11th Dinner Club Meeting: Lombardy – Summary
This was an interesting dinner and the food was great but it didn’t turn out quite as I had hoped. At the previous meeting, when I had announced that "Lombardy" was the theme I presented a sample menu, copies of some information about Lombardy and stressed the simplicity of the food in this region. I also talked about that I really wanted the meal to be a typical Lombardian meal and as authentic as possible – one of the reasons I had picked a region and not just "Italy". Although, I thought everyone caught on to my vision for this meeting either they didn’t or as they began to really plan their contribution the "cooking club" mentality got the better of them.
What I mean by "cooking club" mentality is that if something is too simple it’s not perceived as being worthy. When you are contributing to a cooking club dinner you want to cook, not assemble. Unfortunately, much of the Lombardian food is closer to assembly. As people began posting recipes I started noticing conflicts. At first I thought there was confusion about who had what course but it turned out that wasn’t the case. Anyway, I won’t go into all the sordid details but let’s just say, I tried talking to people when I thought their recipes were out of line and it ended up causing hurt feelings (on both sides) and wasn’t really taken seriously. So, in my opinion much of the meal ended up being fussier than it should have been. We talked about this at the end of dinner, especially since when the next month’s theme was announced it was similar in concept. But it didn’t really seem that we came to a shared understanding. I was disappointed.
Having said that, the meal itself was actually very good! This was the first time I’d made Osso Buco and I was very happy with the way it turned out. It was really heavenly. The sauce was hearty and the gremolata was a nice counterpoint. The veal was falling off the bones and was perfectly tender. The marrow was so rich and creamy it almost pushed me into sensory overload! Yum! And it’s actually a great company dish since the preparation is simple and it’s all done several hours ahead of time. I’ll be making this again and soon!