The One Thing That Even Houdini Couldn’t Escape
Cooking class reveals arcane secrets of chicken paprikash and more
By Wayne Alan Brenner,
11:42AM, Thu. Oct. 13, 2016
The one thing that Harry Houdini could never escape was his appetite.
Figures, right? A man like that, keeping himself in the sort of physical condition required for a life of derring-do and vigorous muscular contortion, constantly working out and, like, toning every part of his talented corpus in the days before “gym rat” was even a term?
Man’s gonna build up quite a hunger that way.
And a man who loved his mother as Houdini did – not in any Oedipal sense, no, but deeply and enduringly nonetheless – was almost perforce enamored of the food that she, a Jewish woman from Budapest, cooked for him and his six siblings and rabbi father.
Custard bread pudding.
Now you can learn how to make these dishes – and sample them yourself – in a Houdini-inspired cooking class presented by Central Market and the Harry Ransom Center this Sunday.
[Note: Central Market, because their ongoing classes are wonderful things; Harry Ransom Center, because they’re the repository of the Houdini archive; and Houdini, because this October 31 marks the 90th anniversary of the famous magician’s death. And because The Hidden Room is temporarily bringing the former Ehrich Weisz – and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle – back to life.]
To quote from the press release which appeared so mysteriously in our inbox last week: “The menu, designed by Chef Louis Ortiz, draws inspiration from Houdini's Hungarian heritage. It features some of the performer's favorite dishes, including chicken paprikash with fennel potatoes; Hungarian goulash with spatzel; and custard bread pudding with cherry sauce. Each course will be paired with wines of the region.”
[Note: Chef Ortiz will be introduced by the HRC’s Eric Colleary, the Cline Curator of Theater and Performing Arts for that venerable institution, and this Colleary specializes in re-creations of historical cuisine. Also, the Ransom Center’s got an array of Houdini materials on display in their lobby through November 6, so you can view them before or after this Central Market cooking event.]
Go ahead, citizen: Unshackle yourself from the chains of the usual culinary experience and get your tickets now.