The Definition of Hospitality

Sean Brock (left) and Kevin Mitchell (right)

Food history is hands down my favorite subject. It’s amazing how a meal can shape a culture, and that’s what we’re faced with when the people of Charleston sit down for the recreated Fuller Dinner. The delicious and historical dishes against the rich and conflicted backdrop absolutely make this event worth writing about, definitely beyond the dime-a-dozen new restaurant openings in NYC. I wish I could find something as cool as things happening near me, but I think I might have to drive down to Philadelphia to get anywhere close.

We Are Chefs

“Yes.” That was Kevin Mitchell’s answer when he was approached by food historian Dr. David Shields to take on the part of 19th century African-American chef Nat Fuller and reenact an 1865 iconic biracial banquet that took place in Charleston, South Carolina. A year later, along with key Charleston community members, Mitchell and Shields pulled off one of the most significant post-Civil War events to happen in the South—again.

Chef Nat Fuller
Nat Fuller was born in 1812 on a plantation on the Ashley River in Charleston. He was sold several times before he was bought by William Gatewood, a 20-year-old lottery agent from Virginia. At age 15, Fuller began his training as a butler and a gourmet cook, because Gatewood was interested in increasing his social standing in Charleston. Fuller apprenticed under some of the best cooks in the area. He had a talent for cooking and became…

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Budlet’s Florida Water review and NYC rent hikes

Review’s at the bottom! I got a little carried away with the opinion part.

Florida was a fun find while browsing NYC’s famous (opened in 1971) Pearl River Mart before its depressing brick and mortar close in December because of a giant rent hike at the end of this year’s lease. Pearl River Mart houses tons of Asian/Chinese clothing, plateware, mugs, teapots, cooking utensils, chopstick designs, a small selection of instant noodles, various sauces, and Asian snacks, as well as a tea balcony, a bunch of random knick-knacks downstairs, and plants.

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Perfume Adventure NYC Part 1!

The other week I wanted a break from the onslaught of final presentations and final papers and finals in general, so I poked my boyfriend really hard and demanded we go do smelly things. Like go to New York and visit things on this map. Because he gets headaches pretty easily from perfumes and I wanted to take my time and talk to people in each of the places I went to, we divided the places they listed up by area of the city to visit on different days, and because I like lists and Racked offers a pinned map, I put it in an Excel sheet.

I think you can guess where we hit first. And we went to Papyrus to pick up my Reddit Gifts card exchange gift.

I had a great conversation with the Aedes De Venustas guy about jasmine perfumes and the history of one of his favorite brands, Acqua Colonia, and I got the names of a bunch of stuff I might buy later when I have money, plus a refresher on brands I had completely forgotten about (BYREDO and Eau D’Italie!) and I’m fairly determined to go back and prove myself a customer that was eventually worth the time he spent on me. Sorry man, I probably should have just told you up front I was there for research purposes that day, but I will get you that commission! I got a bunch of people to say they’ll check out the place for gifts and already went through part of the choosing process with them so I hope I already earned some of your time back. I’m sure you guys earn on sales, and I know how that feels.

We went took a detour to Radio Shack to clear the boy’s nose because someone had accidentally sprayed some Amouge near him and that ish is strong stuff, and then headed over to Jo Malone because I thought he would appreciate how simple the scents were in comparison. Again, awkward sales rep avoidance ensued until we took haven with the Art History grad student named Kate making Christmas ornaments for people who purchased over $150 in the store. I did grab a few samples I liked though, like the Wild Fig and Cassis and Earl Grey and Cucumber that I’ll review another time, along with notes on other things I liked. We made off with the samples and a secret ornament that Kate accidentally messed up and then handed my boyfriend to finish, hehe.

I had by this time completely forgotten what Enfleurage was, so I wasn’t prepared for an essential oils distillery, and I just kind of ended up a bundle of awkward in that little store. I’ll come back with questions, and perhaps earlier, as the guy behind the desk seemed to be pretty tired. We didn’t stay long because I couldn’t think of any questions to ask, unfortunately.

But after we left, I realized that we still had time to hit the last of the stops I wanted to hit, and my energy was renewed from getting to pet some puppies in sweaters being walked. I was able to speak and think again without an overcast of uncomfortable. At our last stop, By Kilian, I got to meet Kimberly Waters of the reminiscent30 blog and Modern Urban Sensory Experiences, and we had a whole discussion on careers involving scents and the By Kilian brand, which was a lot of fun and pretty enlightening for my amateur mind, and it made me feel like I could do something I enjoy, for a living. She reminded me that, contrary to my belief, I was not running out of time. I guess I’ll just keep writing. Reviews for Imperial Tea and Love and Tears, Surrender coming soon!