Anticipation. The secret to those higher highs – and, of course, lower lows. Whether the outcome proves satisfying or not, that respected philosopher Tom Petty reminds us that: “The waaaiiting is the hardest part.”
Renowned author and diarist Anaïs Nin could be a little more ornamented in her language. “I walk ahead of myself in perpetual expectancy of miracles,” she wrote in House of Incest, providing one of the most durable English languish quotes on the topic. And, with Bushwick about to present original music inspired by the classic erotica of Nin’s Delta of Venus, plenty of readers have been sweating through passages dealing with a very particular kind of anticipation: that found in the bedroom.
One such reader is Erin Brindley, who also happens to be the chef at Café Nordo’s Culinarium, charged with creating the Valentine’s Day meals served to audiences at this weekend’s shows. (The contents of said menu has been another subject of fierce anticipation!)
Here are some thoughts she shared last week:
CUT TO THE NAUGHTY BITS. That’s the essence of Anaïs Nin’s Delta of Venus. I’ve been working on this menu for weeks now, delighted to have an excuse to pull the book out again. It’s been fragments of ideas, pieces of a dish here or a dish there all of which sort of embarrassed me with how “on the nose” they were to a book of erotica. I’ve found myself surprisingly shy about my first instincts…seafood sausage, really!?!? I want the food to arouse and amuse, I want the flavors to burst, and I want the food to burst. Literally. Things a fork could pierce and the insides will ooze out. See? On the nose. Creating something intended to be titillating is intimate and revealing. I’m finding it so challenging to share that part of myself, to risk exposure and ridicule for what makes my blood race.
Delta of Venus is a collection of stories Nin wrote for a dollar a page for a wealthy patron. They were not intended to be published, they were intended to arouse him. It was a commission. His request was she cut out all the story and just get to the sex parts. And while she does get right to the naughty bits, the lyricism of the language transcends the form. She’s just a hell of a writer. I deeply admire the bravery it takes to root around in the taboo and turn it into something to thrilling. And that’s the key. To simplify. Cut to it.
I spoke with Annastasia Workman, my longtime collaborator and Nordo’s composer, about where she was with the music. She said, “I’m thinking about the phrase ‘honey of the sea’ and I’m thinking of going really over the top.” Honey of the Sea. Honey of the Sea. What a beautiful name for a dish! And as it often happens, all of the fragments began coming together like a Tetris board
— Erin Brindley
And now…the menu!
Honey of the Sea
Omnivore Option: Seared Sea Scallop with Lavender Honey Bubbles and Brown Butter
Vegetarian Option: Kombu Butter Poached Oyster Mushrooms with Lavender Honey Bubbles
All Curves Filled
Omnivore Option: Hand Made Raviolo al Uovo served with Goat and Farro stuffed Swiss Chard “Dolmas”
Vegetarian Option*: Beluga Lentil and Wild Rice Stuffed Swiss Chard Dolmas with Hand Made Raviolo al Uova
(*We are offering a Gluten Free option on the vegetarian selection with a poached egg in place of Raviolo)
Waves of Pleasure
Molten Chocolate Cake with Salted Caramel Lava and Black Pepper Chantilly Cream
“Sex,” Nin wrote – but I’d argue one could say the same about food – “does not thrive on monotony. Without feeling, inventions, moods, no surprises in bed.” Or on the plate. “[It] must be mixed with tears, laughter, words, promises, scenes, jealousy, envy, all the spices of fear, foreign travel, new faces, novels, stories, dreams, fantasies, music, dancing, opium, wine.”
Now, I can’t wait to see what our artists produce. Or can I…?