GB mise en place: from the past to Poilâne.

One of the best things about this layer of life is every sanctuary I’m welcomed into for writerhead rits has a different ideal when it comes to favorite cookbook companions.

I have been able to nurture an understanding of what draws different folks to different books in an intimate sense alongside parsing intel on which books are biting biggest in different regions. There really is a lowkey psychology to cookbooking.

It’s always an interesting microcosm/ macrocosmic experience market research wise, one that honestly gives me all the more courage to follow the weirdly rambling roads my project likes to amble down.

…if you do what you love, there’s an audience when it comes to food, clothing & shelter. Otherwise, the wild places you’ve satisfied your belly wouldn’t have been in existence long before you got there and got initiated into their glories.

This is the first time I’ve ever run into one of my originals on the road, though.

…I’m pretty sure I stumbled onto the divinity that is Smitten Kitchen while Thomas Keller’s artboyz turned chefs were teaching me how to Really cook down in the shared kitchens of Per Se & Bouchon Bakery at Columbus Circle on lunch breaks.

If things hadn’t have happened the way they did I surely would’ve gone down the path to join the artboyz back of house as a chef, writing on the side. I was having that much fun with them. It was like being in studio at Arts all over again.

It would’ve surprised no one who really knew me. In addition to the 300+ mags I took to college my non-cooking mom had me take all the cuisinarts & cooking doohickeys down to school too, since I was the only one who used them. But those tatted dudes were the first time it sunk in.

no, these are actual artheads back of house in these restaurants. This is…TRIBE.

Meanwhile, Deb Perelman’s blogs held the youngblood literary wildcard for me. Which was good. I was still under exclusive with an imprint & on deadline. So my ass needed to be in Logos mode as much as arthead.

Her blogs balanced the obscenely pitch perfect daliances of Ina Garten, Tyler Florence, Giada de Laurentiis and Nigella Lawson shows that I seriously designed my arthead & writerhead studio hours around.

No. Seriously.

I’d paint until their rockblock on Food Network, then write, then cook food prep style so I wouldn’t have to stop to cook the next day, then devour a beat up Julia Child cookbook I’d gotten for like 50 cents (haptic) & Smitten Kitchen blogs.

ANY runs from Harlem down to spots on the lower east side for dumplings, noho for baguettes from the spot that stocked Balthazar, lil India, that chunk of spots above St. Mark’s for Japanese sundries or Ninth & Tenth avenue under the restaurant district for Halal & Mediterranean stuff was planned between those broadcasts.

It was my masters, symphonic for a good 9 months. I produced a small solo show, was in a group show & finished first drafts on multiple books on that engine, on the tightest unemployment budget imaginable.

After rent I had $34.65 a week to foodie AND PAinthead the fuck out on(maybe equiv to like 27 today lol)… as those who’d gotten me fired (TKG managers trying to protect me from their stalking mess) looked on stupefied at God having me treat it like a stipend for an arthead sabbatical from busting my ass and writing around multiple hospitality gigs for years once I’d stopped doing freelance consulting stuff in fashion .

God always works things out for the good, though.

Fun times.

It truly was. You gotta get the audacity. .. in the response to a man trying to cut off your earning power by trying to get you fired for not playing anymore…trying to fiscally punish you out of the freedom & joy you’d found beyond his team…being This.

I had to pick & choose train rides I’d take in a week…to afford paint & PHENOMENAL cheeses from some of the best kept secret cheesemongers in nyc. & did it happily!

Depending on the blue I was gonna get I would factor in Walking to Murray Hill as caloric deficits lol.

Every time I went for paint I’d walk…and my dudes in my old neighborhood art store would just happen to have a sale- they even- because they knew I was painting on cardboard – for the color ground, not cost-effectively- would save 4×8 boxes in pristine condition that I’d cart all the way up to Harlem, in time for Nigella.

I didn’t even HAVE any show booked yet. I had just started painting again on forced sabbatical. Because I found out that my bookbabies liked to do art stuff & cook while “we” were writing.

God lined up all that.

I wasn’t even looking for a show. The owner of a cafe I wrote in during that season ( i could handle like 3 iced Americanos a week budgetarily lol but cafe society is necessary to writerhead in first draft mode) saw my collages on my laptop screensaver and asked me to show. I hadn’t shown solo since Space Untitled in Soho, group since an event in Noho. Those had been asked too, & were done to court the imprint. Public facing, I was in writerhead. I’d told the owner I’d been painting & asked could that be the show, he said sure.

The dude that had gotten me fired from the restaurant found out…and his then drug addled, spoilt rich boy/ inebriated potentate ass actually started fucking around with an assistant mgr to try to get her to cancel the show, only to get pissed when he found out -after doing his best- that the owner, an affable French dude had hand-picked me.

I still have not decided if it was funnier that, after trying to get a pretty black girl to try to thwart my show the gossip was I must’ve done something for the white guy to have picked me Or if, when he’d had another pretty black girlfriend/ church aquaintance dime me out when I’d had to flee down to South Beach, her snarl at me that ” maybe he was trying to reach you to give you a job?!” utterly oblivious to the fact that the fucker showing up at my job had literally been why I’d been fired.

Neither were that funny in the traditional sense, but ya work with the bullshit thrown at you. If not for that fuckery AOLAB would’ve been a totally different bookbaby machine. I gave up a lot of shit I’d loved to not go to jail for giving this guy what he was goading me for, including entertainment marketing courses on scholarship & shoot fighting, & it flew in the face of everything known about my once degenerative evil, vindictive and retaliatory Amazonian ass. People were confused.

But…I had gotten saved.

Dude used to be a charge. Angelically speaking.

God wanted him. Back.

He’d grown up with the God my adult ass was wholly new to.

& Angeling Out would’ve ended God’s Grievechronic call on my life.

I wrote, painted & cooked through ALL of it, too. Definitely blessed. Defiantly happy.

it’s so fucking cool to see the cookbooking aspect of that circle getting to close too, to see HOW it’s kept me ever since, been my consigliere.

The cookbook’s wild.