Falling leaves, root vegetables, suede, cashmere, corduroy, pumpkins and soup… this is Fall. I went to the green market today with nothing in mind and, due to the weather, certainly not the thought of Fall, but as soon as I arrived and saw big beautiful orange pumpkins, my mind was set. It’s Fall and Halloween is around the corner. Halloween makes me think of ghosts and fun costumes and, of course, witches. For me this day is most appropriate, as it has been nearly two months since my grandma, Helen, has passed away. My father, in the most loving and friendly way possible, always called her the witch. She would love it and say that she was going to fly away on her broom one day and this year in her own words it was time for her to do just that. At 93 years old, we should all be so lucky to live that long and that happy. She was a huge inspiration and introduced me to my love of style and food. She loved to dress and was always keen on buying the best quality she could find. She was definitely never afraid of color. She would also cook without recipes and create the most inspiring dishes, which is where I learned the art of creative cooking. She was a real Martha Stewart.
I wanted to create something that she would have loved, but also something she would have possibly created. Pumpkin soup blended with coconut milk and sprinkled with Indian spices was where my head was at. We created orange bucks this season that would go great with this dish and perfect for those of us who tend to spill as we sip. Finding organic coconut milk in this city is difficult. I know of only one place that doesn’t buy coconuts from places that dip them in formaldehyde to prevent rotting: my favorite juice and raw food bar, The Juice Press, on 1st Street between 1st and 2nd Avenues. There, the owners Marcus and Alain create the most delicious organic foods and juices. Every morning, I go for my therapy session with Marcus on the bench outside the shop and wash my emotions down with a Ginger Fire Ball, followed by a Green Giant, a Coconut water and finish with a B – probably enough green vegetables and vitamins to last me through the year and certainly enough to help me bike 70 blocks to my store, faster than if I were to start the day with a doughnut and a coffee.
Baking the soup in the pumpkin was something that my grandma would have done. She would have loved this dish and would not have tasted it with out the following commentary: “Jay, do I taste coriander? Do I taste cinnamon? Nutmeg?” She would not have shied away from saying: “You know Jay, there is no reason why you could not have done this with squash or an apple.” She knew everything and loved to know everything. She was so creative with her knowledge that she would know the history of all the spices and exactly where on the map those places are and probably their political leaders as well. She would have loved that soup and probably would have told me that she had a jacket in that exact color. Food is not just a source of energy, it’s a process — from going to the market, to who you cook it with, and the people who get to share in the feast.
I hope that this month inspires you to get your heads out of the cookbooks, to put on your cords and felt fedoras, venture into the city’s marvelous offerings and to create something special to share during what I consider a more real and engaging fashion show: the “Dinner Party”
Next month, I’ll start to share personal dinner parties so that you can see the process of what I consider real fashion, real style and real conversations.