Paula Wolfert busy at work in her kitchen.  Photo by: Eric Wolfinger.

When the formidable Andrea Nguyen, author and teacher, wrote to me asking for help in promoting a kickstarter on behalf of a book about another of the country’s most important writers about food, I was eager to help. Within a day or two, Andrea wrote to say that they had reached their too-modest goal. But I still wanted to help and keep promoting because their print run is far smaller than it should be. This is potentially an important book about food and memory. So herewith, Andrea’s ode to Paula Wolfert (pictured above).–M.R. By Andrea Nguyen “I live in the now. I live for today and I make it work for me,” says Paula Wolfert in the Kickstarter video to fund a new book about her and her work. She’s speaking to lifestyle adjustments she’s made since her Read On »

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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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