It was July the 4th and I was invited to cook for Yelp, a worldwide review community. The theme was Mad Men, based on the well known American tv-series set in the '50s, all cigars and polka dots. Clearly, I had to play accordingly, so I pulled my hands together and started researching for some famous retrò American recipes that I could revisit.
The event was hosted on the Albergo Cesari terrace within the beautiful surrounding of Roman rooftops, jazz music was in the air and everything seemed just perfect until a storm fell trying and discouraging us. Unsuccessfully though, since it only made the view of the eternal city all the more appealing.
On the menu for this stars and stripes event was a series of housewives classics such as sandwiches and cheesecakes, twisted for the occasion by mixing to the recipes the less used vegetables which Italy is so full of. For example, Puff Pastry filled with Roastbeef and Horseradish sauce. This came as a surprise since people in Italy are used to eat the puff pastry as a dessert in the form of bignè. In the intervals to/from the kitchen, I foodtalked to a lovely crowd for the entire evening, thinking they are the most active members of a review community I took all of their positive comments about me posted on Yelp as an honour!
The Miniburger with Ginger Chicken and Amalfi Lemon Mayo were sitting by the side of some tiny Salmon Cheesecakes, and the Zucchini and Fennel Muffins were shadowed by the Cigars with Brie & Beetroot. Undeniably, the mystic retro atmosphere played a huge role, but the best came when the band started playing "As Time Goes by" and the guests, in full Casablanca-like outfit, enjoyed my take on the Independence Day Cake, glazed in white chocolate and decorated with wild berries and raspberries.
DON DRAPER: Teddy told me the most important idea in advertising is “new.” It creates an itch. You simply put your product in there as a kind of calamine lotion. He also talked about a deeper bond with a product: nostalgia. It’s delicate, but potent. Sweetheart. [starts slide show featuring photos of Draper's family.] Teddy told me that in Greek, nostalgia literally means the pain from an old wound. It’s a twinge in your heart, far more powerful than memory alone. This device isn’t a space ship, it’s a time machine. It goes backwards, forwards. It takes us to a place where we ache to go again. It’s not called a wheel, it’s called a carousel. It lets us travel the way a child travels. Round and a round, and back home again. To a place where we know we are loved.