Why Do We Suddenly Want to Eat Dirt?

Our favorite morsel from the Web.

The Atlantic's Tejal Rao scratches around in the curious growing fascination with dirt as an ingredient in cooking. Both dirt ― as in a sauce at Spain's Restaurante Arzak, one that contains “a tiny amount of composted dirt” ― and “dirt”: dried and charred ingredients, faux humus, that some chefs are spooning onto their plates to form trompe l'oeil naturescapes.

Time's David Kaufman offered a take on the latter last month. Rene Redzepi's dried malt and beer, spooned into terra cotta pots “planted” with a whole radish; Jennifer Puccio's pickled radishes with dried-olive “soil” at Marlowe; David Kinch's “dirt,” composed of potato, parsnip, and roasted chicory. Even as fabulous fakes, these signify extreme longing for the thing we call “terroir,” which has come to mean place-ness. No longer content to taste “place-ness” in panna cotta made with Straus milk, or in a Pinot Noir made from grapes grown in the alluvial soils of the Russian River, we want to see soil, at least a reasonable facsimile thereof. And hell, if we can find a culinary use for Connecticut Broadleaf, we might as well find one for San Joaquin brown loam.

Follow us on Twitter: @sfoodie. Contact me at John.Birdsall@SFWeekly.com

Tags: , , , ,

Related Stories