OK, Bourdain slips a comment into a post below, just to let me know that he remains on hallucinogens  Seriously, folks, this is what I’m up against.  I just want people know.

Tonight’s the night, Ruhlman. For God’s sake–please lay off your usual cocktail of boxed wine and anti-depressants for this one. (You DO remember that ugly Baltimore incident, don’t you? Probably not..) Ripert, Hamilton and I are looking forward to a civilized conversation–and moving some freaking units–so PLEASE–I implore you, just this once–try to refrain from vicious, unprovoked rants, scurrilous accusations, embittered diatribes–or passing out mid-sentence. Or trashing New York as the "axis of evil" for that matter. (That kind of talk does not go down well with the hometown crowd, believe me.) Keep it clean, too. There might be children in attendance, for God’s sake!
I really went out on a limb to get you this gig, Ruhlman. Don’t blow it–again.

I’m trying to help this guy sell books and this what I get.  I’ve never even been to Baltimore…


34 Wonderful responses to “”

  • rockandroller

    Boxed wine, anti-depressants and hallucinogens. Are you sure the appearance isn’t at my alma mater Kent State? 🙂

  • Kathy

    Never been to Baltimore? Why not? Oh, because there’s nothing to recommend this city…. 😉

    Come visit, bring Bourdain. I’ll make dinner for you both.

  • bourdain

    Ruhlman–in typical black-out fashion, forgets he’s even BEEN to Charm City. Well…the photographs in my posession of Ruhlman at the Club Charles, perched atop the bar, playing air-guitar to “Tuesday’s Gone” say otherwise, friends. And that was BEFORE things got ugly.

  • Claudia Greco

    Never mind Bourdain’s worrying about YOU offending us nice New Yorkers for being an “axis of evil” – Tony, what was that punch YOU pulled the other day when the NY Times quizzed you about Racheel Ray?

    “This is about a very recognizable, comfortable person, someone we all think we know, the sort of dream mom or sister we never had,” he said, calibrating his words. “People are attracted to her warm, if strident, embrace of the familiar.”

    You were so tactful and restained, I was nearly offended. And WORRIED. Tell me you’re not getting as soft and “freckly man-breasty” as Bobby Flay (!!) I guess we’ll know tonight after your gig at the Y.

  • fiat lux

    I spent a week in Baltimore in 2001. Ate a bunch of forgettable and/or overpriced food.

    It’s a good thing my then-employer was picking up the tab.

  • Skawt

    Tony: He takes the anti-depressants because he’s forced to drink boxed wine. Wouldn’t you?

    The next time you’re in the SF Bay area I’ll treat you to some real booze and comfort food. The stuff I grew up on in New York living with a big Eastern European family.

    Claudia: Rachel Ray is cute, perky, and doesn’t cross-contaminate her kitchen like the fuzzy Ewok. She also doesn’t tip ($40 a day my ass) and ruins everything by opening her mouth. If I’m going to watch food porn I’ll stick with Giada.

    As for Bobby Flay, I’ve been watching the Iron Chef America show, and he’s a lot less obnoxious and wound up – he’s almost worked up to “likable”. It’s my suspicion that he’s not taking “party favors” anymore.

  • Bux

    Never been to Baltimore? A bad tack to take. You knew Bourdain was going to find six other guys who would swear they were with you. On the other hand, with the help of Photoshop, you could probably come up with a dozen photographs of you not in Baltimore. With the weight of numbers behind you, I have faith Bourdain will succumb to the logic, if you can find the right spot in the evening.

    Sorry to miss this promising event.

  • Claudia Greco

    Skawt – I like Bobby Flay. I was eating at Mesa Grill before Bobby became BOBBY. The “freckly man-breast” quote was from Bourdain himself. Hell, yes, I watch Throwdown (!)

    Rachael Ray is half-Italian. Her use of Velveeta in a kitchen gives all Italians a bad name and has brought shame and scorn upon our tribe. Giada, however, has street cred, a lovely manner, and a voice that does NOT make you bleed from the ears.

    I have nothing but nice things to say about Baltimore, except I wish that Legal Seafood stayed open later.

    And I suspect the reason Bourdain might have mellowed given Rachael a free pass the other day is . . . impending fatherhood? If so, buona fortuna to him and his Italian lady love. (Ma quando, signora? E un bambino or una bambina? Benissimo!)

  • Skawt

    Claudia: I was quite surprised to be finding myself liking him. But as I said, he has definitely changed from the whiny, self-centered egomaniac that was on display 6 years ago when he was on the original Iron Chef.

    My wife and I ate at Mesa back when we were living in New York. It was excellent, of course. I think, however, that I am even more pleased to see Bobby being more adventurous with his cuisine on the show – he’s hardly used any corn at all in the past few battles! Now if only we could get him to stop grilling lemons all the time…

    Rachael Ray annoys the hell out of me sometimes. As I said, it’s usually when she starts talking. Giada is beautiful and graceful, and cooks traditional Italian dishes. My only minor issue with her is that her head looks like an orange on a toothpick. I think it’s because the rest of her is so tiny.

    I grew up in a traditional old school Jewish New York household, and had the good fortune to live in a mixed neighborhood with a lot of Italian influence as well. I love to fuse the two styles of cuisine together. I have a recipe for braised brisket in an Italian ragu that’ll bring tears to your eyes. 🙂

  • tess

    Ooo, Rachael Ray uses Velveeta?! You’re kidding me! I’ve pretty much stopped watching Food TV thanks to her, but to know that she’s sunk to the depths of using what should be used as ant repellant between sidewalk cracks confirms that my decision to stop watching was the right one.

  • Jay Rayner

    Jesus, Michael. Even I’ve been to Baltimore.

    Problem is, I can’t remember why.

  • BobdG


    I know exactly what you mean. I once saw a recipe for gefilte fish tagliatelle that made me cry too (:o !

  • Skawt

    BobdG: Bah! Gefilte fish should not be mixed with anything except horseradish. Even then, for a lot of folks it’s an acquired taste. To which the obvious response would be: “If I have to ACQUIRE a taste for it, then why bother?”

    I also make the best latkes ever. 🙂

  • Tags

    You guys can’t handle Velveeta? Come to Philly and have a cheesesteak wiz wit. The Wiz is Cheese Whiz and you’ll see Whiz’s sister Velveeta in a different light. BTW, the wit is wit fried onions.

    I once saw Giada use Swanson broth on her show “Every Day Italian.” Just how many cans of Swanson do you think Italian mammas use every day?

  • Claudia Greco

    Cheez Whiz (or Velveeta) certainly has it’s place on a Wiz Wit – in fact, a cheesesteak connoisseur and I were just pondering a motorcycle ride to Philly and a tasting between Gino’s and Tony Luke’s (although we were thinking provolone, not Whiz).

    However, in the context of a cooking show, no – I still don’t respect it. And boo hiss to Giada for cracking out the Swanson’s, too – although it’s better than using the cubes. (I use real stock, broth and demi-glace myself. And, yes, you can BUY all three – quality stuff – if you don’t have all day to make stock because, yes, we all work, commute, etc.) I just don’t think any TV foodie should be dumbing down cooking or teaching shortcuts, whatever the food product or ingredient is. Either cook, or microwave, I feel. But that’s just me.

  • Minga

    “Just how many cans of Swanson do you think Italian mammas use every day?”

    If you think “Italian mammas” don’t use canned broth or even bullion cubes once in a while, you are living in a “foodie” fantasy world. As a matter of fact I challenge you to find one who doesn’t have an opened package of bullion cubes in their cupboard.
    Oh, and the food they make with it is still probably better than anything you can make no matter what kind of ingredients you use.

  • Skawt

    Looks like Tony’s tranquilizers wore off and we’re back at the vegan convention.

    (I make my own stock; if I’m out, I can get vegetable, beef, poultry and fish fumet from a local supermarket. I’ll pass on the high sodium Swanson’s, thanks.)

  • anonymouse

    I’ve been fairly happy with “Better than Boullion” base (paste). It’s decidedly a tastier product than canned broth, although it has a heafy dose of sodium and can be somewhat overpowering if you use the full recommended dose on the package.

  • Claudia

    Well, Minga, I hav to back Skawt on the Italian mamma/Swanson question. Over 4 generations of my family AND paesani, from Manhattan to Venice, I don’t know of a single Italian who uses cubes – or the local variant of Swanson’s. My sister, for instance, has more body parts in her freezer than Dr. Frankenstein, and makes her own stock. Of course, I’m not saying that using cubes is the Mark of the Anti-Christ. What I AM saying is that anything posing as a cooking show using processed food is not cooking. Especially when some of the substances involved aren’t exactly “food items”.

    By the way, making stock – or biscuits, or demi-glace – from scrtch is not “foodie fantasy world”. But it IS foodie purist world. You make the time because you care what goes on the plate, is all.

  • Skawt


    I used to be guilty of using Swanson’s some years back, before I went to culinary school. (No, I’m nto a chef by trade; I just wanted to really improve my skills for the sheer enjoyment of cooking). The moment I learned how easy it was to make stock – especially a basic white poultry stock – I stopped using broth. As I said, if I’m out I’ll use store-bought organic stock, and then season the food myself. I don’t need some food conglomerate telling me how much salt is necessary.

    As for my white stock, I make two kinds. One is holiday stock: I cut up the entire picked-clean carcass of a turkey, along with the mirepoix that I used to stuff it (onion, carrot, celery). There is already a ton of normal stock seasoning in there from when I did the dry rub and the basting of the bird. So I just boil that for a couple of hours, skim off the schmutz, and bag it/freeze it.

    The other kind is my regular stock. My wife and I make wings regularly, and we buy big packages of unbutchered whole wings. In the process of cutting them up, we’re left with a lot of wingtip joints which we store in the freezer until we’re out of stock. The resulting stock is very thick and gelatinous, and tastes wonderful.

  • ruhlman

    madelaine kamman puts a knorr bouillon cube in her veal stock. go figure.

    Me, I will opt for eau de faucet over canned stock every time.

  • Claudia

    Michael knows that when I first read The Reach of A Chef, it made me wake up in a cold sweat, 4 nights in a row, dreaming I was in Skills 1 making stock – and the “raft” broke every time, 15 minutes before service (!) He also knows I went back to both making stock and reading the book – and “surviving” both was still a lot easier than surviving life with bouillon cubes (!)

  • Skawt


    Making stock with a raft? Erm, are you sure you’re not referring to consumme?

    I was fortunate in skills class. They tested us on beef consumme – got it right on the first try. My advantage in school was that I wanted everything to be just right so I was exacting and meticulous about every detail.

    My knife skills are decent, but I’m not fast. I was never physically coordinated and don’t have good eye-hand skills. So I worked slowly with my knife to make sure I got it right. On the other hand, when I regularly cook I’m more like Mario Batali – chop that garlic up fast, who cares how it looks?

    Turns out my specialty became sauces. Never even considered it as all that important in my cooking until I was actually trained properly. And yes, I can make a great buerre blanc. So you’ll find that a lot of my cooking is “wet”. I just hve a knack for it. There’s a lot of stuff I’m barely passable at when it comes to cooking.

  • Claudia

    A perfect consomme on the first shot, Skawt? Stellar! Clear-to-the-bottom-can-see-a-dime-there, not a drop of clouding? I admit, I have no patience with consomme, but like you, I have a “knack” – very well-behaved souffles, mousses, etc. and, strangely, any large beasts . . . pitch-perfect on those, even when I think I’ve messed up. I am thinking about improving the knife skills, though – they’re decent, but could be better.

    And good for you for being such a Stockmeister. I have to confess that I’m spoiled by the fact that my sister always has a jar of name-a-beast at the ready (my sister-in-law freezes hers into jello egg shapes – weird, but fun) so I pretty much have it on demand. But when I don’t, hey – time to terrorize the neighborhood butchers (or Citarella’s, if I’m really in a jam. Gorgeous demi-glace.)

    Do you do game beast stocks, too, or just domesticated poultry?

  • Skawt


    Yes, perfect consumme, crystal clear, read the date on the dime. I was surprised myself – and it took infinite patience to not fiddle with the raft once it had solidified.

    I make a nifty chocolate mousse, but in the baking and pastry class I found that a lot of stuff that seems really complex is simply just time-consuming and requires attention to detail. Hated decorating a 3-layer cake – I kept going over and over it because it wasn’t “perfect”. I got an A on that one, but it just seemed to take forever.

    Knife skills are nice to have, but I think what I came away with from those classes is simply the ability to feel comfortable and natural wielding a 10-inch chef’s knife (Wusthof Classic, in case you’re wondering – I have a fairly complete set). While it’s nice to have some things cut picture-perfect, I am not a 3-star Michelin chef and I’m not competing on Iron Chef.

    If you’re just mincing herbs and garlic, you might want to consider getting a hardwood bowl and a one-handled mezzaluna knife. It’s not necessarily faster than a trained chef working with his regular knife, but it IS easier.

    We tend to have 2 or 3 types of stock in the house at any given time. Poultry always, and sometimes vegetable and/or beef. I actually prefer to use poultry stock in dishes that use beef, because I find the resulting sauce/liquid to be tangier. We don’t do any game beast stock, although I suspect if I started cooking cornish hens and quail I would end up with some stock from those.

  • Veron

    As much as I don’t like Rachel Ray or her style of cooking there is some things to say about velveeta. When making scalloped potatoes , the one with velveeta tasted a lot better than the one where I used gruyere…

  • Claudia Greco

    Maybe you need to use a cheese other than Gruyere – it’s not for everyone, any more than, say, Morbier or Swiss or limburger (!)