This is not a recipe.

Go ahead, follow that link and read it. Then come back and tell me how you’re going to get anything significant from adding 2 small garlic cloves and a half-inch piece of ginger to the water in which you “wilt” spinach. “Oh,” you say, “but the recipe called for the dish to be lightly seasoned with salt and pepper! Surely that will give the wilted spinach some flavor?” Fuck you, my hastily constructed straw man. Look, I know the New York Times is my go-to place for scorn, but what the holy hell is going on here? Just read what the author of the recipe said about it:

I desperately wanted a pile of fresh greens and washed a pound for four people. The method was something I’ve come to think of as an oil-free stir-fry: I cooked a large handful of spinach at a time in a half-inch of boiling water, adding a touch of garlic and ginger and swirling the greens with tongs. As soon as they were barely wilted, I transferred them to a serving dish.

That’s not a stir-fry, David. That’s boiling spinach. You’ve boiled spinach in very lightly seasoned water. Congratulations, and thank you so very much for the recipe. I’m waiting for the follow-up article in which you provide variations such as carrots boiled in lightly seasoned water, leeks boiled in lightly seasoned water, water boiled with lightly seasoned water or possibly kale boiled in lightly seasoned water. What kills me is that the recipe is billed as “oil-free spinach with ginger.” Oil free indeed. As if oil is a bad thing? I use the word “fuck” too much, I know. But fucking hell…

Tanis, if you’re such a glutton that post-Thanksgiving all you can manage to stuff down your gullet is steamed fish and “lightly boiled” spinach, then I’m terribly sorry for you. I’m not sorry for your editors at the New York Times, who apparently don’t know their ass from a bowl of lightly boiled spinach. (tip: your ass is the one that’s not green and watery).

Update: God bless my pointed little head, I just realized that the author of the recipe above was the source of an earlier post I wrote about frying oysters, in which I expressed skepticism about the author’s ability to cook. I’m both embarrassed that I didn’t realize I was criticizing the same guy, and slightly gratified that I appear to have been correct about Mr. Tanis. So it goes.

I very nearly eliminated the New York Times Dining & Wine section from my newsreader this evening, because I so rarely find anything there worth reading. Then I realized that a fair portion of my content here comes from making fun of the NYT Dining & Wine section, and I reconsidered.

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11 2011

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  1. 1

    I felt the same way about his two cookbooks….certainly not worth buying.

    • Alex #

      Well-said, and I love the style of this post. The subject line and the hyperlinked first sentence say all that needs to be said. As with any good essay, they alone made an attempt at achieving something. The rest of the post was just pure entertainment.

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