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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  (First published in Finesse, Thomas Keller’s superb magazine, earlier this year.) In the 1970s, the egg was bad-for-you food in America. After being a mainstay of the human diet for millennia, doctors here decreed that the cholesterol-laden yolk clogged arteries and resulted in heart attacks. Eat an egg if you must, nutritionists warned, but only in limited quantities. And after 30 years of telling us to avoid eggs and order up those egg white omelettes, the American Heart Association changed its mind—oops!—and declared that eggs, like an unjustly punished child, could once again return to the dining table. As I began to write about the egg, I realized the egg fatwa was no isolated event. Indeed, it came to symbolize for me what was wrong with the way we think about food and how we let others decide what we eat. Read On »

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  On Sunday I went to a party, El Dio de Les Puercos! at Dickson’s Farmstand Meats in the Chelsea market, hosted by Jake Dickson. The room was packed with butchers from all over New York. Evan Brady (above, left), who gave me some of the best speck I’ve had, came from Wappinger Falls (he runs an online butcher’s supply store, Butcher’s Pantry). Jeremy Stanton, who runs The Meat Market in Great Barrington, sliced some fabulous Ossabaw prosciutto. I met a sprite of a girl named Flannery (after the writer) who is a cutter at The Meat Hook in Brooklyn. One of the founders of the Meat Hook (a store I love!), Brent Young, told me he was a grad student years ago studying education when, unhappy, he wrote me an email. I told him to get off his ass Read On »

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As fall nears, my thoughts turn to duck confit. I hope you’ll put this excellent and simple technique into your repertoire this fall. It’s a great way to have a delicious meal moments away all fall and into the winter if you make one big batch. It keeps for many months in the fridge. Here’s my method using olive oil, which works great. I love it so much that when Thomas Keller asked me to submit a piece for Finesse, his elegant magazine, on the theme of preservation, my mind went straight to duck confit. I’m reprinting it here in anticipation of fall cooking. It’s about a lot more than deliciousness. (And for the literary folks, I’ll be in Raleigh tomorrow—9/18/15—for the Southern Indie Booksellers Association event, promoting my new fiction, In Short Measures. On Sunday Read On »

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  For months and months people have been asking when the the Badass Perforated (aka Egg) Spoon will be back in stock. IT’S BACK. (Details here.) Here’s the original story of how it came to be (all photos by Donna Turner Ruhlman). A couple years ago, nosing around in McGee’s On Food and Cooking, I came across his suggestion that one could make neater poached eggs by getting rid of the liquidy, flyaway whites before poaching. And it works! (There’s really no point in adding acid to the water.) Regrettably, I left my good perforated spoon at a Macy’s demo and was left a generic slotted spoon with a shallow bowl and the egg always wanted to jump out. So when my friend Mac suggested we make some kitchen tools, a great perforated spoon that could Read On »

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