waaaay back when, i was a graduate student in northern california long before the Unreliable Narrator came along. i had infinite time to attend parties and barbeques. through a friend at one such bbq i met a woman and her charming boyfriend.
we all talked of harsh immigrant parenting methods (me: smackings with the back of a brush on the hand, her: the dreaded chancla–slipper–the floppier, the more painful).
the charming boyfriend was aaron sanchez, a second-generation chef who originally grew up in NYC but was living and probably making his bones at some san francisco restaurant when we met him. we got straight from his lips the word about nueva latino (nouvelle latino cuisine, combining continental methods and ingredients with mexican, spanish, and latin american ones.) just the idea of it was enough to make HB and me salivate. and this was back in the mid-’90s, when no one had heard of nueva latino.
(HB still quotes something that aaron said that afternoon, “two things a man never touches: another man’s woman and his grill.” HB is quite the grillmaster.)
so when HB worked for That Huge Corporation and had occasion to use his expense account in manhattan, he chose to go to aaron’s restaurant. he said it was fabulous food, all the more wonderful for having the sweaty, exhausted chef come out after the meal and say hello to everybody. (foodies are starfuckers just like everybody else.)
(Photo: Kang Kim. Food Styling by Alison Attenborough. NY Magazine)
so i was excited to see that aaron’s still evangelizing nueva latino, and doing well! it looks like he has two restaurants now. here’s his recipe for roast suckling pig in NY Magazine–alongside other ethnic takes on the old-school roasted turkey.
i think we should try something out of the ordinary this year, if not a roast suckling pig. (the photo above has a kind of spectacular gruesome, and yet alluring, appeal to it, if you eat meat.) luckily i discovered these recipes with enough lead time so we could actually experiment with them a little. we have the time and the people power to attempt an extravagant thanksgiving feast, so why not?