American Spirit - Tasting Series
The American Spirit 2024 tasting series, curated by Chef Nick and his team, is a groundbreaking culinary journey through the heart of American gastronomy. Beginning with our inaugural focus on corn/maize, this series delves deep into the ingredients that have not only nourished but also defined American culture and history. Each dinner, meticulously crafted by Chef Nick, promises an immersive exploration of flavors, techniques, and stories, highlighting how these key ingredients have been pivotal in shaping the American culinary landscape.
First Series: Maize
Chef Nick's menu aims to capture this deep historical significance. Each dish is not just a culinary creation but a story – a narrative of how corn has been a sustenance, a symbol of life, and a bridge between cultures. The dishes will draw inspiration from traditional indigenous recipes and cooking techniques, thoughtfully adapted to reflect contemporary culinary artistry. The origins of corn emphasizes its enduring legacy and its role in the mosaic of American identity.
The Stories Behind Food
Nixtamalization, a remarkable ancient process discovered by the Mayans, involved processing maize on volcanic rocks with calcium hydroxide. This technique not only broke down maize to enhance its nutrient density but also led to the creation of masa, a staple that provided them with a substantial, versatile energy source from a simple grain.
Translating to 'broken corn kernels', Sahquattah, a dish made from preserved corn kernels and beans, originated among Northeastern Native Americans in the 13th century. This nutritious meal, adaptable based on the success of harvests and hunts, was vital for sustaining the natives through harsh winters and lean periods. Notably, the natives introduced this dish to the Pilgrims, aiding their survival in the unfamiliar terrains of the New World.
The humble pig, requiring minimal space for a substantial caloric yield upon slaughter, became a favored choice for husbandry along the cramped American East Coast. This efficient use of limited space, combined with the abundance of corn as livestock feed, exemplifies one of the most striking and efficient thermodynamic consolidations of energy, harnessed through the power of maize.
As America industrialized its food supply, processed corn products have found their way into seven out of ten items in American grocery stores. In food deserts, where access to fresh, natural food is limited and cheap caloric density becomes a necessity for daily survival, corn once again steps in to sustain and support a population engaged in an energetic exchange with the grain throughout the annals of American history.
Beneath the symbol of this piece of Americana lies an intricate interplay across time and space of the cultures and technologies made possible by our beloved maize. Its journey, from a staple ingredient cultivated and mastered by indigenous peoples, to being transformed through the technologies of industrialization and blended with the culinary techniques of the Old World settlers, is embodied in cornbread.
Join us for a unique culinary experience in our "American Spirit 2024" series, beginning with an exclusive dinner celebrating the rich history and versatility of corn. Curated by Chef Nick, each course is a tribute to this staple ingredient, taking you on a journey through the flavors and stories that have shaped American cuisine.
Price: $100 per person
Reservations: Secure your spot by emailing Info@TheOrdinarie.com
Please note, seating is limited for this exclusive event, so reserve your place early to be part of this extraordinary culinary