I need your help. I bought a sweet potato to force myself to cook it in a way that was exciting to me. I’m not a sweet potato fan unless they’re fried. Too mushy, too sweet. And yet, because I’ve come to appreciate how intensely nutritious they are, thanks Dr. Health Is On Your Plate, I wanted to cook it and like it, but …. It sat in the fridge for weeks. Until this morning. I was working on the new book, on Pâtés Confits and Rillettes, on some confit recipes. My partner in Charcuterie, Chef Brian, sent me a recipes for tasty morsels cooked slowly in fat, one of them a butternut squash. Of course! This would work beautifully with that neglected sweet potato I have to keep looking at every time I open the fridge. Read On »

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I was enormously lucky to lead a discussion with Ruth Reichl, author and editor, and Dan Barber, chef-owner of the Blue Hill restaurants in New York and author, who came to the 92nd Street Y in New York City to talk about our food. The reason for the event was my new book Grocery: The Buying and Selling of Food In America. But the discussion ranged from GMOs and organic food, to big A Ha! moments for both Ruth and Dan, Ruth’s in a small plane filled with the smells of strawberries from Chico farm, Dan’s on a Klaas Martens’s field, which grew cover crops, not wheat. I saved my favorite question from the audience to read last: “Is ice cream always bad for you?” Yes, ice cream has sugar in it, and sugar seems to be considerably Read On »

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The new book is one week away from publication so there’s still time to pre-order and get a nifty canvas tote from my publisher (fill out the form here, deal ends 5/15). Pre-orders really help a book’s launch. Very excited about this book. Lots of interest from the media so far, The New York Times, NPR, the WSJ and others. When you’re in the midst of the writing, you feel like you’re a colossal failure just about every other day. But then a book appears (with the help of an editor, a copy editor, a book designer, publicists) and it’s all rather surprising and not quite so dismal as you thought. I do care about this book. My father is threaded throughout. GROCERY: ON BUYING AND SELLING FOOD IN AMERICA describes how these stores, like no Read On »

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It was cold, windy night, dark by 5 pm, and I was in the mood for chili. I was also alone in my pajama pants and had no intention of leaving my toasty apartment for the tomatoes and onions I didn’t have. I knew I had a frozen pound of ground beef in the freezer, a box of pasta, a stalk of broccoli, though. So instead of putting the meat in the chili, I figured I’d put the chili in the meat, make chili meat balls, serve them on garlic pasta, with a side of good-for-you greenery. I keep a good stash of fresh spices in my freezer. I made the preparation hard on myself by cooking the spices and garlic in some olive oil before adding them to the meat—brings out the flavor in the Read On »

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When life is in disarray, travel! Which is what I’ve been doing nonstop for a month and a half, and more. The above is a salumi maker from Norcia, a town famed for its butchers and recently devastated by an earthquake. Happily he found a place in Rome to sell his goods. I have neglected my pledge to spend more time on this blog, but herewith is the reason why, a sort of photo essay of the lands and pigs and pork and salumi and chefs from the past six weeks. It began in Rhode Island, little old Rhode Island, where I made some mandatory holiday aged eggnog.   I was there to do a reading with Ruth Reichl at Matt and Kristin Jenkins lovely Chez Pascal, sponsored by Goat Hill, an organization like Boston’s Grub Street that Read On »

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