Thursday, August 30, 2012

LOFT LIFE: Really?

You guys know I used to be a food critic, right? True. In California, I was invited into the inner sanctum of the California Restaurant Writers Association. They audition you--I mean you have to go through an interview, screening and acceptance, and then you have to follow a set of guidelines, one of which is that you never trade your review for any goods or services. They want to make sure you are incognito, that you are truly giving an opinion not traded for gain, and that you are a real critic, not an advertiser. It is really quite an honor.
I say all that to let you know that I passed! That means my food reviews have some credibility. Oh, don’t start laughing. 

This is just to introduce to you how much I love food, talking about food, eating food, criticizing food, etc. I also subscribe to a few food sites, where they send me recipes. The best of these is where they have formed a truly meaningful community around sharing food stories, recipes, and even blogs. (My Spinning blog is on there.)

Today I received a recipe from Cooking Light, the magazine of which I used to read. Today’s recipe was for, get this, Cobb salad pizza. The name screams, “What?”

                          PhotoCredit: John Autry, styling, Mindi Shapiro

Maybe it’s just me, but that strikes me as hilarious. I mean, if you want a salad, why add bread underneath it, and frozen pizza dough bread even? Wouldn’t you want a nice, crusty whole grain aside your Cobb so you can enjoy the salad, fresh and cold without the baked white bread?

It also calls for mixed baby greens. So I had to do this research in order not to lose what of my mind I may still have left. Here’s what wikipedia says:

Various stories of how the salad was invented exist. One says that it came about in the 1930s at the Hollywood Brown Derby restaurant, where it became a signature dish. It is named for the restaurant's owner, Robert Howard Cobb.[1] Stories vary as to whether the salad was invented by Cobb or by his chef, Chuck Wilson. The legend is that Cobb had not eaten until near midnight, and so he mixed together leftovers he found in the kitchen, along with some bacon cooked by the line cook, and tossed it with their French dressing.[2] This version of the story (dated to 1937) is retold in episode 3, season 2, of comedy series Curb Your Enthusiasm, when Larry David searches for evidence to prove that another character has falsely claimed that his grandfather invented the salad.
Another version of the creation is that Robert Kreis, executive chef at the restaurant, created the salad in 1929 and named it in honor of Bob Cobb, the owner.[3] The same source confirms that 1937 was the reported date of the version noted above, with Cobb making the salad.
And here is what the original ingredients supposedly were:
iceberg lettuce, watercress, endive, Romaine lettuce, tomatoes, bacon, chicken breast, hard-boiled eggs, avocado, chives, Roquefort cheese, red-wine vinaigrette.

  Does this scream, please put frozen pizza dough under me?
The pizza Cobb deletes the original kinds of greens, substitutes the more trendy “mixed baby greens,” deletes the hard-boiled egg, substitutes blue cheese for Roquefort, which is not the same, and drizzles the whole mess with a white-, not red-wine vinaigrette, and the pizza salad version includes Dijon mustard.
Now I’m not saying you can’t adapt a recipe. I’m not even saying some might not find this pizza thing tasty. I’m just saying, it’s not a Cobb. Now, I ask you? And, Why? 

Now your turn to opine.