The story goes that one day the legendary Diana Vreeland, fashion editor of Harper's Bazaar for years and editor-in-chief of Vogue, asked a stewardess on her flight for Apple Brown Betty. The horrified stewardess politely replied, "Oh! I'm afraid that we do not have Apple Brown Betty, Ms. Vreeland." Vreeland then threw up her red-lacquered nails, triumphantly exclaimed, "Fake it!" and more than likely dismissed the shaken girl back to her post.
It's as good a credo as any, and certainly one to which I have often subscribed. Just the other day, I was rooting around the refrigerator for something to make for dinner when I spied an excess 1/2 pound of wrapped, fresh ground pork sausage that we hadn't needed for our Chinese dumplings (but that's perhaps another post). I immediately thought of little pork meatballs for an Italian Wedding Soup but according to the recipe I found, I was shy on some of the ingredients. I had all the stuff for the meatballs, but I didn't have any carrots. However, I did have a cube of vegetable broth that went in with my cubes of chicken broth for the base. I didn't have escarole or arugula, but bursting sprigs of parsley added the lovely, familiar green touch as well as flavor. Orzo? No. But I had a box of Uncle Ben's rice. I would have liked to have shaved a nice piece of Parmesan on it but we sprinkled a plastic cup of grated Parmesan from a recent take-out order instead. So, there you are. Diana Vreeland's Wedding Soup! Delicious!
As I have maintained in the past, a stroke of ingenuity is as necessary as any pot or pan in the kitchen. So, the next time you're stumped there, or anywhere really, just remember the words of the outrageous, great lady Vreeland and do your damnedest.
After weathering a soul-shredding career as a theatrical agent that lasted entirely too long, Mr. Sherwood left his stable of actors from the stage and screen and went on to pursue his literary aspirations. He is currently the dining editor for Next magazine (nextmagazine.com) where he writes a weekly restaurant review column which also features Manhattan's best food and drink recipes from the finest chef's and bartenders on the island. In 2010 he was published in Foodista’s Best of Food Blogs Cookbook. He toiled as web editor for industry leader Interior Design magazine for several years and has also written for New York magazine, Travel & Leisure and Woman’s Day.
A proud graduate of the University of New Hampshire, one of the nation’s top drinking schools, Mr. Sherwood also studied voice and theater abroad at Regent’s College, in London’s historic Regent’s Park, and at the Royal Academy of Music. He spent a year at Hunter College in Manhattan.
Mr. Sherwood recently published his first novel, the pale of memory, available on Amazon.com, BarnesAndNoble.com, and iUniverse.com. He is in the midst of writing a second.
Twitter/tweet/twat him @kaleidabox