Saturday, August 19, 2006

Endive, Pear, and Stilton Salad (Page 146)

  • Date: Wednesday, August 16, 2006 - 8pm
  • Location: Palo Alto, CA
  • Kitchen: Emilee and Brian's Apartment
  • Fellow Chef: Emilee
  • Dining Companions: Grace, Tigran, and Brian
  • Recipe Rating: B

Emilee and I picked this salad because we have both eaten and enjoyed this item (from other recipes) before. This rendition turned out to be quite different from what we expected though. For one thing, the pears in this recipe were cooked. The cooked pears had a good flavor and went very well with the Stilton, but Emilee commented that she would have preferred the texture of raw pears. The recipe's biggest problem was the dressing. It was an anise vinaigrette. The anise and vinegar flavors were so strong that the dressing was hard to eat. I would recommend dressing the salad very lightly. Aside from those various critiques, the salad wasn't bad. The sweetness of the pairs contrasted nicely with the bitter endives. And the Stilton obviously was a wonderful addition! The salad was very monochromatic though -- it wasn't visually appealing at all. It's so easy to construct a gorgeous salad that it's a shame when you have one that looks so bland.

A friend of mine from college was in town a few weeks ago and he came to a party that I was having. When he emailed me to say he was coming he wrote "Can I invite my girlfriend to dinner tomorrow? It looks like she would even out the gender balance a bit, but I know you hate girls..." I hate girls? It is true that of the people that I consider to be my closest friends, a relatively small percentage of them are women. But it not because I hate girls! I keep thinking about that comment, and wondering why he thought that... The truth is two-fold: One, I just know more men than women. I work in a male-dominated field at a male-dominated graduate school. It natural to be friends with people that you work with, and most of them are men. Two, I think I am better at being friends with men than with women. There are certainly exceptions. My friendships with Emilee, Rachel, Mel, and a few other women are effortlessly easy. (What do those women have in common? Maybe I find it easiest to be friends with women who have mostly male friends...) In general I think I have better intuition about the male-female friendship. I have more practice with it. I am generalizing of course -- no two friendships are the same, and any broad gender distinctions will have exceptions. But I think there are different dynamics in friendships that correlate pretty well with the gender composition. In any event, I don't hate women. In fact, I am always especially excited to make a new female friend! For instance, I was really happy that Grace could join us for dinner on Wednesday!

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