Ask Digestivo: Does Your Mother Know (That It's Dinner Time For This Family and This Family Only)
Why you at the bar if you ain't poppin' the bottles?
Someone call Katy Perry, cuz we were briefly very hot ‘n now suddenly we’re almost cold. This week: what to eat when you’re living on the edge of a hellmouth (culturally, climatologically), and some friendly reassurance that on the off chance your kids find themselves at our table, we will feed them. Send your questions to askdigestivo at gmail dot com – we’re forever at your service, for better or for worse.
It’s so fucking hot! How did this happen already? Much like my unconscionable rent increase and the insanity of the current rental market, this kind of snuck up on me. It’s feeling increasingly like I might not turn on my oven until my lease is up in September. Any suggestions to help us keep cool and carry on in the kitchen?
— Hot and Bothered
First of all, we’d be remiss not to plug our own roundup of recipes requiring neither stove nor oven, compiled last year for a reader experiencing temporary (read: nine months) of gas outages. TL;DR: Tenant’s rights may fluctuate as frequently as the temperatures in our late stage climate crisis, but the culinary promise of an Instant Pot is a constant.
But to more directly answer your question, we say – it is getting hot in here, and in addition to taking off some if not all of our clothes, here are some ideas for relatively cooling eats.
We swear by a few staples, with variation: cold noodles, whether (spicy) hot and sour, tossed in creamy sesame paste and peanut butter, or these ones loosely inspired by bang bang ji, are always welcome at our table. If you’ve got a surplus of bone broth in your freezer or are willing to whip some up for a good and eventually chilling cause, icy naengmyeon is a favorite we’ve most often enjoyed in Koreatowns across America, but are excited to recreate at home. I (SB) enjoyed experiments with kongguksu last summer.
On the topic of chilled soy, might we interest you in some soft tofu? We can hardly think of an easier weekday lunch than a bowl of soft beancurd quickly dressed with a mix of savory pantry sauces and crunchy fridge garnishes. Lately I’ve (JS) been working with a basic dumpling sauce (soy sauce, black vinegar, lao gan ma), julienned cucumbers, scallions, and cilantro, plus extra peanuts. Textural contrast is essential for moi (SB), whether that’s from chopped nuts, crispy alliums, or puffed rice. It’s still too early for good tomatoes in the city, but in the meantime you might experiment with Hana Asbrink’s hiyayakko-meets-Caprese soft tofu salad formula. Tik Tok is an especially fertile ground for cold tofu inspiration.
We also stand by our endorsement of fruit salads – some fresh herbs and a salty cheese will enliven even the blandest of melon, while a basic dressing and some salt will disguise subpar stonefruit. A dash of chili and a squeeze of lemon or lime on mango promises to transform at least one of us into Rupi Kaur (diaspora, etc.). Alternatively, switch up your ratios of fruit to salad and transform your dish into a fruity little slaw. You might consider some cooked grains for heft or toasted nuts for a little crunch.
In this weather, I (SB) also tend to crave cold cuts (mortadella, maybe a lil salami, maybe a little mustard), pickled things, and Raisin Bran with whole milk as a little treat. My (JS) spin on this slightly deranged threesome is boquerones, other pickled things (horseradish pickle chips from my nonmedical former farmers market colleague Doc Pickle, kimchi, watermelon), and Special K Red Berry with soy milk. The heart wants what it wants, and it’s an occasional bowl of Kellogg’s finest (though – crucially – not as a replacement for two meals a day). And, of course, we both endorse plenty of tinned fish to round things out.
As tradition dictates, we are also obliged to mention the official hike, picnic, and all purpose out-and-abouting sandwich of this newsletter, the humble pan bagnat And, lest you think that we’re all about the savories, we humbly direct you to our ongoing coverage of various no-churn desserts.
Is it normal to feed stranger children when they stay over at your home? What about bringing your own sheets and towels to the function? Asking for a friend.
— Gimme Gimme Gimme a Meal After Midnight
Oh, reader, how we reveled in the sweet comeuppance of Swedengate. Let’s be honest: The whole place has been coasting for decades on their own Ikea effect, and it was about time that a hex key screw came loose. It’s always the right time to knock a smug Scandinavian country down a peg or two. At least this crushing blow came at a time when there’s more than a few hours of usable sunlight. Good luck at Eurovision next year, guys. Enjoy that mostly functional welfare state in the interim.
June 3rd is the deadline to register to vote in New York’s verkakte two-part summer primary elections! In case you don’t listen to the Brian Lehrer show yet, redistricting remains a shit show and you might just be voting in a hotly contested race. Don’t miss out on your opportunity to weigh in on being represented by Big Bird bitch Bill De Blasio! (FYI, the “special master” in charge is in fact a postdoctoral fellow. The precariat strikes back, amirite??)
We don’t traditionally celebrate the jubilee, but this particular tribute was too on the nose for us not to mention.
For this month and this month only, we join countless brands in the call to legalize gay! Love is love is love! Speaking of consumerism, did you do any shopping over MDW? Let us know what you snagged, we love to vicariously partake.
Thomas Wesley Pentz’s recent brush with skeptical private security confirms that sometimes at Cannes, all we need is somebody (an unnamed yacht owner) to lean on.