I published this last year in the Huffington Post on September 24, 2012, and it got such a strong response, I’m reposting it. Also I’m under the gun for two major book projects and two freelance assignments all due at once for some reason, not to mention sundry book promo interviews; I guess summer is over and fall is officially here. Sigh.—M.R. The Importance of Food? I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately, and not least of all because I’ve always strived to distance myself from the pigeonhole called “food writer.” Food is important, obviously. If we don’t have it, we die. Writing about something so important should need no justification. And yet if I were called, say, an “environmental journalist,” wouldn’t that sound somehow more substantial, more serious than being a “food writer”? Read On »

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I hate book tours. I hate leaving my house. But years ago when I was interviewing David McCullough for my book Wooden Boats, he noted how he hears that from authors all the time and said in his typical exuberant way, and with that inimitable voice, “I love book tours!” It helps that he is universally adored, of course, and is a fine and generous man fawned over wherever he appears. But I thought of him on my return from Durham and Chapel Hill where Anton Zuiker—communications director for Duke Medical Center 9 to 5, and journalist, blogger, husband, dad, angel and friend at all other hours—masterminded a book tour stop for me, in honor of Ruhlman’s Twenty, in the unlikely area known as the Research Triangle. The diversity of what one does to promote Read On »

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I made my staple Lemon-Cumin Dal the other day and while I served, Donna brought the pappadams over to the light for this photo. I always serve these Indian—what, crackers?—with dal. They add a delicate crisp crunch to the meal and an exotic (to me) flavor. If you’ve never served them, I urge you to try them. Not only delicious, but fun to cook! Made from lentil or chickpea flour, they’re sold as flat smooth discs. Slip them into hot oil and they puff and fold and are finished in five seconds. While I’m hoping a prominent food blogger, who publishes one of the most lovely recipe blogs I know, will try the recipe for this mung-bean-based dal, featured in Twenty, it reminds me of two other writer cooks specializing in Indian food. The wonderful Read On »

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Blogger Monica Bhide reflects on this combination of spices & how each household has their own recipe for it, via NPR

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