Author Topic: Whatcha' got cookin'

Whatcha' got cookin'
« on: May 30, 2024 »
You never know who you're going to meet on Highway 61.

As Christine Jorgensen once said to me, "I don't like it hot."  This is absolutely true.  I was cooking at the hotel where she was staying during a lecture tour of university campuses, and she came to the kitchen to speak to the chef.  "I thought I'd just pop back here to talk with you a while."

That was what led to a thirty-minute conversation I had with the 'notorious' transsexual of my generation.  She was writing a Scandinavian cookbook (perpetually, it turned out) and enjoyed talking with restaurant and hotel cooks.  She had an hour or two before she needed to get ready for her lecture, and if she wasn't eating early, she was eating late.  "But cook it a good half hour ahead of time.  I love hot food cooled down and cold food warmed up.  Room temperature is the objective."

We spoke of her tour.  I told her I'd not be able to hear her deliver her talk, so she covered what she thought I'd like to hear.  I don't know how she knew, but she was spot-on in her comments to me.  This was in the early-mid 1970s, and students those days were glad to be challenged by the new and the exciting.  Edward Teller was another controversial speaker I cooked for, but our orbits did not intersect.

Christine Jorgensen would have been de-platformed these days, to ensure she didn't spread word of her own experiences, which would contradict today's orthodoxy.  We spoke of George, her persona before the operations.  "We were never different people.  I'm still the same person George was.  You cannot change a person on the inside by changing the outside."

She mentioned her sister.  "We get along better now as sisters than we did as brother and sister.  My parents and I get along better now, as well."

Back to food – well, we never got back to food, except for preparing her early dinner.  As I recall, she wanted a beef sirloin steak grilled medium rare, then cooled, of course.  She probably had a salad with that and some rice.  She did say she liked the way rice cools down so fast.

Miss Jorgensen has the final word.  "Give everything time to develop its natural flavour," she told me.  Yes, indeed, with food and with life.