Out of nowhere My Girl Friday shouted, “You should do a post on goose!” with her customary joie de vivre. So when I was ordering a couple of chickens from Cara at Tea Hill Farms, I asked if she had a goose. No, but her neighbor did. A few days later my dear pal Lester shouted, “We should cook goose!” I said, “I just bought one!” My equally dear pal (all of us since high school) Dave Loomis said, “I want in!” So for what is now about year 15 of an annual dinner, I determined to cook my own goose. I had cooked goose, exactly once, nearly two decades ago (I remember being astonished at the quantity of fat it released, staggering). I’d watched a goose cooked late in the late fall of 2001 (when Read On »

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Holiday punch was out of fashion even in Charles Dickens’ day, but he loved the old recipes for it. And as described in this NPR story with David Wondrich on his book Punch: The Delights (and Dangers) of the Flowing Bowl, punch was created by 17th-century British-empire-building sailors whose beer spoiled in tropical heat. They would have used rum and brandy and lots of it for punch with serious punch. Today for me it has a whiff of the 1950s, and does bring to mind sherbet for some reason, but as Wondrich points out in the NPR piece, punch is not a cocktail or pedestrian glass of generic Chardonnay—that is, an individual and isolating libation strategy. It is, rather, a communal and group drink, a social drink, a shared drink. I talk a lot about the Read On »

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I’ve recently returned from inspiring days at Pigstock, in Traverse City, Michigan, where I and my partner in Salumi, Brian Polcyn, were invited to participate in a celebration of the pig. But we also got to sample wines and spirits made from the abundant fruit that grows in this unique climate. I have, since I first imbibed the crystal elixir, bowed before eau de vie, the aptly named water of life. My first vision of it was in the 1970s when my Uncle Lars arrived at our house with a gift of Poire Williams for my father; astonishingly, there was a pear inside the bottle. I did not get to drink from this as I was 10, and my dad felt that if they could get a pear inside a bottle, it deserved to remain sealed and Read On »

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Today’s cocktail post was inspired by a question on Twitter asking for a good Bloody Mary recipe, and it is indeed a good topic because they are often so mediocre. And it’s not the vodka’s fault this time. It’s rather that the Bloody Mary is carelessly prepared, a fault I am guilty of, especially on a crapulous Sunday morning. So herewith a more thoughtful and refined Bloody Mary worthy of being called a cocktail. The key is fresh tomato juice. V-8 vegetable juice or canned tomato juice is heavy and thick and obscures the other ingredients (which is why many prefer Clamato juice, for a “Bloody Caesar,” a choice I encourage). Now that we have an abundance of huge overripe tomatoes, it’s the perfect time to make your own juice. You want the fiber, but Read On »

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Coffee’s flavors are very diverse, roasters are now working with growers to provide more interesting brews, via NPR.

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