Now, now, possums, settle down.
That headline is more or less a direct quote from a June 2007 Food & Wine article that seems poignant and prescient in retrospect. The article, which we came across by chance this morning, details a dinner party Padma and her soon-to-be-ex-husband, Salman Rushdie, gave in their New York apartment, which Padma herself described as "Paris 1920s opium den meets British Raj meets Turkish caravan."
Padma tells the interviewer that, "There’s a saying in tamil [sic] about good cooks: 'Her hand has a sweet aroma to it.'" The aromatic-handed Padma is seen cooking cumin for a rice pilaf:
Before serving a new recipe to guests, Padma often tests it on her husband, the Mumbai-bred author Salman Rushdie. Rarely unlatching his eyes from his bride of three years, he seems like a clever schoolboy who can’t believe he’s landed the prom queen. At the moment, however, Padma is less focused on her husband than her cumin, which has cooked for too long on the stove. She throws it out and begins preparing the pilaf again from scratch, insisting that "it won’t taste right" otherwise. Rushdie leans in closer, but she’s all business. "Honey, you can watch me," she teases, "but you have to stay out of my light." Rushdie clearly enjoys not only his wife’s cooking—he declares himself an ideal taster—but also her managerial forcefulness.
Oh dear, possums, where do we even begin to unpack this? Well, perhaps, for once, we'll let the material speak for itself, since it's all in there.
Relevant to last week's Bertolli challenge, we discover that "As a young woman, Padma was engaged at one time to an Italian man, whose mother introduced her to classic European cooking techniques and taught her to make the perfect creamy béchamel sauce." Hmmmm, curiouser and curiouser.
And hey, look who's a guest at the dinner party: none other than "chef Eric Ripert of Le Bernardin, who has appeared as a guest judge on Top Chef."
Funny, then, how Ripert's wife, Sonya, had this to say to Gawker:
"I knew the marriage was on the rocks," Sonya said. "We sat next to them during the Beard dinner. Padma was all like, 'What party are we going to hit up next?' and Salman said, 'We're not going to any parties. It's late!'"
Well, possums, as we've said before, with friends like these....