
After losing his home around 1908 (a long and sordid story) the house became the Franklin Psychiatric Hospital, and if you consider the psychological care of the turn of the century, you can only imagine the heebie jeebies that one receives while walking through the sacred halls.
To further accentuate this spiritual maelstrom, it later became the Leisure-Stein funeral home, which operated until the 90s. Indeed, it is creepy. it is still an incredible monument. When you look at the front of the house, there are two cherubs formed in the concrete above the porch. These are portraits of my grandmother when she was a baby.
Back at the wedding, during the announcements, Joni noted to his guests (most of whom are familiar with Truog House) that the dinner was cooked by Truog’s great-grandson. I had never been presented as such, and it was a wonderful feeling to know that I had such a connection to the event. And my team, being in the flow, or the groove, made it as easy a marriage as possible.
And then, my favorite question was asked to me by a guest in a rather assumed manner: “Chef, I’m gluten-free, so I guess I won’t have much to eat today, no. isn’t it? “
Hold my wine.
Gluten free is literally the easiest of all the dietary limitations we can cook for. As practitioners in this field, we must understand and sympathize with anyone and their restrictions. People don’t choose allergies and sensitivities, and as such, we need to make sure that we take care of our customers in all ways.
It was pretty much time for past appetizers, so I told him to give me five minutes. I came back with a plate of goodies that would have sufficed as a meal in itself.
On the plate: House smoked blue fish salad with marinated red onions and Alabama White BBQ sauce, assorted stuffed eggs, a nice salad of goat cheese and heirloom grape tomatoes with basil puree and sweet vinegar glaze, and a bowl of tuna poke. And then I told him he could eat everything from the buffet except two dishes. He shared that he wasn’t a mac and cheese, so he wasn’t hurt in the slightest.
He ate. They all ate. And at the end of the day, I was proud to play a part in such a special day for our friends. I can only hope that I have made my eccentric great-grandfather proud.
Poké Bowl with Tuna
1 # fresh ahi tuna
1/2 tsp. Hawaiian barbecue sauce (recipe follows)
4 ch. Sushi rice (following recipe), cooked and cooled
1/2 tsp. Seaweed salad (purchased online)
vs. Pickled ginger
Sesame seeds and sushi seasoning, to taste
Hawaiian barbecue sauce
makes about 1 liter
1 ch. Soya sauce
1 ch. Pineapple juice
2 tbsp. Ketchup
1/2 tsp. Rice wine vinegar
1/2 tsp. Brown sugar, light
1/4 tsp. Roasted garlic
3 inch piece of peeled ginger, fresh
3 tbsp. Black and white sesame seeds
2 tbsp. red pepper flakes
1. Combine everything in a saucepan except for the sesame seeds and pepper flakes.
1. Bring to a boil and slowly reduce until slightly thickened. As it cools it will thicken more, so don’t go overboard. Also, the more you reduce it, the more salty it will be, so be judicious in your simmering actions.
3. Filter to remove the ginger once you are satisfied with the consistency.
4. Add sesame seeds and red pepper flakes and refrigerate until ready to serve.
Makes about 1 liter
2 bedrooms Sushi rice
1/2 tsp. Rice wine vinegar
2 tbsp. Sugar
1 piece of kombu or other solid seaweed
1. This is not so much a recipe as it is a guide, as each sushi rice maker has slightly different procedures for preparing their rice.
2. Adjust the amount of water to add the vinegar. It’s more of a Korean style rice, but it works great with the poke bowl.
—Paul Suplee is a teacher
Culinary Arts in Wor-Wic
Community college and
owner of a covered wagon 40.
Visit him at www.boxcar40.com.