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  I’m writing today to introduce a writer whom readers of this site may not know, Chris Offutt. I didn’t know his work until a friend sent me his essay “Trash Food,” published in the Oxford American, a fine magazine devoted to exploring southern culture. From here I went to an essay titled “Chicken Eggs.” Maybe you read about him recently in his essay in the NYTimes magazine about his pornographer father (an essay that landed him on Fresh Air shortly after), from his upcoming memoir. But it was his “Chicken Eggs” that so affected me, and also made me wonder why some “literary” writers reach a large popular audience and others don’t. Because judging from “Chicken Eggs” alone, this writer deserves a larger audience. In this essay, he writes a lot about eggs, a subject Read On »

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  This is my new favorite cookbook. I’ve long made a fuss about not liking cookbooks, because I don’t. Cookbooks are too often about recipes, and that’s not what cooking is about. I tried to write an anti-cookbook, Ratio, that intended to help the home cook rely on proportions and technique rather than recipes. It had a ton of recipes in it anyway (editor request). I admired books with a genuine voice, David Lebovitz‘s books, Judi Rodgers’s Zuni Cafe Cookbook. Well-written cookbooks. I didn’t dislike recipes per se. I still rely on a page torn from Saveur with a fabulous falafel recipe—too many ingredients to remember, let alone their proportions. I have to look at my own recipe for fried chicken to make the seasoned flour (included in the above book above, happily). So what is Read On »

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Flatiron-Steak3

    About goddam time. Finally people are starting to make sense. Two pieces in the NYTimes were back to back on the “most emailed” list when I checked yesterday morning. The first, and most important, was Aaron Carroll’s piece on how to eat sensibly: Red Meat Is Not the Enemy. The entire reported essay can be summed up by a large study cited with this rather obvious conclusion: “Everything we eat is associated with both higher and lower rates of cancer.” Ha! Take that, all you nutritional gurus. I need to write that again: Everything we eat is associated with both higher and lower rates of cancer. The author is a professor of pediatrics at Indiana University School of Medicine. He blogs on health research and policy. His advice? Find a diet that works for you. Read On »

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  Last week I had lunch with Kate Lee, a senior editor at medium.com, an elegant publishing platform created by the Twitter co-founders (she had a salad, which put me on guard until she agreed to taste some of my terrible-looking but most delicious chicken livers on toast). Medium was in search of writers/content, and my book agent, the lovely Cait Hoyt, said she wanted all her writers to contribute to medium. I’m always interested in new platforms, ideas, ways to share and spread information, and promote my own projects. Medium is about three years old and still trying to find its legs, it seems, though no one denies it’s a great place to read interesting stuff, even if it’s often somehow about itself. Which may scarily be what we’re coming to. One of the subtexts Read On »

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Salt and fat does a body ight or wrong? Photo by Donna Turner Ruhlman

  I’m on the road all week so I am reposting this, in light of the new governmental recommendations on what we should and should not eat. The Times article noted in the post, interestingly, is from almost exactly two years ago. —M.R. Originally Posted March 14, 2013 I’d have thought that an article in last Sunday’s New York Times Magazine, Eat Your Heart Out by Gretchen Reynolds, would have made me happy. I’ve long argued that America’s terror of fat and salt is misguided and blown grossly out of proportion. But all the piece did was make me mad. It notes a study that found that men with heart disease who reduced their intake of meat and saturated fats and increased the polyunsaturated fats in their diet were more likely to die of a heart attack than the Read On »

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