I remember cooking for my dear Uncle Jon at my dad’s house, and after sticking my finger into a simmering pot of sauce to taste it, he looked at me as if I’d just spit into the food. When I confirmed that he was indeed concerned about germs, I was astonished. He seemed to have no idea that any bacteria on my finger would be killed by the heat (billions on the food and in the pot probably had been) and that my hands were the cleanest in the kitchen because, as I was cooking, I was continually washing them. (Please no comments from ID docs telling me about heat-resistant toxins; I’m not picking my nose and sticking it in food.) Yes, the cleanest hands in the kitchen. I was alerted to the new Read On »

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  As the holidays wind down and before we look forward toward 2014, I’m looking back on a few of the more popular posts of the year. One of the most trafficked was inspire by a report, picked up at face value by all the media it seems, that urged people not to wash their chicken because it sprayed bacteria all over the place. The ever sensible and funny Alton Brown, tweeted a post-it commentary that inspired this: Bacteria! RUN AWAY! RUN AWAY! America’s ridiculous and idiotic fear of bacteria. Of course, we all want to be happy and healthy. Here’s my advice: Cook Your Own Food. Eat What You Want. (Think for Yourself.) The irony of it is that I don’t think you should follow it, as I explain in the post. And more ranting on the general Read On »

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Singer David Byrne sheds light on internet based music sites and who benefits from them; not the artist, via The Guardian.

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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! Her last guest post was something of a rant, which I’m always in favor of! This is a lovely primer on something we do often but tend to ignore the finer points of, boiling pasta, and to me, the finer points are what make cooking fun  Take it away, Steph! —M.R. A few weeks ago I talked about the demerits of cheap pasta and left you with the notion that artisan-made dry pasta is leagues ahead of its tasteless, texture-less, mass-produced cousins. It’s also worth noting that cooking dry pasta is an art in and of itself; while it’s a Read On »

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The NPR blog Salt started a small #chickenshitstorm Monday when Maria Godoy wrote about a Drexel University study and campaign (a campaign!) to end the dangerous practice of washing chicken in your sink at home. The story was picked up by Slate editor L.V. Anderson and spread from there. Reaching many, including television star and renowned post-it artist, Alton Brown, whose 5-post-it editorial sums up the feelings of many cooks and chefs. When I wrote to him asking to use the image here, he added a header to the email: “We all need to calm the fuck down!” I love that about Alton. He’s right. And he’s right to shout. This shit is getting out of hand. Why are so many people so fucking afraid of their food? Wash your chicken or don’t wash it. Read On »

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