Authors bite steak, frites at 11

The food: steak frites at Le Select

Canlit lions Nino Ricci and Alistair MacLeod

Canlit lions Nino Ricci and Alistair MacLeod at Le Select

The story:

For a recent Globe and Mail round-up review of serious food books, I read David Kessler’s The End of Overeating: Taking Control of the Insatiable North American Appetite.

Part One of the book, called “Sugar, Fat, Salt,” is devoted to analyses of why and how we respond to the hedonic, palatable foods that contain a combination of those subtances. I’m talking about chocolate mousse made with fleur de sel, for instance, or a BLT sandwich loaded with salty, fatty bacon and sweet tomato slices slathered with more sweet, fatty mayonnaise.

I get the appeal of salt, sugar, and fat wrapped up in one package – that’s why I lament the seasonal-only distribution of PC Dark Chocolate Covered Caramels with Sea Salts, a product which should be available all year round, in my opinion.

But my hedonic meals of choice have historically been those that feature a starchy food (like bread or potatoes) infused with salt and fat, no sugar added.

A kindred spirit salts the sweet butter spread on the delicious warm dinner rolls at Le Select.

Kindred food spirit and Humber School for Writers Artistic Director Antanas Sileika adds salt to the sweet butter spread on the delicious warm dinner rolls served at Le Select.

So when I attended a welcome dinner for author instructors of this year’s Humber School for Writers Summer Workshop in Creative Writing, at Le Select restaurant in Toronto last week, I salted the butter on my bread and I ordered steak frites for my entree.

Check the gilding of the lily: butter on top of the steak

Butter on top of steak: a gilded lily

The steak was tender and juicy, the frites salty and soft with crisped edges – I ate every one. Between bites, I talked about realism in fiction, among other topics, with some of my fellow instructors: writers Isabel Huggan, Rachel Kushner and Erika de Vasconcelos.

I enjoyed my food, but something was missing from my plate, some small additional element or condiment that would have made the whole experience more satisfying. What, though? Wait, I knew – a dab of mustard would have complemented the steak and potatoes perfectly. Sweet honey mustard.

I think Kessler might be onto something.

Le Sélect Bistro on Urbanspoon


3 thoughts on “Authors bite steak, frites at 11

  1. LM says:

    Re: PC Dark Chocolate Covered Caramels with Sea Salts,

    I found a dark chocolate with fleur de sel at the Shoppers at the Bloor/Yonge subway, 2 weeks ago. near the cash. LIndt’s Excellence Sea Salt Fleur de Sel, dark.

    very delicious

    • hungrynovelist says:

      Thanks for the tip. I bought some of these in another Shoppers store on sale (!) and found them to be even better with added large flake sea salt on top.

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