The word of the year, “selfie” explained by cartoonist Robert Mankoff, via New Yorker.  

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  All I wanted for my fiftieth birthday was to eat all the lobster I could, with a good white wine and a Blanton’s bourbon after. I remember when my mom turned fifty because Donna insisted on doing something special for her, while I lamely lay in bed, scratching my head (within the hour she’d marshaled friends and chartered a plane to Key West for lunch). My dad did a fifty-mile bike ride on his fiftieth with his girlfriend Pat; she was incensed by the arduous journey (“Rip,” she hissed, “you don’t need a woman, you need a machine,” to which he replied, “I just realized it’s my fiftieth birthday”). They were so much older, fifty an impossibly remote age to me, a 25-year-old. Yet here I am now, on that very day. In a wistful Read On »

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A year ago, my neighbor, Lois Baron, said she had to leave a party early to make schmaltz, as the High Holy days of the Jewish year approached and she was the cook in the family. Long having wanted to explore this oft-maligned fat, I asked for Lois’s help in understanding its history and use. (Almost everyone refers to it as “heart attack food,” but it’s not. It’s good for you! In moderation. Lois is in her 70s and cooks like a banshee, her husband Russell is in his 80s and still practices law, and Lois’s mom cooked schmaltz well into her 90s, though she wouldn’t admit it.) Schmaltz, rendered chicken fat flavored with onion, was such an odd topic, and so focused, it didn’t seem like a big-book idea, so Donna encouraged me to Read On »

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Tracy Jones, executive director of the AIDS Taskforce of Greater Cleveland. Photos by Donna Turner Ruhlman. October 14, 2012, Cleveland Heights—I’ve just walked home from a brunch held by a neighbor, and now friend, Susan Zull, to benefit the AIDS Taskforce of Greater Cleveland. In 2000, I lost one of my closest friends, Rusty King, who was my news-writing mentor and advocate when he was a copy editor on the National desk at the New York Times and I was a little scut copyboy most editors didn’t see unless they shouted “COPY!” (Rusty’s fellow copy editors, @FromCarl and @EricAsimov, were also there and were wonderful to us urchins as well—thank you, guys! And where is Jeanne Pinder, who was on Foreign, and on whom I had a crush?) So that’s why I was in a Read On »

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  Last week, while I stood by my Big Green Egg, smoking a big fat pork belly (for bacon) and two fat beef briskets (for pastrami), I couldn’t help but think how am I going to eat this delicious food? It was a warm, sunny day and I could actually smell the tomato vines behind me, so I thought, bacon and tomato, mmm. Then I remembered the wonderful BLT from Scratch challenge, and the inspirational response to it. Hard to believe it was three years ago. Here it is again, and I assure you, there is no finer sandwich than one that takes months to prepare! Here’s the link to the winners. The above, with that fabulous home-cured slab of bacon, was one of the best of my life. My BLT From Scratch Originally posted on September Read On »

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