Within the first 3 minutes of our first meeting Bengt and I were in the throws of a deeper conversation than a first lunch meeting typically produces. The topic might have been hospital birth vs home birth but I honestly can’t remember. Every lunch with Bengt Anderson has seemed to drag us deep into discussion around topics ranging from “the effects of reality TV on public behavior” to “food theft” to “that aforementioned childbirth topic”. A born conversationalist, it’s no wonder he show runs and produces some of the best things you can watch. He’s a fountain of ideas which makes it particularly exciting to throw out creative nuggets and see what bounces back. We all have those people in our lives who we just click. Those who you can gab effortlessly with for hours. For me, Bengt is one of those peeps. On a recent meeting of deep chatter we took pause with some Italian food on the west side. Here’s more of what he had to say about home cooked pork chops, prayer and his beloved wife, Cecily.
What do you think when i say dinnertime?
Dinnertime reminds me of being a kid again. Simpler times with family. We played, mom cooked, we gathered. Peas n’ carrots, meats, some kind of brown gravy. Dinnertime was warm and loving and started with a prayer that my brother and I consistently twisted/blessed with a goofy post-amen, free-associated tagline that changed regularly and made us laugh.
What is your favorite meal memory?
When Cecily and I first moved in together she was trying to impress me by teaching herself how to cook and boy did she blow me away. For what seemed like many weeks I would come home to pork chops and stewed apple sauce, delicious herb roasted chickens and salads galore. Hers is a pie-loving family and she makes delicious pie. I am now a pie-lover. This time period was more than nourishment. It was food made for me with crazy amounts of love. She was working very hard to love me, to ensnare me in her “trap” and convince me we should be married someday. It worked.
If you could have your last meal with one person who would it be? Why?
Perhaps I take this thought too deeply to heart and too metaphorical, but I’m unsure I could eat a “last meal”…I enjoy food and eating, but if this were the end…no food most exquisite or peasant simple could draw my attention from drinking in the last joyous and sorrow-filled moments of life with my beloved wife and baby girl. They represent my family, my friends and the heart of my hunger.
What did we eat?
Bengt and I met on a rainy afternoon in deep Chelsea at Ovest Pizzoteca. In between beers we shared some not so lite bites. The table was quickly littered with four cheese arancini balls, a nice plate of baby octopus with plum tomatoes and a simple arugula and prosciutto salad.
Hungry for more? Check out the whole Forked With series.