Don’t get jealous, Baltimore — David Simon loves New Orleans, too. Just… in a different way.
Though Simon’s most lasting geographical tie will probably always be Baltimore — this is where he lives, and much of his work is set here — the writer/producer/benevolent pessimist has a huge spot in his heart for New Orleans. That’s where he’s been spending much of his time in recent years, since it’s the home his most recent HBO show, Treme. As the series winds down (its final episode is slated for December 29), Simon is doing his best to pay tribute to the place he’s called Baltimore’s sister city.
While Treme celebrated New Orleans music, Simon has now turned his eye on the city’s remarkable food scene. Simon and the Treme team paired up with famed food writer Lolis Eric Elie to pen a Treme-themed cookbook, featuring dozens of recipes that draw from the city’s diverse food culture. Recipes include everything from crawfish ravioli from rising star chef Janette Desautel, slow-roasted duck from Gabrielle, and sweet potato turnovers from La Spiga. And yes, of course, there’s a recipe for Sazerac. (In case you’re worried, Baltimoreans, Simon isn’t a total convert. He still believes that we know how to cook crabs better: “The crab is much more vibrant when it’s steamed,” he told the New Orleans Times-Picayune last year.) Simon and Elie will be appearing at Johnny’s in Roland Park on Sunday, Dec. 15 from 2- 4p.m. for a book signing. (More info on the book signing at the bottom of the story.)
We grabbed a few minutes with Simon to ask him about the role of food in his life, among other things:
Sum up your life philosophy in one sentence.
“I’d agree with you, but then we’d both be wrong.”
When did you define your most important goals, and what are they?
Tell some good, honest stories, raise a couple kids into good people, and leave the world a little better than I found it.
What advice would you give a young person who aspires to do what you are doing?
Experience some of life, pay attention to the lives of others, and then, when you’ve acquired some understanding, write purposefully.
What is the best moment of the day?
Reading, if there is time and the day isn’t otherwise ruined.
What is on your bedside table?
Right now? “Sister Carrie” Drieser on a reread. And “The Financier” by him as well. Also a couple of New Yorkers and a compendium of I.F. Stone essays that is a few years old.
What is your favorite local charity?
In Baltimore, the Ella Thompson Fund of the Parks and People Foundation of Baltimore. In New Orleans, the Roots of Music or the New Orleans Musicians Clinic.
What do you hope readers (and cooks!) will take away from the cookbook?
If they live in New Orleans, some small increment of local pride at being part of the only improbable city in the United States. If they live elsewhere, some small, incremental notion that they need to come here and share and honor some of what New Orleanians have managed to create and sustain.
Do you have a favorite recipe from the cookbook? Read More →
12/15 at 4pm - Paint, Sip & Support
12/19 at 6pm - Paint Wine and Taste Wine!
12 x 9
Oil, acrylic and charcoal on wrapped canvas
Local artist Liza Matthews was one of our featured artists in 2012. The MICA-trained painter’s complex yet harmonizing works of art add visual interest to any interior. See more of Liza’s work on her Facebook page, or read about the artist and her art here.
Center Stage is reporting that its holiday production of A Civil War Christmas has broken the theater’s single ticket daily gross record and has become one of the best-selling shows in the company’s 50-year history.
“We have been blown away by the magical show that Paula Vogel, Rebecca Taichman, and Liz Lerman have brought to us,” says Artistic Director Kwame Kwei-Armah. “It is thrilling to see our audiences embrace this production and the creative approach with which the team brought it to life.”
Limited tickets remain for the Pulitzer Prize winning play, which the Washington Post gave raves. To keep up with the demand, the theater is adding a performance on Sunday, December 22, at 7:30. Read More →
Two bands are preparing to shake up the status quo of concert set lists on December 14th at An Die Musik. Songwriters Howard Markman, of Palookaville, and Adam Trice, of Red Sammy, will share the stage to perform each other’s music. That’s right; Palookaville will play its renditions of Red Sammy’s songs and vice versa. Read More →
It’s the holiday season again, and that means that Baltimore’s own King of Trash is heading out on the rode with his acclaimed one-man show “A John Waters Christmas” (with two shows at the Baltimore Soundstage, by the way!).
Over the weekend, an interview with Waters appeared in the New York Times fashion section, and the filmmaker let us know what makes a good Christmas gift.
His advice? A book is always appropriate; a gift card never is (unless it’s a Bitcoin giftcard). Read More →
David Warnock, venture capitalist, foundation head, art collector, doesn’t want your money. He wants your mind.
There’s a new non-profit in town – one with an interesting mission. The Warnock Foundation wants to be a “platform for innovation,” sifting through the sands of social entrepreneurship for truly great ideas – large and small — that have potential to help the economically disadvantaged and move Baltimore forward.
“Our goal is to connect the people with influence and the people with ideas” says founder David Warnock. “We want to create an environment where entrepreneurism can thrive.”
Ok, sounds great, but how does it actually happen? Recently, the Warnock Foundation conducted a survey asking Baltimoreans what they love about the city, what their concerns are, and ideas for how to make it better. We recently spoke with David in his Inner Harbor offices at Camden Partners, a Baltimore-based private equity firm, to find out the results of the survey, how it impacts the mission of the Warnock Foundation, and how he thinks it can make a difference to Baltimore.
You grew up during difficult economic times in Grand Rapids, Michigan, and attended the University of Delaware and University of Wisconsin. You came to Baltimore in 1983 to work for T. Rowe Price. Soon after you took your first steps into community involvement. What was that experience like?
Through a group called Project Raise, which was sponsored by the Abell Foundation, I became a mentor to a young African-American boy named Winzell Hinton. He was 12 years old at the time, a great kid. We were close for several years, but eventually he drifted away, drawn into the drug culture of East Baltimore. One day when he was 15, I got a call from his mother saying Winzell was at the hospital — he’d been shot, and he had shot another boy. Eventually he was sentenced to a long prison term. I felt then, and still do sometimes, that I had let him down.
Did you stay in touch?
No, we lost touch completely. But 22 years later, he called me up out of the blue. He was out of prison, had a good job, and he simply called to thank me and say he’d never forgotten me. It’s something I will always remember, both seeing him lost to the streets and getting that call to hear I’d made some difference after all. Read More →
The holiday season gives domestic divas plenty of opportunities to strut their stuff. They operate in an arena in which I’ve never even attempted to compete.
Case in point: It was 5:00pm last Friday night, and I was strolling the aisles of the grocery store, maneuvering through the baking goods aisle while tossing into my overflowing cart containers of red and green sprinkles for the sugar cookies I planned to bring to my neighbor’s annual cookie swap. Start time? Two hours.
By the time I got home, dragged in and put away all the groceries, figured out who was chauffeuring which kids where that evening, and considered but quickly dismissed making dinner in favor of ordering a pizza, I was much more motivated to pour myself a glass of wine than to make Christmas cookies.
Reluctantly, I decided to do both, reaching for a bottle of chardonnay while dutifully rolling up my sleeves and digging around for my cooking bowl in the jumble of pots and pans in my kitchen cabinet. In mere minutes, I’d whipped up the batter and was feeling rather pleased with myself for not having had to substitute or simply do without any ingredients (an all too common plight I face in the kitchen) when I got to the next step in the recipe. It stopped me in my tracks. Chill cookie dough for two hours, it read. Well, I don’t have time for that, I thought. Nor was there room in my refrigerator.
Instead, I stuck the dough-filled bowl out in the cold December air for a few minutes then, after retrieving it, plopped the ball of dough onto my flour-covered stove to roll it out, failing to realize the effect of the oven—directly beneath the stove—which was pre-heating. Read More →
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