The legendary chef answers the question…What did you eat today, Jeremiah Tower?
When my guest arrived this morning I thought it will not be so important what we eat today as what a certain Asian cat ate. “Yes, it’s coffee from a cat’s ass,” he clarified, when I looked blank to his question, “Would you like some cat poop?” He handed me the package. The label said Kopi Luwak Coffee, with “Pea Berry” in parentheses. Given its origins the “pea” could at least have been changed to cherry, which is what they call the fruit of the coffee tree and the berry that the Asian Palm Civet or Paradoxurus eats. The bean inside the fruit “finishes its journey through the digestive system, and exits.”And what an exit! A $50 per pound one. Even worse is the description on the bag “… heavy flavor with a hint of chocolate.” This is going to be a hard act to follow, I told my friend. Nothing Sumatran, Javan, or Balian exotic around here. Nothing like Jack Nicholson in the 2008 movie The Bucket List when Morgan Freeman tells him how the coffee is produced–eaten and defecated by a jungle cat. “You’re shitting me,” says Jack. “No, the cats beat me to it,” jokes Morgan. My friend is a movie freak and remembers these kinds of lines. More importantly (and to change the subject), I said, what are we having for lunch?
I have another surprise, he said. I wondered what the smell leaking like a mist from his backpack was. Figured it was more of the cat. Just shows you what preconceptions can do to distort the brain and its thinking. Let alone important conclusions. But from his hand, dug into one of the pack’s pouches, appeared a fairly good-sized white truffle. So much for cats and their exits. I had the oven on high to make some “white pizza” for loading up with whatever was in the fridge. “What about a pizza?” Don’t have any foie gras to smear on one topped with St. John’s (great London restaurant) Parsley & Onion Salad, I told him. Or smoked sturgeon added with chopped up deviled eggs. Or fresh salmon roe with dill double cream. Or summer heirloom tomatoes, and no spit-roasted suckling pig. Or Chinatown barbecued pork with Sichuan pepper and Ketkjap dipping sauce. I babbled on about these to give me time to think what I did have. He told me he had read recently one of these 2paragraphs about a pizza with white truffles and eggs. Ah yes, I said, from Cincilla restaurant in Alba where I always have my birthday breakfast before going on to lunch of eggs poached in cream and butter that are then covered half-an-inch high with those same tubers. “Let’s do that,” I was ordered. We did. He is still asleep as I write this. Perhaps it was the two bottles of Antinori’s Cervaro della Sala that washed down the eggs. // Jeremiah Tower
(image: Cat Poop Coffee, Inc.)