Readers Write

The Right Pig

March 7, 2007

Dear Editor,

Since you invite corrections:  It is possible, but unlikely, that the restaurant name Porchetta would be properly glossed as “small pig.” Porchetta is most usually understood (and especially in a culinary context) as a dish of oven- or spit-roasted pig (not necessarily small or suckling) stuffed with various innards and herbs, a specialty mostly of Roman environs and mountain Abruzzo. Your translation is literal but misleading (or at least incomplete), much as if an Italian journalist explained “surf ‘n turf” simply as “ocean waves and grassland.” Other than that, let me wish you well in your publishing endeavors.

Distinti saluti,
Howard Isaacs
Park Slope

Egg Cream 911:  A Transcript of a Phone Call From Our Future Queens Bureau

June 18, 2006

Dear Editor:

I loved your story about the seltzer guys. But Lou Reed’s Egg Cream recipe which you ran is all wrong. Here’s how we do it in Queens.

Put half an inch of chocolate syrup in the bottom of a tall glass, then half an inch of milk on top. The milk needs to be ice cold, almost slushy–this will make a foam head almost like a meringue. I throw the milk in the freezer for 10 minutes first.

Next you need a long spoon. Shoot the seltzer into the glass across the back of a spoon. When the glass is almost full, drop the spoon to the bottom and move it up and down. Don’t stir–a circular motion will ruin the head by getting it too chocolatey. The up and down movement keeps the layers distinct, and the foam on top will be like the head on a beer. As you drink it, you get a little head, a little chocolate–now that’s an egg cream.

When I was a kid my dad would always take us to lunch-counter places and it was a treat to watch them build the egg cream. Diners today get it wrong. Usually the problem is that they stir it up. It’s not chocolate milk.

Dennis Hughes