Eat Your Heart Out
Most of us have experienced heartbreak. We recognize the pain and tightness in our chests, the consciousness of abandonment, the clichéd feelings and thoughts that seem to control our moods while simultaneously mocking us. And we all handle the fallout differently.
I, for one, eat excessively to distract from the grief. When my best friend, the person I felt safe and at home with, the person who held my heart in their hands, broke up with me in a text message, I figured there would be no stopping my appetite; I would drown my sorrows with food. I was surprised to find, however, that this breakup hurt so badly that I had no appetite. Food, the one thing I relied on to comfort me, wasn’t working.
I sought out the professionals, asking a few local chefs to make a dish to help cure my broken heart. Each chef approached the challenge differently, bringing their own experiences with heartache to the meals they created.
“Broken hearts feel like hell. Knotted stomachs either have a hard time eating or want to eat crap that makes you feel worse. Best to have someone who loves you (like me!) cook you something so that you don’t have to. Something with balance. Bourbon, because bourbon. Cheerwine has bubbles and creates cheer. Meat that falls apart like you feel like you are, when really it’s one of the best things in the world. Eating flesh to replace some of yours. More gifts from our big giant Earth, delicious sticks of asparagus. Because who gives a crap if you have asparagus pee now? And you’re healthy, dammit. But still, the most comfort food of all: mac and cheese, mashed potatoes, Doritos.”--Chef Eryn Stutts
Braised short ribs in a bourbon–Cheerwine reduction sauce, asparagus, mashed potato, mac and cheese casserole, topped with crushed Doritos
Sissy’s Café Kingston
Chef Denee Fancese-Smith
Everything roll: sausage, bacon, egg, cheese, avocado, tomato, sprouts and spicy mayo.
“At first I thought spaghetti and meatballs, mac and cheese—heavy and comforting to mend a broken heart. But then I was, like, no, f--- that. This is your fresh start, a new beginning and a time to heal. Heal through food. And remember: Iggy Pop will fix everything.”-- Chef Rich Reeve
(from left to right) Strawberry gazpacho with blended jalapeños, yogurt, radish and mint. Artisanal blood sausage China Town dumplings in a mushroom soy broth, sweet chili sauce with a mint, radish and pea shoot garnish. Foie gras ice cream, profiteroles with salted caramel coffee sauce.
“Tell me: When you were a kid, what did your parents make for you when you were sick or upset? When you think of your childhood, what foods comforted you the most? When we’ve been hurt and are sad, things that feed our heart and that have fed our soul in the past are the most important.”--Chef Josh Kroner
“Rasta Pasta”: bowtie pasta, spinach, guanciale and sausage.
The Beverly Kingston
“I made the piecrust with love: basil, sage, thyme, oregano—healing herbs, kneaded with love.”--Chef Caitlin Salisbury
(from left to right, clockwise) Beet pie with herb-infused crust, honey, goat cheese and arugula in an apple cider vinaigrette. Shrimp and grits with smoked paprika, oil and buttered, boozy kale. Chocolate mousse cake.
Tavern 23, Poughkeepsie
“We wanted to make you something pretty and with lots of color. There’s a rainbow at the end of this—you’ll be able to see the colors again.”--Chef Guy Alexander
Ahi tuna on mixed salad greens, with carrots, shaved cucumbers, avocado and corn salsa.
Kingston Candy Bar, Kingston
“I was trying to think what I would want if my heart were broken. And it would be chocolate: dark chocolate for dark times. With a little bit of sparkle for magic.”--Chef Diane Reeder
Cookie crumb crust with crushed candied hazelnuts, filled with Nutella truffle, topped with dark chocolate, cookie crumbs and edible glitter.
Diego’s Taqueria, Kingston
“This taco is about how things that you love can really hurt you. When we decided to open Diego’s, a pivotal menu item I needed to have was a smoky beet taco. I love beets and it’s different from any other taco but it became my White Whale. One beet taco creation after another just wasn’t hitting the flavor profile I was aiming for. In my mind, everything was riding on the outcome of this taco, it was make or break—a lot like the feelings you have for someone whom you really love; they mean everything and they can make or break everything. This story, however, has a happy ending: I brined the damn beets, threw spices into the pan and made the beet taco that I had wanted.”--Chef Elena Cruz
Smoky Beet Taco: brined and grilled beet, pickled onions, arugula, cilantro crema