I posted yesterday on twitter that I began cooking because I was hungry but continued to cook because I loved to eat, and it got me thinking.  There are so many different reasons to cook, as a number of twitters pointed out.  Self-defense was a good one!  And with the state of our processed food, one that every cook can claim!  Can I encourage other bloggers to post about why you cook?  Spell it out.  Writing it down forces you to know what you think.  When I was nine, I cooked because I was hungry and making things was fun.  Today, age 46 and devoted to family, I cook because: —I want my family to have great food all the time that’s tasty and good for their body and brains. —I cook because it relaxes Read On »

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After my minor salt rant, a number of people asked which salt to use and what I thought about various salts.  There are a mind-numbing array of salts out there, even big blocks of salt you can cook and serve on.  But, with apologies to Mark Bitterman, whose work and business I truly admire, I stick to three salts.  Kosher is my all-purpose, everyday, really-don’t-need-any-other-kind salt.  I use Morton’s because that’s what my grocery store stocks. If they offered a choice, I’d use Diamond Crystal, which is flakier and doesn’t have any anti-caking agents in it.  It’s just salt.  I use fine sea salt to season fish and vegetables I eat raw.  And I use a finishing salt for visual and textural appeal, fleur de sel or Maldon. I was given some smoked salt, which Read On »

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The salt issue.  People keep bringing it up as though it’s news. A new report says reduce your salt by 1/2 teaspoon a day and you will be more healthy (as though that alone would do it). The fact is, we have struggled to make our food so inexpensive that we’ve basically decided to grow cardboard, which, if you’ve ever tasted it, requires plenty of salt, especially if you intend to serve it to guests. Why do you think food is so cheap?  Because there’s nothing of value in it! Including flavor. Thus, the salt. Do we really need The New England Journal of Medicine to tell us this, or to have the earnest emotive Diane Sawyer reporting it during the dinner hour as though if we just kept our hands off that salt shaker Read On »

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When she said it to me, it rang in my head clear as a bell.  I’ve repeated it a hundred times.  I was talking with Carol Blymire last spring about Ratio, and how to promote it.  I was biting my knuckles over this, terrified no one would understand it or even care—it used weights, required a scale, looked like math might be involved, was incredibly presumptuous, etc.  Carol was behind me all the way and said, “No, you’re right.  The book is good.  Americans are being taught we’re too stupid to cook and it’s simply not true.” That one sentence crystallized the issue for me, turned my frustration from a wall into a lens.  Americans are being taught that we’re too stupid to cook.  That cooking is so hard we need to let other people Read On »

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