Underscoring how much this type of thinking is part of his everyday planning, he told me, when I first brought up zombie apocalypse prepping with him in early October, of a need to jam a large portion of the shishito peppers he got at the market that day.
“There’s no way I’ll go through them all during service in the next couple days,” he said.
As with fruit jams, salt and sugar are used to preserve pretty much any vegetable, with vinegar being added.
The fruit or vegetable jams, as well as any pickled vegetables frequently accompany cheese plates, charcuterie, and secondary cuts, like sweet breads or bone marrow, at Time.
“It’s kind of a tradition. If you think about French food, a lot of times when you see charcuterie or offal cuts, it’s generally prepared with another kind of preserving thing. That’s just been instilled with me from fucking forever man. That’s just what you do. It’s like a rule,” Magee says.
During its very brief season that occupied much of October, he was buying as much paw paw fruit as he could and jarring it, with the aim of having a lot of it on hand for the “December-ish” opening of Heritage in Northern Liberties.
“It’s pretty much Pennsylvania’s version of a tropical fruit. Kind of tastes like a banana, papaya, mangoey thing. It’s a really cool thing to forage,” he says.
At Time, he serves paw paw bread along with a foie gras au torchon.
Of course, during the end times, any long-term canning would have to be done early on while you were still able to crank water up to boil and sterilize jars and product, as well as properly seal lids.
While canning has taken off with so many other things in an ever more food obsessed world, Rinaldi ties the practice to an inherent survival skill for many people.
“I could never figure out why my grandmother had so much in dry storage: olive oil, pasta, canned tomatoes. She had a basement full of stuff. She would get to a certain point and we would laugh at her,” she says.
“I need olive oil, It’s on sale here, so go buy a case of it. We’d go buy a case of it and put it away in the basement next to liters of it that was already there. That’s just the mentality of an older person of a different generation just in case something happened. She’s from the old country. If I take you across the street to my neighbors house, she’s got a lot of fruit jarred, a lot of pickled stuff, jarred tomatoes. It’s a survival tactic, an adaption to poverty. You stock up while you can because later you may not have the money. So then you go to your dry storage. She buys tomatoes in the summertime when they’re dirt cheap and she cooks them and jars them. So she has good tomato sauce all winter long. But that’s how more old school Europeans are,” she says.
Canning is all about preserving the season, and that’s what Rinaldi does with the shrubs, such as peach and cucumber, that she frequently makes for cocktails at Paradiso.
At least with a rooftop garden, Baver and Rinaldi would be able to enjoy the fresh stuff as a nightmare version of reality danced on in the background.
As of mid-October, Rinaldi stated that she still had plum and sunburst tomatoes and jalopenos growing as well as salsify, cardoons, carrots, and a full herb garden.
They also have an apiary that produces a lot of honey.
“The honey would be good for cuts. It’s an antibacterial that works better than Neosporin,” Rinaldi adds (it would also be an ideal spot to put any chickens they could find from the poultry market on 9th St., she says).
Should the dead wait to rise and devour the flesh of the living until after Heritage opens, Magee will be similarly prepared.
“We’ll have a rooftop and courtyard gardens. And some living walls outside where we’ll grow some succulent herbs and shit like that. The courtyard is gonna have a lot of root vegetables. We’re gonna focus on heirlooms varietals of all different types of vegetables,” he says.
“There will be a lot of preserving. A lot curing going on in meats and vegetables. Definitely focusing on all those different preservation techniques that I personally love,” he adds.
Fermented vegetables are another favorite that Magee will transfer over to Heritage, with kimchi and fermented sweet potatoes featuring on recent tasting menus at Time.
“I have red peppers fermenting right now. A bunch of hot peppers that I got from Weavers way last week. I did a white kimchi: cabbage, jalopeno, cucumber. We ferment onions all the time. You name a vegetable, we’ve fermented it,” he says.
Magee says it’s easy to find temps at Time that allow him to harken back to a tradition carried over from peasant root cellars.
“We ferment all the time and I’ll just find an area of the basement or kitchen that is going to be 70 degrees,” he says.