So so so many people tell me they have a cookbook to write, asking for advice, and I almost always do my best to discourage them, with Asian delicacy and Germanic firmness, I hope. Because I believe that there are too many cookbooks out there already and the ones so often published add nothing new. So when writer and educator Dianne Jacob asked me what does define a successful cookbook, it got me thinking. She’s written an excellent post collating many, many responses from people in the industry. The responses are surprising in their diversity. The first and obvious answer is, a book is successful if it makes money for the publisher and author.  And there are many ways this can happen, meaning that a book that sells 10,000 copies can be a resounding success Read On »

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Race week in Key West is a massive boondoggle for me.  I wake, look out at the water, drink coffee, write until noon, personal writing, then head to the house where I cook for 12 to 16 people every night. I straighten the kitchen, throw away a few forgotten red plastic cups with limes floating in them, make a list, do some shopping, prep what can be done ahead (make some sauces, or a stock, pick and blanch green veg).  Then I go back to my room at The Galleon, condos right on the docks, and have some coffee and write and re-write some more. The boys return from being on the water and I put in earphones and listen to music and keep working till six, then head to the house and start dinner. Read On »

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What type of exotic foods US Customs finds in travelers suitcases with their trusty sniffer dog, via NYT.

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Cecilia is one the two winners of Charcutepalooza, check out her blog, via One Vanilla Bean.

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It’s been a long day of wrapping and cooking in preparation for Christmas, amazingly stress free because of my amazing wife and colleague Donna. Her photo above is something of a self-portrait of us on the Christmas tree. Mom and James made cookies and I made our annual Addison’s Brioche.  Mom wants to use it to make sticky buns so we’ll fill some muffin pans with brown sugar, butter and pecans, top each with the brioche and refrigerate till tomorrow morning. It’s become a tradition. As has the reading of Twas the Night Before Christmas before bed. Traditions are powerful indeed. The day has also been occasion to think about how lucky I am, for Donna, for Donna’s work, for the health of my children, on this bountiful holiday. I miss my dad who was Read On »

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