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After my assistant, Emilia Juocys, returned from a food-related trip to California, I asked her how it was. I’d heard about Eat Retreat but didn’t have a clear sense of what it was. I said, “Why don’t you write a post about it.”Though what she sent me was considerably more personal than I’d anticipated, it also underscored what we all recognize: the power of food to connect us to one another. —M.R. By Emilia Juocys With all of the changes I have experienced in the last 12 months I needed to do something different and meet some new people, especially in the culinary world. Chicago had been great to me but I left in the fall to return home because I was getting divorced after nine years of marriage. Never expected it, but life happens, people change, and the Read On »

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  I’m finally home for a spell, long enough to plan out meals from my farmers’ market or, more precisely, growers’ market, and I was eager to see what was available this early in the season and after an uncommonly long, cold winter. Thanks to greenhouses there were plenty of greens, all kinds of them—kale, tatsoi, pea shoots, spinach, beet greens, basil. We have good local cheese makers so I picked up some sheep’s milk cheese and chèvre. Two dozen eggs, of course. Jason from Tea Hill Farms said, “Been so cold the chickens just don’t want to grow.” His chickens were just over two pounds and I bought a couple of them. They are so pristine, with firm, taut skin, they seem a different species from the ones in the grocery store. I bought oats and grits Read On »

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When I published Boys Themselves in 1996, I was discombobulated from all the unfamiliar stuff of interviews and the weird business of promotion, and I told my wonderful agent this, who said, “Of course you are, you’re publishing a book!” It hadn’t occurred to me that publishing a books was like … well, what is it like? You’re walking along a calm shady street, all’s right with the world, and then someone you kind of know pulls you into a carnival funhouse. And it is fun, a lot of fun, you meet new folks and interesting people ask you good questions about things that are really important to you. But it’s also disorienting and you come out the back door looking kind of like a tattered Gilligan. Or so it seems. Today, in support of Read On »

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If you don’t already know Joshua Weissman of Houston, he is the young author of The Slim Palate (also the name of his blog). It’s also a Paleo cookbook, but that’s beside the point (as far as I’m concerned). And yes, it’s a lovely book with intriguing recipes and photographs that floored Donna, especially given that Josh was 17 when he took most of them, and is only 18 now. When I got an email request to blurb the book, I thought little more than “Ugh, OK, send me a PDF, I’ll try to have a look.” And I did, and it was good, and I did a little more poking around on his site. My turn to be floored. Watch this excellent video to meet Josh and hear his uncommon story—he’s an inspiration. This is more Read On »

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  Carri Thurman, baker and chef at Two Sisters Bakery in Homer, Alaska, on a young and growing cooks’ community. Her guest post speaks for itself (great links, too). —M.R. by Carri Thurman This summer I went completely and utterly MAD, and it couldn’t have been more rewarding or delicious. Mad is the Danish word for food. It is also the name of what has become one of the most exciting food conferences happening in the world today. This year’s talks were curated by David Chang and the folks at Lucky Peach magazine with the guidance of MAD founder, the head chef of Noma, Rene Redzepi. It is not so much a technical conference but a gathering of ideas and a convergence of philosophies with presentations that began with impassioned Italian butcher Dario Cecchini gutting a pig and quoting Dante and ended with Alex Atala showing us all that Read On »

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