Browse the Archives

  • The Great Michael Ruhlman Pickling Experiment --
    Nothing pleases the palate after a long summer day like a good pickle. A bit of salt, a bit of crunch, and that vegetal freshness make a refreshing bite. Earlier this summer, my brother-in-law Brett had a few people over one evening. After handing around a few beverages, he pulled a mason jar from the fridge and set it on…
  • Curry Chicken Salad --
      I’ve heard that the average person opens the refrigerator door 15-20 times per day. But why? Do they need distraction? Anything is better than mowing the lawn or doing laundry. What harm could a pleasurable bite of yesterday’s risotto do? Or maybe our late-night existential crises make us hungry for a couple of grapes, a nice blast of sweetness…
  • Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Parmesan --
    "Yuck." When I was a child, that's what my mother said each time my father suggested that she make brussels sprouts to serve with dinner. This horrified me. How awful must these brussels sprouts be if even a grown-up wouldn't eat them? As I grew up, I began to take my father's occasional request for these things as a sort…
  • The Singular Focus of Jiro Ono --
    At some point, life’s obligations take over. You get busy at work; friends and family get married; a home maintenance project becomes urgent. Things you want to do suffer while things you must do exert an ever-increasing dominance over your time. Despite the seemingly universal nature of this problem, David Gelb’s documentary film Jiro Dreams of Sushi features a man…
  • Potato Salad & the Art of the Potluck --
    My son’s day school hosted a potluck a few months ago. The kids would put on a show in groups to showcase what they had been learning about the continents, and the parents of the children in each group would bring potluck dishes to represent that continent. Twenty kids under four years old and all their parents, plus the four-…
  • Moroccan Carrot Salad & the Value of Failure --
    Food bloggers post endless streams of drool-inducing photography along with clever stories about what inspired them to make such-and-such, which by the way is the most delicious thing ever. They’ll show you wonderful pho, glistening pan roasted brussels sprouts; a creative savory french toast with bacon and cheese; or whatever else you’re looking for. And these things are all great,…
  • Cafe Kandahar Chef’s Table --
    Amid the luxury condos and vacation rentals of the village on Big Mountain sits Kandahar Lodge, a place that looks the part of a boutique hotel. Its open lobby features touristy brochures, couches, a few tables with an internet terminal, and a large fireplace. But in a little hovel off to the side, so inconspicuous that some guests may not notice…
  • Simplicity --
    It started with this girl who had beautiful green eyes--I’ll call her Nora. At fourteen, I felt such delight having struck up a conversation with her in the line for ice cream. She laughed, we chatted with wit, and life could not have been better. Then, disaster: I ordered two scoops of vanilla ice cream. “Wow, you’re pretty boring,” she…
  • Roasted Potatoes to Lambs’ Tongues, and On the Pleasures of a Physical Cookbook --
    “There is pleasure in the contemplation of the object one desires; there is a pleasure in tasting, touching, hearing, or seeing the object; and there is a pleasure in the remembrance of the object enjoyed.” --Michael Curtis The 1977 edition of The New Larousse Gastronomique has a particular heft to it, a bulk in your hands that renders the fragility…
  • James Beard Foundation Celebrity Chef Tour --
    I took off from work early and burned down 93 straight through Kalispell. I barely took in those winding, rolling miles across Flathead Lake from cherry orchard country, so otherworldly beautiful that they look more like the set for a Porsche commercial than some road a short drive from my house. I sped past the snowcapped Mission Range and all…
  • Potato Skin Pizzas --
    Pizza arguably dates back to the origins of agriculture in the neolithic era, thousands of years before the birth of Christ, when people began to add toppings to flavor unleavened bread made from einkorn and emmer wheat. With the earliest dynasties of Ancient Egypt came the discovery of yeast. Softer and more digestible bread led to an increase in its…
  • Review: Anthony Bourdain’s The Nasty Bits --
    They call it “Southern Bayou Catfish.” I grin at  the crispy feel of that cornmeal crust between my fingers as I dip the distinguished bottom-dweller all the way down into its sriracha lemon zest remoulade. And the bite: the crunchy, the tender, the salty, the sweet--all there. Amid the breathably thick sensuality of this moment, I realize on some level,…
  • The Pittsburgh Chicken Salad --
    “I’ll have the chicken salad,” Mariah said the day after she moved to Pittsburgh. We sat at a table in Luciano’s, a pizza and hoagie shop typical of those in the area, and I failed to realize the significance of Mariah’s order as it happened. Something must have distracted me, like maybe the fact that I was engaged at only…
  • Ottolenghi’s Cucumber Salad --
    In the parlance of No Country for Old Men, Yotam Ottolenghi is no swinging dick in the world of vegetable cooking. The guy’s a sextuple-threat. He uses a blend of Syrian, Lebanese, Turkish, Armenian, Iranian, and Israeli flavors to put such a distinctive mix of tastes and textures on the plate that no one even misses the meat. “I want…
  • Meatloaf Cupcakes, or What Happens When You Pregame Before Cooking --
    It started innocently enough, years ago sometime near the holidays, when Marisa and I agreed to make dinner for a few people at my brother-in-law’s house. It would have been no big deal, but we had recently been to dinner at my mother’s house on meatloaf night, and people who have recently been to my mother’s house on meatloaf night…
  • Quick Indian Chicken Curry --
    Excuse me for a moment while I recreate the splendor of South Oakland, that most noble and patrician of undergrad ghettos, shoved forgetfully between the Boulevard of the Allies and Forbes Avenue in Pittsburgh. Bumper to bumper parked cars line both sides of its cramped streets. Amid the seedy bars and rust-belt brick residential architecture, and among the many front…
  • Review: Gabrielle Hamilton’s Blood, Bones & Butter --
    Have you ever sat there watching an episode of Chopped and wondered how Aarón Sanchez could operate three restaurants in three different cities while simultaneously spending so much time filming television shows, designing lines of cookware, serving as a consultant and spokesperson, and writing two cookbooks? I mean, who are these people, these “celebrity chefs” we hear so much about,…
  • How to Read American Wine Labels --
    I’m like a trained dog. The instant I hear the sound of a cork popping from a wine bottle, my piqued curiosity wants to know what the bottle looks like and whether the label has a simple elegance or flouts a flamboyant piece of grand-master bottle art. Either way, I’m thinking about some poor marketing intern or overworked vineyard owner sitting…

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