IN THE KITCHEN WITH

APRIL GORNIK AND ERIC FISCHL
Two painters thrive on eggs, homemade bread and ambitious dinner parties.
BY BRIAN HALWEIL • PHOTOGRAPHS BY LINDSAY MORltlS

NORTH

HAVEN-The

horne of artists April GomLk and Eric by

lightly before noon to leave room for yoga and swimming, He sips cappuccino and munches granola. She tends the garden, stocks the pantry and books their CSA memberships, He makes bread-ua genius talent," Gornik says. Their home, designed by Fischl and built with the collaboration of architect Lee Skolnick, is adorned with a collection of sculpture, painrings and books that you'd expect from a New York art world power duo who both count works at the Met, Whi[~ ney and MaMA. From the main living room-a space with a library [hat floats overhead-the soaring bam like home Bows down

Fischl is perched above freshwater wetlands and surrounded

gnarled wild cherr-y trees that stretch-to the sky. The path from the driveway, where a Chevy Volt is fed through a bright-orange cord near a bank of solar panels, leads past matching his-and-hers glass studios with wraparound porches; up concrete stairways bisected by collecring pools rhar ferry rainwater away from the house; and finally, through a native-planes garden dotted with Japanese maples ablaze in autumn glory. The robust Lacinato kale patch outside the from door is a sign of the couple's deep-rooted interest in matters related
to

eating, In

into a cozy dining room and kitchen, joined by a floor-to-ceiling concrete and stucco parrition, with heart pine cupboards and trim, that holds plates, cups and cookbooks. And although Gornik and Fischl are rwo very different eaters, they share the conviction that what we put in our mouths can be both model and muse. "Ir seems like every couple of months, I'm wildly interested in cooklng and I'll need to make upa new recipe," says Gornik. "I don't really associate it with either a creative or fallow time in my studio. But I do think that cooking and making art and gardening are all parallel acrivities for me."

1975, when the rwo painters met at the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design, Fisch! wooed Gornik with muIligatawny soup, a sa1ade

composee and what Gornik recalls as "this insanely delicious creamy
dam chowder." (Born in New York Ci£), and raised in suburban Long Island, Fischl knew the chowder as part of his kitchen vernacular. He thinks the mulligatawny soup came from the ALice's Res-

taurant Cookbook; the salad

was "a half-assed attempt ar dieting,")

Gornik admits she was no gouImand-"my

main food was a few circuit chat

Kraft Macaroni & Cheese and Ragu spaghetrj sauce"-but years later, inspired by a fancy French dinner-party

some a IT school friends started, she got a copy of Mastering .the Art

of French Cooking,. and, on an electric skillet and hot plate in the
illegal office building where she and Fischl were squatting, turned OUt sole de bonne ftmme and a gdteau de crepes with a frangipane filling, Did those early edible insrallarlons from April help seal [he deal with Eric? "Ir certainly went a long way," he says, wrapping an arm around his wife's shoulders. Dinner parties remain a big part of the routine, They regularly host holiday feasts, dishing up communal delicacies like Brazilian fish soup to a couple dozen guests. Other edible endeavors include Gornik pushing farmers market schedules and food pantry donations in the Save Sag Harbore-newslerrer, and Fischl re-creating hisroric Midwestern meals as parr of America: Now and Here, his ambitious 18-wheeler mounted, moveable exhibir that raises questions about democracy, parriotism and trust in a posr-Sl.l America. Both artists have produced labels for Bedell Cellars' Artist Series-a Fischl nude kicked off the series on a 2001 magnum of merlot, while a Gornik oceanscape graced the 2007 blanc de blancs, Most days, they do breakfast and lunch separately. She eats

She tends the garden, stocks the pantry and books their CSA memberships. He
makes bread---((a genius talent," she says.
The opening of America: Now and Here in Kansas City, Missouri, included rwo food events, The first was a lunch chat featured jerky, hardtack and jars of lard. "One of the courses was preceded by a history lesson in which it was told chat the Missouri River was once full ofsalmon, salmon hot dogs!" At the second event, organized with a local artisrs collective named Bread, aspiring activists carne ro sup on homemade bread and soup. Arrendeesthrew their names into a hat, three were chosen to speak about their projects, a vote was taken and the winner was awarded the evening's proceeds. "So, yes," Fischl says. "Art and food are intimately tied rogeeher."
edi b leeas [end, co m
49

but that settlers said they would rather

eat their dogs chan eat salmon," says Fischl. "The chef then served

six months or a year. Sometimes it's only one egg. Sometimes it's
rwo, But I do find [hat if I eat two eggs and a piece of toast or a

half a piece of toast, then I'm just fine for hours and hours and hours and hours.

Alldreja Premium esprmo machine
EF: I have a fancy espresso machine and burr grinder but I am nor an expert. My coffee is organic beans called Hurricane Espresso I get from IGA in Sag. Every now and then I nail a great foam, but it is so inconsisrent ir plagues me. I do the same thing every day with differing results (which proves I am not mad, just

W/JO does the cooking? AG: It's me. He does bake bread, bur chat's kinda it. It's partly my fault because I'm kind of strict about health things, Likeburrer. I'm a little bit of a kitchen dictator. (I'm tired of people saying "Nazi.")

Whats your breakfast routine?
AG: I always ear two local, organic eggs, either from Bette and Dale or David Falkowski, and some bread from Eric, and chives from my garden. EF: Coffee, two cups, cappuccino, first thing. I read the paper (digital Times Reader), do crossword and/or Words with Friends. Bola Granola with fruit (April makes it with maple syrup) and 2 percent milk. I'm a friend of [the designer] icole Miller's. and Bola is her sister's product. That would be enough reason to upporc it, bur it is delicious on top of char. We get it at Cavaniolas Cheese Shop.

Eggs
AG: My mom would make me eggs when I was sick. Softboiled. Eric will tell you his theory that women like think he thinks
to

ear eggs I

more than men do. He minks [hat's weird and cannibalistic.

mar because he doesn't
[0

like caviar.

EF: I do find ir unsettli.ng

watch women coo and glee over a

bowl of caviar. More so than men who also coo and glee over it. Ironic how upset they can get at birds that rob egg from other birds' nests but don't make this connection
[0

our nest or uterine robbery.

AG: I'm currently eating them scrambled. I'm a little OeD with my eggs. £'11get into a soft-boiled [rung and I'll do that for
50

edible

EAST END

WINTER2012

inconsistent). My theory is that it is the milk's fault. It seems when L open a new carron [it] foams the best bur then over several days it becomes less and less certain. I will never research this theory, but if any of you r readers have thou ghts let me know. Berries AG: I like to eat red fruits in the morning. What the French call "red fruits"-strawberries, Meat G; I'm not a meat person. It's
0

smelled delicious. And 1 went, "That smells so good. There's amchur in it. isn't there?" And he said, "Yes, how did you know?" And I said. "I jusr love that spice, I could smell it from a mile away." And he goes. "all women love amchur, what is it?" And I said, "if you don't understand it, I don't understand it." Ceramic ~ggtray That's Mae Mougin. She makes them. She's great. It's obviously decorative, but I use it all the time. Tomflto sauce I have my own way of doing it. It's not chunky, chunky. I like it with a huge amount of garlic, olive oil, bay leaf and salt. Broccoli rabe This is broccoli rabe from Quail Hill that needs
[0

raspberries, blackberries. I ger [hat

at Provisions. They are high in antioxidants, and

r like rhem.

a certain extent philosophical. ar Danese Gallery.

I do eat 6sh, not large amounts, maybe once every two weeks or so. T curared a show called Other Is Animal It was nor supposed supposed
to to

be a "don't ear animals show," it was JUSt

be eaten.

show animals as having real presence and as being

Right now, I'm in the winter share ofQuaU Hill. But in the summer I tried Sunset Beach Farm, which is, like, just around the corner. Gllrdt!1I I JUSt started doing the garden two summers ago. It's always been, like, flowers and perennials. I said
to

wonhy of artenrion, Because of their consciousness. Nor because [hey are cute or they look like us or even on ecological grounds. For Thanksgiving I ordered a Heritage Foods USA cruelty-free turkey. Irs nor so much people eating animals per se, but the cruelty involved in factory farming. It makes me insane with rage and disgust and sorrow. To me ie'sthe moral elephant in the room of America. Dreamjields pastfl AG; I should do an ad for this spaghetti. AcruaJly, I was talking with the guy who sells rhe fish at King Kullen, about trying to find local fish. But then what I wanted for runner was pasta. He said, "Have you tried Dreamfields spaghetti?" And I said no, because llike Barilla the best and I'm a total pasta snob. And so I bought it, and it's famastic. It has a lower glycemic conrent than most spaghettis. and it's the best pasta I've ever bought. I recommend it, but the only place r can find it is King Kullen. I do spaghetti and arugula peste from my garden. And kale peste is really good. or just kale sauteed. My personal favorite is probably spaghetti and artichokes with tomato and mint. Indian spices AG: Here's a funny story. I'm in a taxi in New York and the driver has a dish on his seat that he's going
[Q

Eric, "What do you like?" And

he said, "Cucumbers." I don't like them really, bur mere's this Thai fish soup that involves those long European cucumbers. And there
was a seed package at Marder's, so I grabbed ir. And I planted them

jusr like it said, Jive little seeds in a mounded bole. And then, like three weeks later, OUf entire yard was a sea of cucumbers. Cupcake trays
llnd

baking pllm

AG; J got into trying to make health muffins a few years ago. The baking trays are what I use to bake sweet potatoes and vegetables. I love roasted vegetables.1do that a lot in the winter. Eric used
to

make

pies and cinnamon buns. And I begged him repeatedly to make them. Wouldn'r it be nice to have cinnamon buns?' But then he'd probably pur butter in them and I would be relling him to put lessbutter. EF; I was a dishwasher at a pharmacy in Scottsdale, Arizona,

Ul gOtpromoted

overnight

to

cook because the cook quit. It was a

real soda foumain kind of place, and I was responsible for breakfast and lunch. The usual stuff like eggs any which way. BLTs, burgers and dogs, chicken and runa salads. I also had to make a
edibleeasrend.corn 51

eat for dinner, and it

Cookbooks AG: I [end more now to go to Epicurious online if I'm crying
[0

make something up and Anier de Villaw! china

r just

wanr ideas. I'll scan a bunch of

recipes and make my own version. But I like the cookbooks. AG: This company in France makesit ..We've been collecting it for years and years. It's a black or dark-gray day with a white slick. It's really a simple idea. I don't think there's anything like it. Places JOu like to go? AG: Nick and Toni's. I like North Fork Table and I love the Vine Wine & Cafe up there [in Greenport]. And I like Vine Street Cafe. I think Circanuova does a really great job. The nice thing is rhar most of rhe restaurants around here seem
[Q

be aware of using

local produce and supporting local farmers. Thar matters to me. EF: Almond (excellent).Turro il Giorno (though I am not created welJthere). Dockside (lunch in summer on the pario, can'r be beat). Dilling table AG: Our dining room table was made by Eric's former assistanr, a grear woodworker named Tom Brokish who now lives in Portland, Maine, but still does cusrom work down here for us and others. He and Eric worked on (he design together. We have some prerry ambitious dinners here. I get nervous cooking and planning, but once I pull it off, when everyone is enthusiastic and happy, I'm happy. I do Christmas or Christmas Eve dinner. Every year with friends, which is really nice. I've done Thanksgiving for years and years and years. The occasional birthday parry. And big dinner parties in the summer. EF: For me all our dinners blend rogerher into one continuous love affair with friends. () Brian HaLweil is the editor of Edible East End.

couple of pies and cinnamon-raisin buns each morning. They were edible bur not pretcy. I could never gec the Fruir co gel, so when I sliced into the pie, me crust collapsed and fruit pooled. No one complained bur no one offered to help me figure i out either,

Two Smgat cats
AG: We got one from a friend and another from the Southampton Animal Shelter (Gornik is an active supporter of the Southampton Animal Shelter Foundation]. We rake our cars for walks on leashes. When they see something outside it's really cute. They go boing, boing. They bounce, like Tigger in Winnie the Pooh. BrMdmaking mpplies (ineilldirlg assorted flours. mrasuring containen, scale nndTartinc Bread cookbook) AG: This is his olive bread from a few days ago. It's really delicious. He also makes an amazing walnut loaf That's my favorice. EF: I'm nor a baker. I just make some bread.

I

PAINT THE WORLD BEAUTIFUL.

Holiday Art. The Golden Eagle in East Hampton sells art supplies and
[0

offers classes. Give someone the opportunity

learn

[0

draw, or take 10 kids off someone's hands for a paint

parry during [he holiday week. goldeneagleart.com
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edibleEASTEND

WINTER 2012

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