Eating with Clio: Why Tina Fey Would Approve of the Oink Tattoo in Honor of EDL

Forgive me, Tina Fey–whose “The Mother’s Prayer for Its Daughter” in Bossypants* begins with “First, Lord: No tattoos.” But, as a proud father, I must enter my three-year-old daughter Clio in the Eat Drink Local Challenge. Not just for her heroic oyster slurping, her prolific pea picking and her garlic scape gnawing.

But for her enthusiastic wearing of an Animal Welfare Institute “Oink” tattoo, which she swiped from the Taste of Greenmarket gift bag I brought home last week.

Sure, pork ain’t an Ingredient of the Week this year, but I like to think of Clio’s request to wear that tattoo to the Eat Drink Local kickoff event at Townline BBQ as a symbol of her broader appreciation of food and drink culture–letting her foodie-flag fly for everyone (young and old) to see.

Of course, Clio (whose parental-anxiety-generating eating we’ve chronicled) isn’t the first food and drink enthusiast to brand herself. If you recall, we did tell of a few illustrated folks in the Fall 2008 issue of Edible Brooklyn, whose salt-shaker covergirl could be Clio in 20 years if she decides to pursue the culinary arts (and move to Brooklyn?).

But event the non-painted participants in EDL never cease to impress. At Townline BBQ, Chef Joseph Realmuto put together a wondrous spread that included a whole roasted lamb, smoked oysters, a rainbow of salads (peas, beans, cabbage, lettuce, pickles), and a gooey, tart strawberry-rhubarb cobbler (with rhubarb from Chef Joe’s own garden at Nick&Toni’s).

Alongside the EDL grub were some very selective suds. Brooklyn Brewery put out a big ice-filled bin of Summer Ale in cans. Bluepoint Brewery erected a popup tent on the side of Highway 27 with taps of Toasted Lager and Hoptical Illusion. And the Southampton Publick House offered a triptych of beers instead: Keller Pils, Double White, and its IPA. “Those ingredients, that menu that Townline put together, go really well with beer,” Spencer Niebuhr of the Publick House remarked after sampling the spread, a smile on his face as the sun set towards New York City.

Among the other attending eaters were East Hampton farmers market manager and astrological consultant Kate Plumb, chef Joe Isidori of the Southfork Kitchen, chef Bryan Futerman of Foody’s (who is offering a lamb pita with yogurt and veg for Eat Drink Local).  Catherine Baldwin and Amanda Merrow, fresh from the AFI local wine tasting at Amber Waves, shared a table with Montauk brewers Vaughan Cutillo and Joe Sullivan.

As for Clio’s allegiance to the EDL menu at Townline, she gobbled some cornbread, peas and lamb and downed a way-too-big-for-kids glass of strawberry lemonade, before running outside to play. We harassed her to go back inside and eat (and not to run too close to the highway!).

When dessert time came, we offered her a bite of the cobbler. She examined the spoon suspiciously. There were strawberries involved, she could see, but what was that thing that looked like celery? She took a bite and then, in the way that kids do, immediately spit it out so it dribbled down her chin onto her dress. Too tart, I suppose. At least the girl knows what she likes.

* Tina Fey’s memoir, Bossypants, contains some unsung (and very funny) food mentions that we hope to chronicle in coming posts. Consider this bit from p. 251: “But who am I to judge? I have never been able to get my head around ham salad or pickled eggs. And I would like it explained to me in writing what’s so great about apple butter.” Here goes: Apple butter is great because it’s a simple (ingredients include just apples, sugar, salt), tasty, apple-flavored condiment that can be stored for long periods of time, can be spread on bread like any other “butter,” and can be made out of less-than-perfect apples, giving farmers something else to do with their crops and something else for us all to eat.

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Brian is the editor at large of Edible East End, Edible Long Island, Edible Manhattan and Edible Brooklyn. He writes from his home in Sag Harbor, New York, where he and his family tend a home garden and oysters. He is also obsessed with ducks, donuts and dumplings.