Saturday, 5 September 2009

September 11th Menu


It goes without saying that there is a great deal of controversy about September 11th 2001. Conspiracy theories abound. But the fact remains that however this tragedy came about, many innocent people lost their lives and a great city was traumatised.
My cousin, Jim Stewart, was the General Manager of Tavern on the Green restaurant in Central Park. I wrote to him to ask what would be appropriate food at The Underground Restaurant to serve on that date. He replied:
"Hi: we don't do much dining on that date.
During that time I was tabbed by the Office of Emergency Management in NYC to be one of the coordinators of the food effort at the site, as we had to serve about 40 thousand meals a day on the site as it was considered a rescue effort upon initiation. Only after about 5 days did we figure out that everyone was dead. I knew a lot of the chefs and had run the football stadium so they knew I had the ability to organize food for large groups, thus they called me. I ended up working on the project about 3 months.

The restaurant at the top of the building was called Windows on the World. Michael Lomonoco was the chef, I had worked with him at the 21 club. Many of my former employees from Tavern on the Green worked there. Unfortunately many of the people who perished were friends of ours. Surviving members of the staff have organized a restaurant called
Colors."

Jim (we call him Jamie) was mentioned in much of the press at the time. He quit his job to help out, pulling in favours from his contacts in the restaurant trade who donated "hundreds of thousands of dollars" in food and labour. In this interesting article in caterersearch he mentions that "Chinatown restaurants alone sent 500 meals a day to the ship" aptly called The Spirit of New York, which acted as a dockside canteen for disaster workers. The article also talks about the concerns of New York's health department which was nervous about food coming from so many different restaurants "After the Oklahoma City bombing a lot of relief workers were getting sick".
People need to eat. Whatever happens. Chefs and the food industry play their part in times of emergency just as doctors, nurses and firemen do.

Notes on the forthcoming menu...

Cocktail with colloidal silver

Mini home baked poppy seed bagels with lox and cream cheese

Caesar salad

Mac and cheese (Macaroni Cheese) baked in the Aga

White Chocolate brownie with pink peppercorns and monatomic gold

Coffee

This menu (subject to change) represents both typically New York food and elements of mysticism and mystery, so beloved of the conspiracy theorists with regard to this historic event.
Monatomic gold was used in The Philadelphia Experiment, a US navy experiment where they coated a destroyer with monatomic gold and it disappeared for 15 minutes. When it reappeared sailors were found embedded in the metal. A second experiment resulted in the ship being teleported 200 miles away.
Colloidal silver is supposedly imbued with anti-bacterial elements and effective as a treatment for flu and gonorrhea. This could all be bollocks of course.
Thanks to transplanted New Yorker Krista of Londonelicious for her help.



But you have to drink it everyday for 30 years to go this colour!

9 comments:

  1. You can only be moved by such real stories, and the menu chosen certainly reflects that. What more can I say?!

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  2. Sept 11th is a date that has so much resonance, even now it kind of chills my heart when I hear it. Because it's so potent (and political) I wondered whether you'd make any reference to what happened and it looks like you've done a great job at commemoration. I'm looking forward to it, not least because the are brownies on the menu - yay! See you next week.

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  3. I never really thought about the food side to 9/11 - it interesting to consider. What a massive project and example of people coming together to help and support those in need. I hope your meal goes well...I can't believe it has been 8 years now since the event... xxx

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  4. only 4 more sleeps to go! can't wait. looking forward to silver and gold and hearing those outrageous / not-so outrageous theories that abound around this date. looking forward to seeing you again too. C + M x

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  5. How wildly inappropriate. You could've at least left out that picture for christ sake!

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  6. hmm. as a new yorker, i find the idea of this dinner profoundly strange, if not disturbing. i know you mean no disrespect - in fact, i'm sure you mean the opposite - but still, this just feels wrong.

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  7. As someone actually going to tonight's homage to New York gusto, and having lived in the city for a year plus numerous visits I feel able to comment about this menu / night. What happened was truly shocking, but was it any more shocking than Vietnam, Afghanistan, Grenada, Iran, Kuwait, The Falklands, WW11, ,WW1 etc etc? From my point of view the night is about celebrating NYC home cooking and all the unsung guys that made clearing up the aftermath just an iota more bearable. The fact that there are dozens of consipiracy theories about the whys and wherefores (sic)of this atrocious act, and thousands about all sorts of other things from JFK to Princess Diana is possibly a way of 30 - 40 more or less total strangers, which is what we diners will be, to have a common thread to open conversations. Not all of us will want to bother, but for those of that do it gives us a starting point to talk about things less mundane than the weather and the price of property. Surely not a bad thing?

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  8. The picture, just like other pictures of victims, is symbolic of a terrible situation. It sums up the horror. The fact that the man fell from the restaurant Windows on the world made it, in my eyes, appropriate.
    However I have removed it.
    As for accusations of profiteering I can assure you, no profit is made from this meal. It's my usual low prices.
    I would have been open on this date anyway and I felt that to ignore what happened would have been in itself disrespectful to the memory of those people that perished.
    There is a huge conspiracy industry that has arisen around this date; some of it interesting, some of it ridiculous.
    I wanted to write about my cousin's role and also the conspiracy stuff, something that I am interested in anyway.

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  9. I'm surprised by some of the comments here. Given that her dinner diary is scheduled in advance, I think the fact MsMarmite acknowledged the tragedy was sensible. As I said in my previous comment, it's a date we will never forget so to ignore it would have been disrespectful. The themed menu was inspired and her post informative and, as a Londoner, it all seemed entirely appropriate without being overly sombre. The dinner was convivial and MsMarmite's macaroni cheese was the best I've ever had so I'll definitely go again.

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Please leave a comment, it means I am not shouting into the void!