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    My friend Stephanie Stiavetti (@sstiavetti) writes The Culinary Life blog. Her first book is Melt: The Art of Macaroni and Cheese.   By Stephanie Stiavetti It wasn’t all that long ago that homemade bread was a regular staple at the table. Two, perhaps three, generations have passed and pushed this skill into the history books. No more warm loaves on the table, or seductive smells piquing your senses. It’s a genuine loss. Bread was one of the first projects I took on myself as a girl, and though my grandmothers didn’t really make bread, I was able to pick up the process pretty quickly. At 10 years old I baked my first bread with only the Better Homes & Gardens Cookbook to guide me, and by age 12 I had managed a pretty decent French bread that earned Read On »

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kids and salsa

This is a followup to Emilia’s previous post and it makes me want to weep with gratitude. This is one way we can change things. —M.R. By Emilia Juocys Last weekend I went to Columbus, Ohio, to help my friend Tricia Keels run her Backyard Kids’ Restaurant. To see a suburban backyard transform into a restaurant is amazing, and to watch all the children and parents participate in this event is inspirational. The energy level is so high and it’s such a positive affirming experience. Plus, I get to teach both children and adults about food! For this year’s menu we offered house-made Italian sausages, Swedish meatballs, an insanely good Swedish meatball gravy (beef demiglace, sautéed onions, vermouth, cream), cucumber salsa, a jumbo Glad bag of tortilla chips, black beans, pickled okra, lots of grilled vegetables, house-ground flour pancakes, local blueberry 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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polcyn2

  By Emilia Juocys How does one react when they find out the news that their mentor is closing a chapter of their career? At first, compete shock, and then one becomes comfortable with the idea and accepts it. That is how you associated them to their current position in life and now it is no longer going to hold true. That full-time occupation or passion will always be a part of them, but now they are morphing into a different phase in their life. I don’t think it matters if you are a teacher, doctor, entrepreneur, chef, or restaurateur. A couple of months ago I found out that my mentor, my culinary father Chef Brian Polcyn (yes, coauthor of Charcuterie and Salumi), was giving up the reins as chef/proprietor of Forest Grill, outside Detroit. Unless you really know Chef Polcyn or follow his antics, especially when he is with Ruhlman, you would 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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