The word is passion and I used to hear it from chefs. “I can teach you to cook, but I can’t teach passion,” they would say. I took this at face value from so many chefs I can’t tell you, until I didn’t anymore because I realized it meant exactly nothing. Thomas Keller, the chef from whom I have learned the most, and the most by far, noted this a while back as well. Passion is the wrong word, he said. Desire was what he wanted to see in a young cook. What, really, though, is that elusive quality that makes a great chef, a great musician, a great anything? It’s not passion, and I’m not sure it’s desire either. A lot of people have passion for something they aren’t good at. In my twenties Read On »

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Ever have one of those Bridget Jones cooking moments? Just rename the dish, NYT.

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Ever since I read Anne Patchett’s The Getaway Car, a short memoir on writing, I’ve wanted to write my own Kindle Single, a venue for fiction and nonfiction that’s longer than a magazine story but shorter than a book. (The NYTimes reviewed the singles here.) Any device running Android or iTunes can read Kindle books and Kindle Singles by downloading the free Kindle app. I’ve bought more Kindle books this year for my iPad than I have in the past five years in hardcover or paperback. I love to read on my iPad, and on my iPhone. So here’s my entree into exclusively digital space. I hope you’ll have a look. It’s a short memoir (10K words or about 35 manuscript pages), on how I got to where I am, a writer of food and Read On »

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I hate tofu. That’s been my knee-jerk response pretty much since tasting it the first time and every time I had it after. It wasn’t so much that it had no flavor—nothing really not to like about that; what’s not to like about nothing?—it was rather the lack of flavor combined with its curdy texture. I remember talking with Michael Symon in his restaurant Lola in Cleveland when he was trying to come up with a vegetarian or vegan dish to put on the menu that used tofu. I asked, “Why do you want to do that?” “I don’t know,” he said. “I hate tofu.” And that was that. No tofu on the Lola menu. So when Andrea Nguyen, a cook and writer whom I met at the Greenbrier food writers’ symposium and whom I Read On »

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If you are headed out west to Portland, Oregon take a look at Liz Crain’s blog, via LizCrain.com

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