Coq-au-vin-11-finished-2

      It was the simplest of observations. I’d never heard it made, but it crystalized for me yet another facet of America’s dysfunctional relationship to food. I was listening to a podcast of “This American Life,” maybe the greatest show on radio, one from the archives called “Americans In Paris,” and featuring still another American treasure, David Sedaris. One of the Americans interviewed by the show’s host, Ira Glass, noted the joy with which the French eat and said, “Americans treat their food like medicine.” Exactly! We eat what’s “good” for us. We avoid what’s “bad” for us without really knowing what is good or bad for us. We eat probiotic food, such as yogurt with active cultures because it may be good for our gut flora. We avoid gluten because that’s what’s trending Read On »

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Pan fried chicken thighs. Photo by Donna Turner Ruhlman.

Two things of note here: the technique called pan-fry and the awesome chicken thigh. The latter should be your go-to chicken part. How and why chicken mongers can get away with selling the boneless, skinless chicken breast is beyond me. Then again, why anyone would buy skim milk is beyond me. I love bone-in, skin-on thighs but am delighted that the boned version is available as well. I recommend slicing it thinly for stir-fries, in chunks for chicken stews (curries, fricassee). It’s a well-worked muscle and therefore flavorful (and chewy); it’s also got some fat and is therefore juicy. Not long ago my son James, chewing on a fried chicken drumstick, wondered if we couldn’t have boneless fried chicken, so that he could, I imagine, revel in the unalloyed pleasure of fried chicken—crispy flavorful exterior, Read On »

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Here is an interesting recipe for a unpotpie pie, via White on Rice Couple.

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I was so delighted by the Kate Christensen recipe I’m making a version of it here that reflects my way of cooking. Is it a repeat? That’s part of the point—the best dishes in your repertoire are ones you do over and over. Indeed, Christensen wrote about it in a novel, and then wrote about it again in a memoir, and has made it for real herself, so it obviously bears repeating. As do all good recipes. And this one is not only supremely tasty and therefore a pleasure to eat, it’s also deeply nourishing, especially if you use your own stock. I was also intrigued by a few commenters who did not like the narrative recipe, a recipe without ingredient list and numbered steps, but with writerly flourishes—”fragrant brown spice puddle”—which of course I Read On »

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Kate Christensen is exactly the kind of woman I would spend all my time trying to bed if I weren’t already married to The Most Wonderful Woman in the World. She’s hot, with the most beguiling eyes, and expressions, I’ve encountered (we once shared a stage at the Key West Literary Seminar); she’s smart as lightening, and she writes fabulous books. Readers of this site, if you haven’t read Epicure’s Lament, put it next on your list, followed by The Great Man, which inspired the below recipe. That’s right: a fictional scene generated this most delicious North African–style chicken stew, a version of which I made for Donna on Saturday. It’s also a lesson in the way recipes ought to be written and followed. Christensen’s most recent book, a memoir, Blue Plate Special, began as a Read On »

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