Yesterday I learned the British word plonk and I am really excited about it. I initially heard the word in an interview with Garett Oliver, the brewmaster at Brooklyn Brewery, on The Eater Upsell.
Sidenote: For anyone looking for a fun new podcast, The Eater Upsell comes out every other week and features an interview with someone broadly connected to the food and beverage industry (think people like Dan Barber and Emeril Lagasse). Helen Rosner is an excellent host, and she and her co-host, Greg Morabito, often have really interesting insights on the New York restaurant scene. Helen Rosner was also recently quoted in that New Yorker piece about the San Pellegrino-sponsored “Best Restaurants” lists that you have been meaning to read. I think she’s brilliant and her quotes make the whole piece:
“Fine, you’re using local ingredients, but you’re still French-trained, doing service à la russe, referring to things as ‘a riff on panna cotta.’ It erases the culinary traditions that are inherent to other places. The food of China and of South Africa has value, and it doesn’t need to be shoved into the extremely restrictive corsetry of a European-style tasting menu.”
I overheard coworkers casually mention that “the best restaurant in the world is in Copenhagen” and I barged out of my office and just started ranting at no one, “Oh, you mean Noma? That list is bullshit, it’s basically statistically impossible that all of the judges who voted for Noma actually ate there. But also it looks amazing. Did you see Rene Redzepi on the David Chang season of Mind Of A Chef? I only watched a few episodes when The Boyfriend was away on business, but I really like it and I can’t wait to make it to the Gabrielle Hamilton season, I wonder what she thinks about Rene Redzepi and/or the San Pellegrino best restaurants list? I am just bugged by the extent to which that list is identified with San Pellegrino, even though I love San Pellegrino and I would probably murder the first-born child of someone I work next to to get to eat at all of those restaurants.” (I was joking, because my coworker/office neighbor just had his first child, but I think my manic word vomit completely overwhelmed him and he missed the joke. Also, I’m not totally sure that he isn’t currently considering getting a restraining order against me.)
Anywhooo, Garrett Oliver was talking on the Eater Upsell about the way that we think about wine in American culture — that we always assume it’s fancy and the media devotes a disproportionate amount of time and energy to the small percentage of really fantastic wines actually consumed in the US. And then, all of the sudden, he used just one word to describe nothing-fancy-just-fine-for-every-day wine — “the kind of wine that comes in a bag, in a box, or in a glass jug with a finger loop” — plock. Apparently, it used to be derogatory, and refer to shitty wine (and plockers were the kinds of people who make a habit of getting sloppy drunk on cheap wine), but now it’s often used to refer to table wine — the kind of thing that is totally drinkable, but not something that is so fancy it warrants stopping the whole world to sit and enjoy a glass.
I love that I finally have a word for that distinction. Sometimes, I want to savor a really complex glass of red wine before dinner. I want to sniff it and sip it and taste it with food and talk about it. But sometimes, I just want a glass of wine. Something that’s good, and enjoyable, that I can drink while I’m gossiping and don’t want to get distracted with something like remarkable wine.
Speaking of gossip, a bunch of my law school friends were in town a few weeks ago. The Boyfriend and I invited them all over for brunch, and we needed the brunch-food equivalent of plock. Something delicious but simple, that everyone could eat and enjoy while we caught up on each others’ lives and gossiped about our old classmates. I whipped up a loaf of this pecan-topped pumpkin bread, and it was perfect. We snacked. We helped ourselves to seconds. We mildly choked upon hearing that so-and-so is getting married, and what’s-her-name is moving. The pumpkin bread had lovely pumpkin flavor, a nice crumb and crunchy nut topping, but it couldn’t outshine our morning of friendship — a very plonky bread, indeed.
Flashback! One year ago on Leighto-Greato: Cauliflower Chorizo Goat Cheese Gratin
- 2 c. all-purpose flour
- 1 t. baking soda
- ½ t. baking powder
- 1 t. cinnamon
- ½ t. nutmeg
- ½ t. allspice
- ½ t. cardamom
- ½ t. salt
- ½ t. black pepper
- 1 egg
- 1 stick butter, melted
- 1 c. pumpkin puree
- 1 T. orange juice
- 1 t. vanilla extract
- Walnuts, for topping
- Spray an 8x8 baking dish with nonstick spray and preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
- In a large bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, baking powder and spices.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together egg, melted butter, pumpkin, orange juice and vanilla.
- Pour all of the wet ingredients into the bowl with the dry ingredients, and stir until completely combined.
- Pour the batter into the baking dish, and arrange the walnuts on top of the batter.
- Bake until a knife comes out clean, about an hour.