Cooking it right

July 8, 2010 at 1:58 pm 3 comments

By Lyle Estill

As a mere eater in our food shed I have to say that cooking is everything.

People sign up for CSA shares and don’t know where to start with a box of raw food.

Enter C’est Si Bon,  a cooking school in Chapel Hill that has been serving up cooking skills  for a long time now.  And they take on children.  They recently brought a crew by the plant to harvest food from the farm and cook it on site.

This summer I have one son at tennis camp, and another studying cooking.  Tonight we were served a four- course meal, and we were required to report on it by the class instructor.  Here is what we said:

Arlo’s Four-Course Dinner

I have to say I was skeptical. Arlo has long worked in the kitchen, but he often makes a greater mess than a fantastic meal.  When I arrived home from work he was chopping.  Furiously.  It was amazing. Garlic was flying everywhere.  The house smelled fantastic.

He asked me to leave, so I went down to the shop to let him work in peace.

When I returned to the kitchen for a beer, the place smelled entirely different, and amazing, and what astonished me was that he had cleaned up.  He refused to let me open the refrigerator, and fetched a beer for me instead.

By the time Tami came home I was spent, and ready to eat.  It was the hottest day of the year, and a difficult time to be exiled from the house.

Course one was garlic bread.  He had used a sourdough loaf from Weaver St. as a base, and I have to say it was both crispy and soft with the perfect amount of garlic.  I scored it as a 10/10.  It was too much garlic for Zafer, who gave it a 7/10 because it made his eyes water.

Course two was a cold potato soup.  I don’t like cold soup.  But it was remarkably refreshing.  Also high in garlic.  When I reflected on how the two courses were rather “garlic on garlic,” Arlo’s heart dropped.  He had deep-fried bananas in local canola oil with which we could cleanse our palettes. He fetched them from the fridge and the meal continued.

Course three was steak wrapped in cheese wrapped in salami.  It was exquisite.  In the middle of his preparation Arlo came down to the shop to ask about the availability of skewers.  We had none.  I suggested that he cut stalks of rosemary and use them instead, and he did that.  We had a rosemary infused meat and cheese course that left us all stunned and amazed.

Our fourth course awaits us. It appears to be crème brulee.  He caramelized the sugar on top with his new fancy torch, and set things back into the fridge to gel.

The kitchen was clean, the presentation was amazing, and I am more than a little bit taken aback by what Arlo delivered in the form of tonight’s meal.

Thank you C’est Si Bon.

Entry filed under: Commentary, Learning, Lyle Estill, Recipes, Sustainable Food. Tags: , .

Learn how Slow Money supports local food Putting summer in a jar

3 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Permaculture Media Blog  |  July 13, 2010 at 12:39 pm


    I like your blog!
    Please take some inspiration here:

    Documentaries, videos, ebooks, and news related to permaculture, indigenous people, animal rights, (alter)globalization, activism, ecology and health.

  • 2. Carol Peppe Hewitt  |  July 13, 2010 at 11:05 pm

    Bravo, Arlo
    In his defense, we have a saying from the old country that I quite agree with…quite simple.
    “There is no such thing as too much garlic.”

    I look forward to hearing more about this talented chef’s progress!

  • 3. A great year for pecans « sustainable grub  |  November 11, 2010 at 9:29 pm

    […] Arlo’s Fabulous Pecan Pie […]


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