I'm probably never going to make the katsu curry recipe Sam Sifton devised in Sunday's New York Times Magazine, but I sure did eat up and appreciate many of Sifton's hilarious and spot-on lines in the column. Sifton is the Times' cultural editor, but before that he edited the paper's food section when I was a regular contributor there. The only shame of Sam's new gig is that it leaves him precious little time to write. And, oh, how the boy can write.
After the jump, a bit of Sifton's culinary wisdom from yesterday's column.
The first two paragraphs are sheer genius:
"It is Japan’s chili, its bacon cheeseburger, its meatloaf and gravy all in one, a hangover-killing man meal found in bars and restaurants up and down the country narrow, never as good as Mom’s. It is katsu curry: a thick, fragrant, porky roux glopped across delicate short-grain rice and topped — gilded, really — with a deep-fried pork cutlet, served beside a tangle of shredded cabbage. It’s great."
"As an American weekend meal cooked for friends and family and served before an evening of televised football or after an afternoon of the real thing, katsu curry reaches heights to which stews and soups can only aspire as they sit warm and bubbling in their enameled pots. Katsu curry defines rib-sticking. Fiery, rich and deep with smoky flavor, it towers above delicious."
"It towers above delicious." I'm afraid I am going to borrow that expression, Sam.
Sifton's closing line: "This is British Indian food as imagined by excited Japanese and cooked in the United States a hundred years later, a small triumph of postcolonial cuisine, a culture mashup of the most delicious sort. Go, go!"