Ever since I wrote Ratio: The Simple Codes Behind the Craft of Everyday Cooking, I’ve been a proselytizer for the kitchen scale. It makes measuring easier and cleaner and more accurate, especially when using flour, which can be off by 50% if you measure by volume. So it was a great day when the company that makes these scales asked me to create my perfect scale. That was easy. It would read out in ounces and grams. It could handle at least ten pounds or more for when I make a lot of sausage. It would have a little pop out scale for measuring small amounts or spices and salts to the tenth of a gram. It would have face that you could pull away from the scale when you’ve got a big sheet Read On »

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I put a pic on instagram of guacamole two weeks ago and got enough fervent responses about cilantro and garlic salt, lack of chili to realize that people really care about their guacamole. As we here in America, we who make enough of this creamy delicacy to fill a football stadium on Super Bowl Sunday, are engaged in a dish now nearly as national as Turkey on Thanksgiving, I thought I’d fire up the old blog again to pronounce my conviction: Guacamole = avocado + lime + shallot + salt. And that’s it. The lovely Elise Bauer goes even further, a simplifier after my own heart. Guacamole, she says, needn’t be anything more than avocado and salt. And when you know that, you also know how easy it is to make it a little better—a Read On »

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In 1988, as a 25-year scholar at the Bread Loaf writers’ conference, I spotted one of the faculty, a pretty young novelist walking arm in arm with two other pretty young novelists (in fact, Jennifer Egan and Helen Schulman). But it was the one in the middle I called out to for reasons I don’t recall. She turned around. I introduced myself. She said hello and asked, “What do you want to do?” I said, “I want to write fiction.” She looked at me as if I were being silly and said, “You will.” She turned and walked away. I wouldn’t see her again for twenty years. I went on to write non-fiction and books about food and chefs. And then in the fall of 2015, I did indeed publish my first fiction. The book, In Read On »

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I recently wrote an essay for Thomas Keller’s magazine Finesse, for an issue themed evolution. Having worked so closely with Keller over the past twenty years, I asked to write about his evolution, as I’ve always been fascinated by it and wrote about it in Soul of a Chef. He’s still the same, but not the same. He’s evolving. Some things stay the same, some things must change. The salmon tartare in a savory tuile has been on the menu since day one. It was my first bite at the most memorable meal of my life on July 14th, 1997 (I read the scene here if you want to listen to it.) Other dishes vanish to be replaced by new ones. Having written the essay and wanting to return to per se, which took a Read On »

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                                                  Merry Christmas all! Hope Santa was good and brought you lots of cooking tools and/or delicious food. Hope all the cooks had success. And hope we all stopped to consider our blessings. And that we all listen to Linus, regardless of our religions. To paraphrase: “Peace and good will toward all peoples. That’s what Christmas is about, Charlie Brown.” “We are all Charlie Brown. Wishing you all a Happy New Year as it arrives.

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