At the age of thirty-seven, Rossini, he of the opera buffo Barber of Seville,

retired to the kitchen, cannelloni alla Rossini being

his most famous culinary work. Perhaps he thought he could be

a composer, a conductor, a chef—all in one, for once.


I understand. The kitchen is my concert hall where I am all,

at once a composer—

brussels sprouts, roasted, I pair with tilapia. Their strong green taste, sweet

crunchiness form an allegro counterpoint to the soft white adagio

of the fish, accompanied by staccato hash browns, a cadenza of crème brulee—

and, since timing is crucial, conductor & orchestra rolled into one.


I peel, wash & grate potatoes. While they soak in cold water, I rinse & halve

 the Brussels sprouts, preheat the oven for ten minutes & drain the potatoes.

I dry the sprouts, toss with olive oil & kosher salt, arrange cut side down,

on a lightly-oiled cookie sheet, pop in the oven, set the timer,

rinse the fish, dry the fish, roll the fish in crumbs.


Interlude: I wash my hands, pour a glass of Chianti


& heat a cast iron skillet, add oil, take a sip of wine, roll it around my mouth, swallow,

add dry-by-now potatoes to skillet, heat a second skillet, add oil . . .

take a sip of wine, then,

andante andante, place fish in the skillet. Mark time with another wine interlude.


Accelerando! turn tilapia, flip hash browns, vigorously salt & pepper,

open oven door, stir sprouts. Mark time by setting the table, pouring wine,

then serve my concerto