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Act I, Sc. i.
The Upper House of the Extraordinary Assembly of the Munificent Senate of O’rb. A patrician array of Senators gaze down from an amphitheater upon a single figure, isolated on the forum floor.
MAKYU G’NARTH: Fellow O’rbians. What you see before you is Earth; a minor planetoid in the Glabber Nebula of Galaxy N3541, dominated by a primitive life-form known as humans. These are carbon-based polyforms, increasingly fleshy in texture, adhering to a docile herd mentality. They have foresworn binary fission in favor of rudimentary reproduction praxis whereby a small protofrobulus in the median fuselage of one organism is rendered momentarily turgid before being inserted into the pre-moistened flabbulus of another. Gestation is approximately 43 quidlips. Offspring require an entire lifespan to reach maturity and usually fail.
PRABRA V’NUIK: Fascinating work, Comrade G’Narth. Are these creatures self-sustaining?
MAKYU G’NARTH: They process the atmosphere with filters in the upper fuselage. This is supplemented by inhaling the fumes of dried foliage rolled into tubes, ignited and consumed through a vacuole in the anterior facia-orb, foreshortening lifespan but looking cool.
VOP’R BLAHNIK: So the vacuole is used for both respiration and digestion?
MAKYU G’NARTH: Also communication and fornication.
VOP’R BLAHNIK: By the Sands of Garblon, this is truly a busy vacuole.
MAKYU G’NARTH: The orifice is irrigated, studded with small bones and contains a lurid fleshy protuberance not unlike an undersea nodule of Gloon.
(The entire Senate groans in disgust)
PRABRA V’NUIK: And the reproductive vacuole? Is it similarly embroidered?
MAKYU G’NARTH: Whilst irrigated, the flabbulus is not ordinarily festooned with bones.
PRABRA V’NUIK: Thank Jorplips for that!
MAKYU G’NARTH: Indeed.
ANCH’L BRABNOB: And are these organisms sustained by means other than respiration?
MAKYU G’NARTH: Yes. They propagate and consume the dead bodies of genetically inferior species around them.
ANCH’L BRABNOB: Consume?
MAKYU G’NARTH: Stuff them in the food vacuole, my Lord, whereby they are masticated into nutritional slurry.
ANCH’L BRABNOB: (appalled) Hence the small bones and irrigated nodule of Gloon …
(general murmurs of astonishment and disbelief)
VOP’R BLAHNIK: So let us be clear on this, Comrade G’Narth. These organisms systematically induce less evolved life-forms to reproduce for the sole purpose of placing them into suppurating bodily orifices and grinding them into nutritive matter?
MAKYU G’NARTH: Correct.
ANCH’L BRABNOB: And the propagation facilities? What kind of things are these?
MAKYU G’NARTH: They call them ‘Farms’.
ANCH’L BRABNOB: ‘Farms’? The same word we use to describe our excretory proboscis?
MAKYU G’NARTH: The very same, My Lord. Inferior organisms are often combined and alchemized with heat, before being ritually consumed upon a sacrificial platform known as the Table.
ANCH’L BRABNOB: So … ‘Farm … (disgustedly) to Table’?
MAKYU G’NARTH: Exactly. We have recently discovered what appears to be a religious doctrine etched upon hammered vegetative matter which elucidates the prime geographical locations in which these ritual acts of sacrifice are undertaken.
PRABRA V’NUIK: And what is the name of this odious screed, Comrade G’Narth?
MAKYU G’NARTH: ‘Where in the World to Eat’ by Condé Nast Traveler. ‘207 of the Greatest Restaurants in the World According to Those Who Eat, Cook and Travel for a Living’.
VOP’R BLAHNIK: Snappy title.
ANCH’L BRABNOB: Is it written in a language we understand?
MAKYU G’NARTH: Largely humanoid words of one syllable, my Lord, repetitive and replete with banal illustrations. It is easily assimilated.
PRABRA V’NUIK: Comrade G’Narth, can you provide us with examples culled from this scroll of horrors?
Makyu G’Narth places a metal briefcase on the stand in front of him. He disengages a secure clasping device and opens the lid. A hiss of stale air emanates from inside. The audience is rapt. He removes a small, loosely bound stack of papers, sifts studiously through a few pages, then clears his metal throat.
MAKYU G’NARTH: ‘Noma. Copenhagen, Kingdom of Denmark. Hand-throttled trouser eel, still wriggling, served raw with a rosette of arctic fart radish and a pickled hemorrhoid’.
(a collective gasp of astonishment from the assembly)
PRABRA V’NUIK: (defeated) One more please, Comrade G’Narth. We must know what we are dealing with here.
MAKYU G’NARTH: (turns a few more pages) Table on Ten, Bloomville, New York. The best artisanal pizza I’ve ever had, and herby salads so fresh you can hear them growing. Yes, the owner Inez Valk was a model, and everyone is beautiful and funny and there are movie nights downstairs and guitar playing all summer long and, and …’
ANCH’L BRABNOB: … and what?
MAKYU G’NARTH: Difficult to say, Anch’l Brabnob. The speaker may have been butchered and eaten before she finished her sentence.
VOP’R BLAHNIK: What in the Greasy Gonads of Krumpior is … Pizza?
MAKYU G’NARTH: A bland disc of flattened carbohydrate upon which chopped viscera are placed before being incinerated in a fire of trees. It is consumed with the pressed and fermented body fluids of other organisms.
ANCH’L BRABNOB: And ‘artisanal’?
MAKYU G’NARTH: We are unsure. Our scholars suspect it involves humans expressing themselves creatively with excrement.
VOP’R BLAHNIK: The description of screaming salads will haunt my dreams.
MAKYU G’NARTH: Priests and priestesses are known to mark their own skins with regrettable hieroglyphs and to promote the establishment of fungus around each others’ food vacuoles.
PRABRA V’NUIK: It is beyond comprehension. How can a culture become so debased? To have fetishized the merely functional act of nutrition to the point of pornography? What profound emptiness haunts their souls?
VOP’R BLAHNIK: They are beyond redemption and must be annihilated.
MAKYU G’NARTH: This should not be difficult, Vop’r Blahnik. Whilst savage in their appetites, years of decadence and cultural malaise have left them flabby and effete. Many even claim to be congenitally allergic to the tissues of the organisms they slaughter. Weak and infantile, addicted to vapid simplicity and two-dimensional prettiness, they will succumb without a struggle.
PRABRA V’NUIK: Arm the warheads. We must show no mercy.
On one of those those mornings when you got up at 5.30, set a fire in the grate, sat at the table and did two hours of planning and ordering, drove to Delhi, pushed a cart round the Chopper, shouldered 100 lbs of chicken feed, lingered by the slow pump at the Sunoco watching those Aadvantage points whittle crumbs off your life … all before an 8.30 start in Bloomville … it’s rewarding to open your computer and find somebody else’s take on what you’re doing. Thanks to Daniela at Bearleader Chronicle for this beautiful piece, the entirety of which can be found here.
October 25, 2015. Posted in Inspirers, Press. Tags: Bearleader, Brushland Eating House, Daniela Stallinger, Emily Elsen, Four & Twenty Blackbirds, Inez Valk, Lucky Dog Farm, Melissa Elsen, Phoenicia Diner.
“On a familiar route between my cabin and friends’ houses, the property always stuck out—towering on the corner, yet nothing appeared to be going on so it was somewhat of an enigma,” says says Inez Valk of what would become Table on Ten. “I made some inquiries, and it turned out the property was for sale, at which point an enigma became a mission,” The Catskills-dweller — by way of Brooklyn, by way of Holland — reminisces on the once crumbling property situated on Route 10 in the tiny town of Bloomville, New York — a place she transformed into a thriving restaurant and inn.
On the weekends, Table on Ten is filled with guests and restaurant patrons from the city, who not unlike Valk, seek out this secluded area of Delaware County. “There’s a complexity to life up here that belies the cliche of puttering along dirt roads, cultivating vegetables and chickens. Quietness and isolation mean there’s a lot of yourself to deal with. There’s no hiding, no retreating into the perpetual adolescence that the city offers,” says Valk. Her rustic inn, meticulously designed using raw materials and clean lines, furnished with handmade beds, a refurbished freestanding tub in the attic, and a reading nook complete with a collection of records to get lost in. At 60 miles west of the Hudson, those seeking peace and the low-key buzz of a local community going on about its day, find their place, and Inez is the gracious host that makes all feel right at home.
We at The Window had a firsthand account of this hospitality when we set out north to capture Inez in her element. The Pas De Calais collection was a clear choice for wardrobe. The luxuriousness of truly functional, comfortable clothes and sumptuous natural textiles reflect the harmony of running a modern grassroots business amongst the striking, pastoral setting. Unlike most shoots, our crew was treated to homemade meat pies (guinea hens from a neighboring farm), local wine, and cheeses on arrival. Not ones to refuse a hearty delicious meal, we chalked it up to research, and settled in to Table on Ten to experience Inez’s world.
“Delaware County is in a unique orbital when it comes to New York City. We’re not Hudson; we’re not Woodstock; we’re not the State Park. It was settled for tenant agriculture, and its roots are still in homesteading and farming; solitude, hard work, deep country, quiet,” Inez explains of the region’s lure. “Tourism is gentle and subtle. There’s no long list of glittering attractions, big festivals, mega antique roadshows… But an amazing collection of people have settled here, on the outer ring of New York’s gravitational pull. It’s unique. And it offers an opportunity for visitors to slip into the rhythms and cadences of the people who live here. It’s very personal.” The mentality of becoming one with not only the land but the small, hardworking community is part of what makes the Table on Ten restaurant a success. As part of the community, Inez caters to her fellow locals as much as she does her out of town visitors.
The love for turning out a delectable, shareable meal is illustrated in the success of Table on Ten’s pizza nights. Pizza—a modular, made-from-scratch, and quite simply, fun food has been a hit at the restaurant. After experiencing homemade pizzas from a wood-fire oven her friends built, Inez recognized the meal as the perfect melding of opportunity and need. “We’ve been doing pizza night for three years now and really it worked well right from the start. Strangely, for something so seemingly basic, there’s a lot of nuance and tweaking involved and it’s replete with possibility. Like a well-crafted haiku.” And her favorite pie on the menu? “I’d have to say the weekly special. Simply because it’s an opportunity to craft something emblematic of what’s here and now. In that sense, it’s the summation of the week on a sourdough circle,” says Inez, spoken like a diplomat to the land’s bounty but more importantly, to the guest at the table, the right answer when expecting a piping hot meal made with fresh, thoughtful ingredients.
While The Window team did not get to experience pizza night (we will be back to enjoy it this fall), we were treated to a skillet of eggs and fresh bread at our shoot call-time of dawn. The sound of roosters roused us first, then the scent of the above dish. Please note again, this is an anomaly on photo shoots, but one we could certainly get used to.
We like it here. It feels like home for our crew, if home equals wide open spaces, smells of fresh baked bread, and the comfort of a seasoned businesswoman in her fourth year of hospitality, functioning with ease and elegance. But for Valk, Table on Ten is not a place to get lost in time, but an open door for possibility. “Just when you think you know what’s around the corner, something barrels through the door and you’re off on a new tangent. There’s solid structure which appeals to my fundamental pragmatism richly veined with the unpredictable. It keeps me awake and learning.”
“I’m moving closer to a balance of life, work, and place that feels strong and energized, whereby they complement each other rather than gnawing at the edges,” contemplates the woman who describes her role as business owner, innkeeper, chef, and community nourisher as “always here.” It can be hard to not get consumed by what you do, especially without the distractions of urban life but Inez seems to be learning and growing with her business, surrounded by supportive friends and happy patrons who cheer her on.
The end of our day with Inez brings us to a pressing question ever since we noted the impressive record collection situated in the attic suite. Which ones would she choose for an hour of solitude? “Maybe something redolent of the area, romantic but hardscrabble. John Prine’s Bruised Orange, Townes Van Zandt’s Live at the Old Quarter. Or maybe the Chopin Nocturnes if you fancy something less site-specific.” A solid lineup to interrupt everyday life for a bit of meaningful calm.
October 3, 2015. Posted in Events, Inspirers, Press, Producers, Recipes. Tags: Bovina Valley Farm, Carver Farrell, Cheryl Lins, Dan Finn, Dancing Street Cabin, Dancing Street Summit, Delaware Phoenix Distillery, Evershed Mattingly, Inez Valk, John Huba, John Poiarkoff, Julian Richards, Lynne Palazzi, Marguerite Uhlmann-Bower, Maxine Davidowitz, Modern Farmer, Monica Willis, Ollie the Dog, Rabbit Pie, Star Route Farm, Steve Burnett, Susan Riesen, The PINES, Tianna Kennedy, Walter Riesen, Willow.
October 1, 2015. Posted in Events, Inspirers, Press, Producers, Recipes. Tags: Bovina Valley Farm, Burnett Farms, Carver Farrell, Cheryl Lins, Dan Finn, Dancing Street Cabin, Dancing Street Summit, Delaware Phoenix Distillery, Evershed Mattingly, Inez Valk, John Huba, John Poiarkoff, Julian Richards, Lila Garnett, Lynne Palazzi, Marguerite Uhlmann-Bower, Maxine Davidowitz, Modern Farmer, Monica Willis, Ollie the Dog, Rabbit Pie, Star Route Farm, Steve Burnett, Susan Riesen, The PINES, Tianna Kennedy, Walter Riesen, Willow.