Recently Read: Delancey

Delancey book coverThe few times that I was able to get a seat on the T last week or when I had enough arm room while standing, I was reading Delancey.

This book made me realize that pizza has been sadly lacking from my diet as of late. Not only have I not eaten any, I haven’t made any from scratch in a while. The book has me considering both.

Delancey is the title of the book and the name of a Seattle restaurant. It’s owned by Molly Wizenburg, the creator of one of the first food blogs out there and her husband Brandon Pettit, who is the one who had the idea for the restaurant and is the force behind it.

The book is a quick read and quite enjoyable, especially if you’ve followed her blog. Two parts of the book especially struck me. The first one is how Wizenburg writes about the tension in most restaurants between the front of the house versus the back of the house.

She also mentions how after observing how a good friend’s restaurant, Boat Street, handled the situation, they decided to do the same at Delancey. It’s such a simple yet genius idea and was great to read how they put it into practice. See an excerpt below.

This tendency is rooted, I think, in industry-wide discrepancies between what cooks earn and what servers earn. Cooks work longer hours than servers, but almost without exception, they make less money. …

So we bought only one printer for Delancey, and it sits next to the bar. It’s not an ideal setup; when a server has an order for the pantry station, she must carefully escort it past the wood-burning oven, risking an accidental jabbing from the long handle of Brandon’s peel as he retrieves a pizza. … Whether by luck or by design, the system works, and the cooks and servers not only talk to one another but actually seem to like one another.

The second part was about a meal that she had at River Cafe in London. Her description of it went from thinking that the food didn’t look too wonderful and what was all the hubub about the place. To her experiencing the flavors bursting in her mouth level by level and literally making her cry with happiness and joy. I couldn’t believe it. The food was so good that it made her cry!

I’ve had some really good meals in my life, but I don’t recall ever crying over one. I would like to experience that degree of culinary delight. Maybe one day. I hope to visit Delancey. I have cousins living in the Seattle area.

But for now,  I did savor this book. Especially while riding the train to work and home again. It’s a great read for your commute. Or as the weather gets warmer, I could see taking this to the beach while enjoying the summer sun.