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I’ve long said the way to help change the way America to eat 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 Read On »

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  By Emilia Juocys How does one react when they find out the news that their mentor is closing a chapter of their career? At first, compete shock, and then one becomes comfortable with the idea and accepts it. That is how you associated them to their current position in life and now it is no longer going to hold true. That full-time occupation or passion will always be a part of them, but now they are morphing into a different phase in their life. I don’t think it matters if you are a teacher, doctor, entrepreneur, chef, or restaurateur. A couple of months ago I found out that my mentor, my culinary father Chef Brian Polcyn (yes, coauthor of Charcuterie and Salumi), was giving up the reins as chef/proprietor of Forest Grill, outside Detroit. Unless you really know Chef Polcyn or follow his antics, especially when he is with Ruhlman, you would Read On »

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Guest post by (my dear friend and assistant) Emilia Juocys It was just Thanksgiving last week, right? Oh, wait, Christmas is this week. That means I have to get into high gear for cookie baking and prepping Christmas Eve dinner. Time has flown by so fast, and I’ve been curling across the Midwest and up in Canada. No matter where I am, I am drawn to local bakeries to see their holiday offerings or talk about baking traditions from local hosts. Home baking soothes me, calms me—even if I bake at 2:00 in the morning listening to dance music, my bake rave time. Measuring ingredients, creaming the fats and sugars, rolling out dough, cutting shapes; I just love it all. Cookie baking is my passion. Cookies are the best to share with friends and family. This year I Read On »

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After my assistant, Emilia Juocys, returned from a food-related trip to California, I asked her how it was. I’d heard about Eat Retreat but didn’t have a clear sense of what it was. I said, “Why don’t you write a post about it.”Though what she sent me was considerably more personal than I’d anticipated, it also underscored what we all recognize: the power of food to connect us to one another. —M.R. By Emilia Juocys With all of the changes I have experienced in the last 12 months I needed to do something different and meet some new people, especially in the culinary world. Chicago had been great to me but I left in the fall to return home because I was getting divorced after nine years of marriage. Never expected it, but life happens, people change, and the Read On »

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Every year in about September I start thinking about what cookies I want to bake for Michael’s blog. Its starts off as a long list and then gets cut down, so a variety of cookies are presented, ranging from classics to new formulations. This year I wanted to share two new recipes: a Cardamom Ginger Coconut cookie, inspired by my love of Indian food, and a gluten-free Linzer cookie. After spending time with a teammate who is gluten intolerant I decided to make a cookie just for her. The cardamom ginger coconut cookie has a soft spot in my heart because it marries the incredible base dough of my chocolate chips cookies and Indian cuisine. This cookie warms you with aromatics, cardamom and coriander. You get extra warmth from the minced crystalized ginger. There may Read On »

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