Martinez-2@540

                                                          I’m in Chicago this weekend interviewing and hanging out with Grant Achatz. Grant, executive chef of Chicago’s Alinea, Next, and the innovative cocktail hub Aviary, is of course one of the most talented cooks and chefs in the country, but what makes this relationship special for me is that I first met Grant at the French Laundry, where he was, when I arrived to discuss writing The French Laundry Cookbook with Thomas Keller, a 23-year-old working garde manger station. I think I’ll be reflecting on all that’s happened in this nearly two-decade span. Until then, a repost of one of my favorite cocktails, of my own creation and named Read On »

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A. Gelburg

Photograph by Marion Ettlinger/Corbis Outline                 “Ambition and a little luck are good things for a writer to have going for him. Too much ambition and bad luck, or no luck at all, can be killing.” The above quotation comes from a great essay on writing by Raymond Carver. I think of it now because I have been lucky, and when one of the sources of the great good fortunes of your life dies, you should take note, and give thanks. I was lucky enough to be friends with the Sulzberger family (owners of the New York Times) when I was in college, and through them met Arthur Gelb, then deputy managing editor of the paper. I wasn’t even a college junior yet and I’d never published a word, Read On »

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  My thoughts on seeing “Fed Up,” the documentary about the causes of the American (and now increasingly global) obesity epidemic are not complex. It’s all pretty mortifying, if completely unsurprising. Sugar is bad for you if you eat too much of it. So is lettuce. The problem is, sugar is turning out to be the most dangerous nontoxic compounds you can eat, and it’s in 80% of the 600,000 items stocking our grocery stores. Whereas it would be really hard to eat too much lettuce. And there isn’t much difference between eating a bowl of sugar and eating a bowl of cereal. Most people in America are unable to eat anything other than products with added sugar. And the Grocery Manufacturers Association, the Food Marketing Institute, and other Big Sugar factions are doing all Read On »

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Pimm's-Cup

It’s 45 goddam degrees as I write this—morning but it’s only supposed to go up 6 more degrees by midday, and I am so tired of this cold gloomy weather I’ve decided to offer one of the great warm-weather libations, the Pimm’s Cup. It was downright hot last week, and the lilacs and dogwood are in bloom, so I make today’s Friday cocktail a harbinger of the warm weather to come. And for those of you who live where’s it’s already hot. Also, I now have a new fave of all Donna’s cocktail shots. Nice lighting on that pour, hon! (Photo by Donna Turner Ruhlman.) My first encounter with Pimm’s Cup came once again from my dear old pal Blake. It was even before we were living together, when he was holed up trying to Read On »

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Mushrooms-1

We have a wonderful mushroom grower at our farmers’ market and as mushrooms are one of Donna’s favorite foods, I try to cook them as often as possible. (The above photo by Donna shows shiitake and sliced lion’s mane mushrooms.) But a lot of people ask me the best way to cook them. While there’s no one single right way, my preferred method is a high-heat sear followed by a deglazing with white wine, then adding butter and finishing over low heat. This goes back to my days as a cook at Sans Souci in Cleveland, where I worked only briefly. But the executive chef there was Claude Rodier, who had trained under French chef Roger Vergé. He told me the above—get the pan super hot; sear them to get color, which means flavor; then Read On »

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