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‘The New Yorker’ Sends Up Yotam Ottolenghi’s Recipes and It’s Perfect

“Or you could skip those flavor-compounding steps the way you cut corners with all my recipes and just stick it in the oven, like a troglodyte”

Portrait shoot of Israeli-British chef, Yotam Ottolenghi Photo by James Brickwood/Fairfax Media via Getty Images via Getty Images

“Oops, we “forgot” to utilize the za’atar—or did we?!”

The New Yorker has given renowned chef and cookbook author Yotam Ottolenghi — the man behind Plenty, Plenty More, Jerusalem, and Simple — its ‘Daily Shouts’ treatment, satirising the in-depth nature of his (almost always excellent) recipes and their use of highly specific ingredients. Ottolenghi has addressed this both tacitly, by calling his newest collection Simple, and explicitly in interviews, saying that “I don’t think I’ve always, with every recipe, given a lot of thought to what it means for people to actually cook that recipe.” As home cooking’s current star, Alison Roman, enthrals readers and new-school dinner party hosts with a book literally called Nothing Fancy, walking the tightrope between “oh, this old thing??” and “this dish is perfectly engineered in all ways actually, thanks,” it feels timely to gently, but kindly, mock her equally transfomative forerunner.

Tracking an imagined plummet from a cook preparing a dish exactly as instructed to Ottolenghi losing his mind and suggesting they just do whatever they want, his fine work be damned, here are just some of the best lines, likely to be familiar zingers for Ottolenghi stans all over:

  • “Combine first seven ingredients in a bowl. Cover with muslin. Sing mixture a lullaby (see appendix for sample arrangements). Let set between twelve and seventy-two hours—I don’t care, however long you want, my recipes are so chill now.”
  • “Or you could skip those flavor-compounding steps the way you cut corners with all my recipes and just stick it in the oven, like a troglodyte.”
  • “Ingredients: Fly to Jerusalem and try to get to Mahane Yehuda market on a weekday morning before 9 a.m. There are great beets there, and when you’re making a simple recipe like this one you really do want the best ingredients.”
  • “Recipes are just . . . recipes are just suggestions, is what I’ve been instructed to say. So, roast your flexibly prepared chicken for forty-five to sixty minutes, until the skin is crackling or your partner threatens to leave you over an ongoing argument about how much money is too much money to devote to the pursuit of Balinese lemongrass.”

And in other news...

  • A dreamy breakfast muffin, sticky, charred grilled onions, perfect buns, and more — all the best things Eater writers ate this week.
  • Gezellig, the big-ticket Holborn restaurant that promised fine wine and polished European food, will close today after eight months.
  • Amazon and Deliveroo will argue that the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) investigation into its investment deal is “speculative.” The regulator froze a £475 million investment from Jeff Bezos’ worldwide logistics giant over concerns it would reduce future competition in the food delivery market. [Propel]
  • Puff, a new bakery pop-up from rising stars Ravneet Gill and Nicola Lamb, will bring leek, bechamel, and pickled chilli escargots; salted chocolate chip cookies; and mille-feuilles to Old Street Italian restaurant Passo for four consecutive Sundays from 4 February. Gill, a St. John alumna, has worked at Lee Tiernan’s Black Axe Mangal and established food and restaurant platform Countertalk, while Lamb has worked with Dominique Ansel, Yotam Ottolenghi, and feted ice cream sandwich slingers Happy Endings. [Hot Dinners]
  • Good tweet:

Black Axe Mangal

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St. John

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Happy Endings

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