all photos: Jeff Martin
May is FOOD MONTH on BYT (after SEX, focusing only on life’s necessities with our themes) and as such you can expect a visual overload of food posts. One of the regular columns we plan to have is: WHAT’S IN YOUR FRIDGE; where we explore the window to everyone’s soul: the contents of their fridge/freezer.
We will be intruding onto the kitchens local people of note, readers, food critics and chefs, pr people and beyond and today we have a treat for you: Todd Kliman, food and wine editor of Washingtonian, their restaurant critic and author of “Wild Vine” (out yesterday! and which we will be giving away at the bottom of this post) graciously and gamely opened the doors to his home and his fridge to us last week.
Some things you should know before we kick off: Todd Kliman has written for everything and everyone from The New Yorker to City Paper to Harper’s, won the James Beard food column award in 2005 and now calls Washingtonian magazine home. His official bio reveals a lot of other facts that make him irrevocably cool, no matter what standard of coolness you’re adhering to: he has interviewed Al Gore and John Barth, smoked clove cigarettes and drunk beers with Martin Amis, hung out in the Chicago Bulls locker room with a young Michael Jordan, spent a week out west with rodeo clowns and another one in the desert at Cal Ripken’s fantasy camp and during his teaching at Howard, was the editorial advisor to Chris Rock’s controversial humor magazine, The Illtop Journal, some may say directly contributing to Rock’s comedy writing career starts.
When he is not doing all that he lives with his wife and son in Hyattsville and keeps an interesting fridge at all times.
Lets dive in:
- The outside is as telling as the inside: articles about his father, vintage wine and liquor labels and memorable receipts from restaurant meals eaten a while a go.
for sophomoric humor indulgement: carefully see item #2:
- First things first: the side of the door (top to bottom):
- unsalted butter, real mayo, tapenade, mustard with spring onions from France (Kliman, three condiments in, instantly points out that this is exactly what this fridge is ALL about: KRAFT mayo AND the most expensive mustards money can buy), anchovies (“you gotta have anchovies”), hoisin sauce, mustard with estragon, MORE mustard (possibly, a pattern already emerges), Peach apricot organic jam, hot sauce, yeast (“we often bake our own bread”), Harissa (Morrocan Paste, Kliman likes things in tubes because they keep better), Korean pepper paste, MORE anchovies + WINE (“Free wine is one of the nicer perks of being a food writer”): a Pinot Noir, some Kim Crawford Rose and Dessert wine (kept in fridge instead of out for safekeeping)
- The green shelf: More Tapenade with Pistachios, Pistachio cream, Green Curry paste, 2 bottles of capers (“you gotta have capers”)
- The red shelf: Vietnamese sauce, Cocktail sauce, Soy Sauce, GOOD Soy Sauce (Pearl River), Siracha, Rose’s Grenadine, salad dressing, ANOTHER Soy Sauce
PLUS ON THE BOTTOM SHELF:
- Flax Oil, Thai Fish Sauce (“I understand it is starting to seem that we only eat Asian food, but you can’t cook without Asian Spices”), Ketchup, Vermouth, Asian BBQ sauce, Asian Sauce, Jar of Olives, Salad Dressing
INSIDE THE FRIDGE ITSELF:
- TOP DRAWER: Organic Milk, Tomato Sauce (“I don’t know what this is doing here, we make our own sauce”), 2 MORE jars of mustard, Strawberry and Vanilla Bean Jam from the Penn Quarter Farmer’s Market, Greek Pekmeze (grape based sauce) Peruvian Yellow Pepper Paste, leftovers, coke zero, Organic mushroom broth and what Kliman calls “Occupational Hazard”-Leftovers of all kinds: from new Ray’s the Steaks, Ethiopian food (now that they have a small child, Kliman and his wife don’t get to eat out together ALL THE TIME, but he always brings back things for her to try)
- SECOND SHELF: Pasta Leftovers, Bread, Bourbon Peaches, Tomato Sauce, Dried Wild Wood Ear, his son Jesse’s macaroni lunch, Yellow Pepper Paste, Greek Yoghurt, Tomatoes, CrockPot leftover beef, Corn Tortillas, Strawberry preserves, Pickled Okra, BBQ Sauce, Capers, Tub of Miso
- BOTTOM SHELF: Catfood, Eggs, Maple Syrups of all kind (which Jeff and I got a taste test for and pancake eating will never be the same)
- IN THE CRISPER: Thyme, Garlic, Lunch Meats, CHEESES: white cheddar, pecorino, parmesan & pecorino blend, parmesan, raw milk jack, mozarella, produce
- AND FINALLY-THE FREEZER: Mostly food for Kliman’s 2 year old son (who is already in triple digits in terms of his restaurant visits at that tender age, in case you were wondering): chicken breasts and thighs, sweet peas, Fruit Rainbow Sherbet, Pacific Cod, Amy’s Pot Pie, Acai (“I know, we look like such yuppies with THAT in our fridge”), Blended Veggies, Shrimp stock, Moorenko’s Creme Fraiche Ice cream (“This flavor is a little underwhelmingly one-note, though Moorenko does make some really good ice cream”), Flaxseed, Veggie Munchies
And that is that. This is what Kliman family’s food storage looks like. Food critics are sherbet loving people too, after all. We stay around to chat about his new book “Wild Vine”, a non-fiction narrative about the untold story of American wine (did you know that there was a Napa Valley BEFORE the Napa Valley and that Napa Valley was in Missouri?), on which Kliman spent the last 3+ years of his life researching and writing and of which we have two copies of to give away today (who doesn’t love Food Month?)
to enter to win let us know what your favorite place to eat in DC is right now and we will pick two winners at random at the end of this week.
Previously on “What’s In Your Fridge?”: