5:30 P.M. June 4
I'm not the kind of guy who hangs around the prestigious University Club in downtown Chicago, but I was taken to school last spring when I met esteemed New York food critic Gael Greene there.
She told me more about the connection between sex and food than I ever knew.
On the surface you can have fun with chocolate ice cream, cold grapes and butter (not at the same time) , but Greene offered an erotic smorgasboard of sultry stories. She was in town to promote her memoir "Insatiable (Tales From a Life of Delicious Excess)." Maybe you've seen the book. The book flap quotes Greene: "For me, the two greatest discoveries of the twentieth century were the Cuisinart and the clitoris."
And Greene was at the right place at the right time.
Gael Greene was the G spot of the New York food scene during the sexual revolution of the 1960s. She was known for her broad brimmed hats that covered her face like blinds on a neighbor's window. "Insatiable" is an evocative read that parallels Greene's coming of age as a woman with the neoteric quest of good food from France, China and Italy. In 1968 New York magazine editor Clay Felker named Greene restaurant critic, a position she held until retiring in 2001. She told me that James Beard might have been the first to write sensually about food, but she was the first to put two and two together and serve up a dinner as foreplay.
I'm back. I had to go get some food.
Anyway, during the course of our conversation Greene elaborated on several great stories that appear in her book. In 1969, she was interviewing Clint Eastwood for Cosmopolitan. Eastwood fell asleep during the conversation, but when he woke up, he suggested they go to bed. In the book, Greene's romp with America's cowboy is followed by recipe for Infidelity Soup with Turkey and Winter Vegetables. [The stock has 1 tsp. of whole black peppercorns, the soup has 1 or 2 tbsp. of freshly grated Parmesan and a drizzle of good olive oil per bowl of soup.]
"Insatiable" also talks about her fling with porn star Jamie Gillis who got off on tastes he never experienced. He was serious about his dream to invent a fruit. "Does that sound goofy?," Greene wrote. "I thought it was sweet and I saw my role in this drama."
Gael and I hit it off, much to the delight of my food editor Sue Ontiveros. Last week I got a note from Greene. She has launched her own website "Bite," which she described as "my journal, new and vintage articles from New York (magazine), gossip about people you know and love to hate, recipes, and Where I Eat When I'm Pinching Pennies. For everyone who clicks on the Michelin ad and fills out their questionaire, Citymeals will receive $1. In 1981 Greene and the late James Beard founded Citymeals-on-Wheels, which has delivered more than 30 million meals to New York City's homebound elderly.
I asked Gael if I could post her site as a Favorite Link.
Here it is: www.InsatiableCritic.com (also see my Favorite Links)
Bon bon apetite!