A friend of mine with a generous spirit recently donated to our local NPR station, WABE. The donation wasn’t enough to warrant receipt of a stainless steel coffee tumbler, but instead an evening with Lynne Rossetto Kasper.
For those who haven’t yet been properly introduced, Lynne is the host of NPR’s The Splendid Table, during which she speaks of food with such a passion, with such colorful words and such dreaminess in her voice that you find yourself in love with the items she’s describing.
Callers ring into the show with questions surrounding a surplus of an item or soliciting new ideas for an old favorite and Lynne greets each of them with a calm gusto I lack the words to describe.
After a lovely chat with WABE Sr. VP and General Manager John Weatherford and his lovely bride, and a ten minute (!!!) chat with Lynne herself, we were seated.
Lynne read the menu and improvised, causing my friend to lean in and whisper “I need to take her to lunch with me every day. Imagine what she could do to a Chik-fil-a menu…”
The meal was a fancy 5 courses number, delightfully and appropriately preceded by light delicious apps and free flowing wine. There was one that involved bleu cheese on a gingersnap but I was still so high from my conversation with Lynne I’d forgotten it almost instantly.
Course 1 – Classic Caesar Napoleon of brioche crouton, filet of romaine heart, aged parmesan frico, salt cured anchovy and quail egg.
It was fine right up until Kim double dog dared me to eat the anchovy. *shudder*
Course 2 – Chef’s choice seasonal fresh fruit sorbet intermezzo. It was so delightful, I don’t remember what the hell fruit it was.
Course 3 – Main entree: Thyme seared petit lamb chops and crab cake Napoleon severed with truffled asigo potatoes, grilled white asparagus tips and broccoli-rapini and finished with demi glace.
Good, not great. My lamb was over cooked, but there was a sweet spot on the potato that nearly sent me to the moon. Looking over my shoulder, I could see Lynne’s chop was cooked perfectly.
Course 4 – Cheese course: brie, 18 month aged gouda, manchego, aged white cheddar and gorgonzola blue. Present but not mentioned: strawberry, fig, and an unidentifiable brown object.
Course 5 – Desert: study in apple. Dried cranberry and apple crisp in micro hazelnut torte shell, vanilla bean crème brulee stuffed roasted apple cup, cinnamon apple fritter with bourbon crème anglaise.
Topping it off: the rest of my wine followed by French Italian (!?) dark roast decaf.
For me, it wasn’t about the food entirely: it was about Lynne and her contagious spirit and passion. It was about spending quality time with a friend sharing a perfectly imperfect cliché riddled once in a lifetime experience.
You can buy Lynne’s book The Splendid Table’s How to Eat Supper: Recipes, Stories, and Opinions from Public Radio’s Award-Winning Food Show
By Lynne Rossetto Kasper, Sally Swift via this nifty link.
As for scoring dinner with Lynne? Cough up some change during the next pledge drive, you never know what surprise fringe benefit you’ll get out of it.