The FLX FAQs: Keith Mercovich
Keith cooks, lives and works in Ithaca, on the east slope above Cayuga lake. His current work includes preparing private meals and working for Cornell University.
Edible Finger Lakes: What is the most interesting thing you always keep in your fridge?
Keith Mercovich: That’s kind of a trick question for someone who loves to cook and works their fridge. The yogurt in my fridge is worth shining a light on. It’s always in stock and I make it every few weeks with milk from Scheffler Dairy. It was dessert at a dinner recently topped with fall raspberries kept in Bourbon and a bit of summer blueberry preserve.
EFL: What’s the last meal you cooked for yourself?
KM: Beans. A go-to dinner that is so easy to put love into. I soaked Scarlet Runner beans for 18 hours, let them stand 12 hours drained (to activate some enzymes), put them in a slow cooker with water, a garlic clove, an onion chunk, a piece of carrot and parsley and/or thyme stems. Cook slow all day or night, when done add salt and chill in braising liquid. I sometimes just eat them cold with a spoon, but heated with some tomato sauce, greens and goat cheese was the last dinner I made.
EFL: What’s the one kitchen tool you couldn’t live without?
KM: There’s no tool I can’t live without (though I do enjoy tools). Changing the rules just makes it more exciting for me. There’s something about simple that magnifies the desired effect.
EFL: What was the first Finger Lakes-made product you remember having?
KM: A barrel with some kind of apple wine at an orchard in Newfield. It was winter and the freezing cycle had concentrated it down to what I guess you’d call it apple jack. On a farm in winter, it was perfect to help the pruning happen.
EFL: If you could add one item to the Finger Lakes foodshed that isn’t already there, what would it be?
KM: The Garden of Live Flowers
EFL: What does it mean to you to be a part of the Finger Lakes foodshed?
KM: Being part of food where ever I live is big. Upstate New York is especially meaningful to me because I learned a lot here from amazing people before I spent time elsewhere. So for me there’s a slowness and a mixed people history that means everything to me. I hope that anywhere I live can be framed by the growth cycles like here. New York is a great place with lumbering hills that show some truth, in season.