Charles Hecht
FOOD
Coffee Granita

This basically costs nothing, because you can make it with leftover breakfast coffee, but it provides a touch of glamour at the end of a meal and a bit of the late night-with-Toulouse-Lautrec at the Moulin Rouge feeling too. As a matter of fact, unless you have a high tolerance for caffeine you will be up all night after eating this and you’ll have to find something to do with yourself. No matter. Most Starving Artists do great work at night, since they don’t have to be at their pesky day jobs during the P.M. hours, or answering calls from the ruthlessly persistent daytime telemarketers. The night is a good time to concentrate. If you aren’t feeling productive you can also party till dawn like the Spaniards do and imagine yourself eating tapas in the shadow of Gaudi’s magnificent Sagrada Familia. On the other hand, Nietzsche described coffee as a spreader of darkness and took an extremely negative stand on the subject of coffee consumption, so that’s something else to think about when you’re lying awake after too much post-meal caffeine.

Of course, Granita is an Italian food, and strangely I’m rapping about everybody under the sun except the Italians. Especially when I should be explaining how to make sinfully delicious Coffee Granita. Here goes:
4 cups of coffee
1/2 cup sugar
ice cube trays or baking pan

Make or rescue the remainder of a pot of strong, dark roast coffee or espresso and add the 1/2 a cup of sugar or just enough until it tastes sweet enough to be a dessert. Let the coffee cool slightly and pour into ice cube trays and put in the freezer. If you don’t have enough ice cube trays you can pour it into a baking pan and follow the more traditional method, which is to give it a stir with a fork every 15-20 minutes. Eventually it will freeze, but the stirring will prevent it from becoming rock hard and impossible to serve. The Starving Artist method is to leave the cubes to freeze solid while you’re busily creating other masterpieces. When you are ready for dessert, put the ice cubes into a sturdy plastic bag and pound them with a hammer or other blunt object (or pulse in a sturdy blender) until they are sufficiently broken up to enjoy.

Dish out a few scoops in a glass or bowl with Sambuca or other liqueur and a dollop of whipped cream or vanilla ice cream.

The buzz you get from this could definitely be the thing that kick starts your next great oeuvre.


Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec: French Post-Impressionist painter (1864-1901) who happened also to be a dwarf, a fact which may or may not be relevant artistically, but like most things, probably was. He lived a life of debauchery in Paris, eventually dying of drink. His lithographed posters of girls in frothy can-can skirts remain particularly recognizable.



Antoni Gaudi: Spanish Art Nouveau architect (1852-1926) whose rounded, malleable-looking buildings are located mostly in the environs of Barcelona and include the Sagrada Familia and the Casa Mila apartments.



Friedrich Nietzsche: German Existentialist philosopher (1844-1900) who is famously quoted as saying that "God is dead." He ranted and raved and opposed all kinds of stuff including the moral abstraction of Christianity and…drinking coffee, stating unequivocally in Ecce Homo that coffee "spreads darkness."

© 2004-2007 Nava Lubelski, All Rights Reserved.