We’re back again with another valuable technique, the water bath, essential for gentle cooking. The water bath uses the miracle tool, water. Water makes life as we know it possible. It’s one of the only substances that expands when it freezes rather than contracts (if it didn’t, ice would sink, not simply ruining your gin and tonic, but rendering the gin and tonic moot, as most of habitable earth would be flooded). Water cannot go above 212°F in normal circumstances (it can if you heat it under pressure or, with less pressure, specifically at high altitudes, it turns to gas at lower temperatures). And importantly, it cools as it evaporates (which is why sweating cools our body). In this video we use it to gently cook emulsified shrimp and cream, mixed with whole chunks of Read On »

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  When Donna and I published The Book of Schmaltz as an app for iPads, I never expected it to be published as a book book. (Yes, even though it’s called “The Book of.”) And yet, I always knew that would be its most valuable form. The book’s muse, for instance, my neighbor Lois Baron, had never even held an iPad, and she’s the ideal customer. And I’m lucky my editor at Little, Brown thought publishing an actual book was a good idea, too. Tomorrow, The Book of Schmaltz is officially released as a book book. David Leite wrote this about the app when it came out. Max Gross wrote about the book in this weekend’s New York Post. (Though I must take issue with the use of “grease” in the headline. Schmaltz is a Read On »

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  Forrest Pritchard is a seventh-generation family farmer (skip this intro and read his guest post below if you’re pressed for time). His farm, Smith Meadows, is in Berryville, Virginia. The guy is clearly a lunatic, as his new book, Gaining Ground: A Story of Farmers’ Markets, Local Food, and Saving the Family Farm, shows (here’s the Publishers Weekly review of the book). He’s also started a blog (because he has so much time on his hands)—read this excellent post on What NOT to Ask the Grower at Your Local Market, it’s hilarious. Thanks to our mutual friend, Carol Blymire, Forrest offered to write a guest post I’m proud to put up here. I love to write about my region’s farmers, such as livestock farmer Aaron Miller and a record store clerk who got it in his head to raise Read On »

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By contractual agreement with Little, Brown, venerable publisher of so many of my favorite authors, I will be UNPUBLISHING The Book of Schmaltz: Love Song to a Forgotten Fat tomorrow morning, so that Little, Brown can roll out the book in hardcover this coming August. So, if you want it for your iPad or iPad mini at the lowest price you’ll ever see it, get it now (it’s received nothing but critical raves, I’m proud to say, and is being offered at half the price it will go for electronically in August and for one-quarter its hardcover jacket price). If you already own it, don’t delete it from your device and you will continue to be able to use it (see note at bottom of post for more info). It will be republished after the hardcover Read On »

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So here’s the kind of Mom my wife and collaborator, Donna, is. On Saturday, at 5:30 she had just showered and was getting ready for a 6:30 party when her 17-year-old daughter asks if she, Donna, can take her to get that smart phone upgrade as hers, daughter’s, is broken. The teenaged daughter is not the most appreciative member of homo sapiens, remember, and Donna would not be unreasonable to say “I’m not dressed and we’re going out soon; this can wait till tomorrow,” but instead, she says, “Sure, hon, but we have to hurry.” Here’s the kind of wife Donna is. For Mother’s Day a few years ago, I bought her a really good wheelbarrow. She was ecstatic, and made googly eyes at me. I felt so lucky. A wheelbarrow! Mom’s Day is important. Read On »

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