The first (recorded) Viand menu

Technically, this was the second Viand.

November 2005 was the birthdays of my Swiss friends Mark and Stevie. On thanksgiving I organized an orphan dinner/birthday party for them. I said “I don’t want to serve a big meal on a big plate and have everyone pass out afterward.” They said “and we like different kinds of birthday cake.” Fritz and I cooked all day, serving little bites of this and that as it was ready, and two birthday cakes. In the end there were more languages being spoken than there were dinner guests. The full menu from that Viand was not recorded.

This was Los Angeles, and although I had many friends in the area, I rarely saw them. Just as people tend to go out a lot in New York City to escape cramped apartments, Los Angeles people tend to burrow in at home, often not even willing to answer the phone. After a harrowing day on the freeway, they are glad to be back in their castles. Nothing is possible at 7 pm and RSVPs are reluctant. But I was lonely and wanted to cook about it, so I invited my entire email list to dinner at 8 on a Saturday, no response required. There were about 200 people on the list; I was thrilled when 12 showed up. I didn’t plan ahead. When they arrived, I opened the fridge, looked inside, took something out, cooked and served it. Then opened the fridge again. Eventually everyone was full. I prefer to work than mingle at parties, so I was happy.

21 december 05 roasted poblanos & feta cheese . . . spaghetti squash with browned butter & nutmeg . . . carrots & chickpeas with yogurt & pomegranate . . . salad of apple, mint & candied pecans . . . collard greens cooked with a ham hock . . . buckwheat bread with blackberry vinegar, sharp cheddar, st. agur, and tributina . . . cheeses: nevat, mt. tam . . . grapefruit & saba . . . kabocha squash, caramelized onions, and goat cheese in rice paper … forgot to cook dessert of french toast with caramel ice cream…