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By Emilia Juocys The Christmas baking season is upon us again and I could not be happier for the cookies that will be coming out of my oven. The usual suspects of chocolate chip, ginger pig, chocolate orange crinkles, cat’s tongues, and dream bars are in the works. Baked treats for my family and friends. The funny thing was that I was so excited for Christmas cookies because earlier this year the Chicago chef and cookie goddess Mindy Segal came out with her cookie book, Cookie Love. I jumped for joy because the book has the most-delicious rugelach recipe ever! So if you are looking for a dazzling cookie book to give to your baker this holiday, sprint to get this one. Every year I mention why I enjoy sharing these tasty morsels and how that brings smiles to Read On »

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I met MyThy at Sister Pie, where she works prepping pie filling and mixing dough for cookies, scones, crumbles, and pie crust. Plus, she has a killer Instagram account and blog. Like Lisa, who owns and operates Sister Pie, MyThy also has a creative culinary mind and bakes amazing cookies and breads. This is why I asked her to submit a recipe to Michael’s blog.  When she is not in the kitchen you can find her saving lives as an ER nurse at a local hospital in Detroit. She cares for people during the day, saving lives on- and off-hours. She nourishes people by feeding them her latest concoctions. MyThy then takes leftovers back and feeds her coworkers baked goodies to boost morale for those with grueling ER shifts. The staff call them “Mighty Treats!” MyThy is a Southern Californian native, transplanted to Michigan, aka the Mitten State (which plays Read On »

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I typically get sent what must be hundreds of pounds of cookbooks in the fall and so have a fair idea of the landscape of new books. Owing to an uncommon amount of travel, I haven’t had the opportunity this year. But I was sent one book to blurb (“say nice things about”) that goes above and beyond any cookbook I’ve seen since Nathan Myrhvold and company’s Modernist Cuisine. That book is The Food Lab, by Kenji López-Alt, Managing Culinary Director of Serious Eats, named for his cooking column there. That column first appeared in 2009. Over the next half-decade, this uber food geek tackled all kinds of cooking experiments to determine the very best way to cook, say, eggs. Kenji has combined knowledge gleaned over half a decade, reshaping it and putting all this knowledge, all this work, Read On »

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This is a followup to Emilia’s previous post and it makes me want to weep with gratitude. This is one way we can change things. —M.R. By Emilia Juocys Last weekend I went to Columbus, Ohio, to help my friend Tricia Keels run her Backyard Kids’ Restaurant. To see a suburban backyard transform into a restaurant is amazing, and to watch all the children and parents participate in this event is inspirational. The energy level is so high and it’s such a positive affirming experience. Plus, I get to teach both children and adults about food! For this year’s menu we offered house-made Italian sausages, Swedish meatballs, an insanely good Swedish meatball gravy (beef demiglace, sautéed onions, vermouth, cream), cucumber salsa, a jumbo Glad bag of tortilla chips, black beans, pickled okra, lots of grilled vegetables, house-ground flour pancakes, local blueberry Read On »

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I’ve long said the way to help change the way America eats is to teach kids to cook. This is a story from my colleague Emilia in which kids not only cook, but rather take it to a new level, using cooking to bring a community together.—M.R. By Emilia Juocys I met Tricia Keels at Eat Retreat in the summer of 2014. Both from the Midwest (she from Ohio and I Michigan) and sharing a passion for food, we immediately hit it off. She briefly mentioned her nonprofit Souper Heroes and this “kid-run restaurant” her family throws in their backyard once a year. But with everything going on at the retreat, the thought slipped away. Until I got a call from her last August with the words, “I think we need your help.” The Keels Backyard Restaurant was born Read On »

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