I was tempted to make this week’s column into an ode to the salad, since I feel like I’ve ingested more culturally sanctioned fat and sugar in one weekend than I’ve eaten in months — and maybe you have too — but that’s un-seasonal silly talk.
Instead, I’m going to lift us out of the November-December tunnel of mixed-emotions holiday hoo-ha by focusing on something that’s always un-loaded, festive, and fun: brunch!
Yes, brunch — perhaps the queerest meal there is. Take otherwise staid “breakfast” and “lunch,” slap them together to make a whole new meal, give it a cute nickname, and add fruity, fizzy mimosas.
Who could forget Sasha Baron Cohen, as Bruno, cross-examining “gay converter” Pastor Quinn on whether brunch is a homosexual sin or not: "If you’re eating brunch with Christian friends, and there’s no one else around that’s gonna seduce you into sin, that’s OK,” Pastor Quinn avers sagely. (The rest of the clip is hilarious, too.)
photo by Gina Mamone
This is Tori Truscheit, of Brooklyn-based Kitchentop Catering. She was gracious enough to answer some of my questions, and has contributed a scone recipe.
She also offered to send a batch of her home-baked brownies to one lucky AfterEllen.com Good Taste reader. To enter the giveaway, leave a comment below with your favorite Good Taste moment, or a suggestion for an upcoming column idea. We’ll pick a name out of a hat and the winner will get a box of Tori’s brownies! Lucky.
Tori popped up on my radar when she catered comedian Kelli Dunham’s Bad Habit Brunch at the LGBT Community Center in NYC. Kelli is one of the founders and co-producers of Queer Memoir, a monthly storytelling series that also takes place in New York City, and she also tours with the Famous Lesbian Comedy Roadshow. The Bad Habit Brunch was a combination performance/party/brunch in celebration of her 15-year anniversary of leaving the convent.
The scones were a huge hit. “Well worth leaving the convent for,” said Kelli. And you have to love a caterer who has the following NSFW item on her menu: Red Velvet Vulva Cupcakes with Buttercream Frosting.
Tori recently answered a few of our questions.
AfterEllen.com: How did you get started in the catering business?
Tori Truscheit: I’ve been informally cooking for queers I know for a long time, and it’s just now starting to turn into a major project. I love baking for people, and if my badass radical friends are going to eat, I want them to eat real food made by a real person, from her heart. My goal is to provide homemade food that gets people excited about eating!
So many of us ignore what our bodies tell us, and we end up eating mindlessly. I grew up doing that, and I think it’s revolutionary to make thoughtful choices about food. That includes listening to my body’s cravings for lentils or for chocolate-whiskey cupcakes, whichever might arise.
AE: What was the most popular thing you served at the Bad Habit Brunch?
TT: The cranberry-orange scones went over really well. I make them a little less dense and a little more buttery than traditional English scones, and the Americans seem to like them that way! I served those with orange curd, which is like lemon curd but with orange.
AE: How does your identification as a femme relate to your feelings about cooking and baking?
TT: I’m a femme, and I like to bake, but I believe our gender identities shouldn’t define our personality traits or hobbies. I know butches and men who are baking fiends, just as I know femmes who love motorcycles. That said, historically, many women were forced into cooking, but I choose it, just like I choose femme, and I find that subversive. And I think 1950s-inspired aprons are really hot.
Tori Truscheit is available for events and baking for a crowd in the (tri-state) New York area. Her catering is vegetarian, and she can feed up to 75 people at one event. You can find her on Twitter @kitchentop.
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup sugar
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
5 tbsp cold butter (vegans: use Earth Balance)
3/4 cup milk (vegans: use rice, soy, or almond milk)
2 tbsp orange juice
1 tbsp orange zest
1 1/2 cups dried cranberries
Combine flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a bowl. Cut in butter, using two knives or a pastry cutter, until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. In a separate bowl, combine milk and orange juice, and stir into crumb mixture until just blended (dough will be soft). Fold in dried cranberries. Turn dough onto a floured surface; knead gently a few times. Shape into a ball. Pat dough into a circle and cut into eight wedges. Freeze scones, wrapped tightly in plastic wrap, for at least 1 hour and up to a week. Preheat oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit. Remove from freezer, separate wedges, and place 1 inch apart on a baking sheet. Sprinkle with additional sugar. Bake for 15 minutes or until lightly browned.