Stephanie Stiavetti (@sstiavetti) writes The Culinary Life blog. Her first book, Melt: The Art of Macaroni and Cheese, will be available October 22 from Little, Brown, and it’s superb, the best one I’ve seen, in fact, accept no imitations! I’m always game for a rant, especially first thing in Monday morning. Take it away, Steph! —M.R. You’ve heard Michael’s spiel on Americans being trained to believe they’re too stupid to cook. It’s an unfortunate reality that people in this country place a higher priority on time than they do nearly everything else, which greatly affects what we eat. Which affects our health. Which, in the end, affects EVERYTHING. When you eat poorly, guess what? You feel poorly too. You don’t have the energy to do the things you want to do: hitting the gym, playing ball with the kids, actually getting Read On »

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Lisa Ludwinski, 29, is a baker and cook living in Ferndale, Michigan. She recently returned to the Great Lakes State after a six-year stint eating bagels, nannying, and mixing many pounds of cookie dough in Brooklyn, finishing with stints at Momofuku Milk Bar and Four and Twenty Blackbirds. Now she is the owner of Sister Pie, a from-scratch home bakery serving the Detroit area via the Facebook page, and aims to celebrate the seasons with pie and other sweets through unique interpretations and natural ingredients. For now, she’s able to bake pies from home for sale under Michigan’s Cottage Food Law, but her goal is to open a full-service breakfast/lunch/pie shop. Here she offers her take on one of my favorite pies. I like to make a lattice top, which allows all of the moisture to escape Read On »

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Stephanie Stiavetti (@sstiavetti) writes The Culinary Life blog. Her first book, Melt: The Art of Macaroni and Cheese, will be published next year by Little, Brown. by Stephanie Stiavetti If you’re a regular reader of Michael’s site, then you’re probably one of a class of people that thinks a lot about food. You might make it a point to buy quality ingredients, mostly prepare your meals at home, and generally spend a fair amount of time thinking about what you put in your body. What baffles me, though, is that despite all the grass-fed beef and produce carefully selected at the local farmers’ market, a huge number of the people in this food-conscious demographic still buy crappy, industrially produced cheese. These folks have educated themselves about many other aspects of what they eat, but are seemingly unaware that these Read On »

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  Forrest Pritchard is a seventh-generation family farmer (skip this intro and read his guest post below if you’re pressed for time). His farm, Smith Meadows, is in Berryville, Virginia. The guy is clearly a lunatic, as his new book, Gaining Ground: A Story of Farmers’ Markets, Local Food, and Saving the Family Farm, shows (here’s the Publishers Weekly review of the book). He’s also started a blog (because he has so much time on his hands)—read this excellent post on What NOT to Ask the Grower at Your Local Market, it’s hilarious. Thanks to our mutual friend, Carol Blymire, Forrest offered to write a guest post I’m proud to put up here. I love to write about my region’s farmers, such as livestock farmer Aaron Miller and a record store clerk who got it in his head to raise Read On »

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People call me a chef (even says so here). I’m not a chef. Ted Allen is not a chef (as if his round wood spoons didn’t say as much). Rachael Ray is not a chef. None of us ever said we were. (I have on occasion, claimed to be, but that was just to piss off Michael Symon, who is a chef, or was—now he’s a TV cook, entertainer, and successful restaurateur. I cooked at Sans Souci, a Marriot-owned restaurant, ages ago, but I wouldn’t last an hour on the line today.) Terms matter. I say this because today’s guest poster, Patricia Tracey, is and remains solely a chef. Not a celeb chef like Symon or Bobby Flay (both of whom are superlative cooks, btw, another and more meaningful term). She’s a cook’s cook, a woman Read On »

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