sesame-noodles

  When I began living in a 400-square-foot studio apartment in New York City’s West Village a year ago, I lost my cooking mojo. I had about three dishes I’d cook—stir-fried beef, curried chicken, steak or chop with sautéed potatoes and spinach—and the rest of the home meals were takeout form Mrs. Green’s on Hudson Street. But during a call with my therapist, she asked if I was cooking. I said, No, not much, though I used to cook all the time. She said, I think you might feel better if you spent more time cooking. She was right. So I have determined to cook more. And I’ve turned back to books to jumpstart my imagination. I looked first to Joe Yonan‘s Serve Yourself, a cooking-for-one book. Are these inherently unhappy books? No, but the book Vegan Cooking for One Read On »

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Chicken Provençal

Sunday night my dear friends JD and Catherine Sullivan invited me for dinner. JD is a good cook (see the sausage making video we did together; video also feature my partner in tools, Mac Dalton, an appearance by my young son, James, who now, lean and tall, looks me straight in the eye, and JD at the end; it’s a good primer on making sausage). But when I arrived to find that JD’s chicken Provençal was simply baked chicken with herbs I was prepared to be underwhelmed. JD explained that it was a recipe from the estimable Sam Sifton who runs the excellent NYTimes cooking site. Chicken is seasoned, floured, put in a baking dish and roasted for about an hour. It turned out to be a terrific preparation, thanks to the aggressive herbage, and also, importantly, Read On »

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Paula Wolfert busy at work in her kitchen.  Photo by: Eric Wolfinger.

When the formidable Andrea Nguyen, author and teacher, wrote to me asking for help in promoting a kickstarter on behalf of a book about another of the country’s most important writers about food, I was eager to help. Within a day or two, Andrea wrote to say that they had reached their too-modest goal. But I still wanted to help and keep promoting because their print run is far smaller than it should be. This is potentially an important book about food and memory. So herewith, Andrea’s ode to Paula Wolfert (pictured above).–M.R. By Andrea Nguyen “I live in the now. I live for today and I make it work for me,” says Paula Wolfert in the Kickstarter video to fund a new book about her and her work. She’s speaking to lifestyle adjustments she’s made since her Read On »

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IMG_2732

  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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Senses-X3

  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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