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When I saw Sam Sifton announcing in the NYTimes weekly cooking letter that he was featuring a video by Amanda Hesser and Merrill Stubbs on How To Make a Grilled Cheese Sandwich Without a Recipe, I checked the calendar. Nope, not April 1st. What could they possibly be thinking? I wondered. Who needs a recipe for grilled cheese? Or am I that out of touch? When all the cooks out there hanker for a grilled cheese sandwich do they go in search of a recipe? Honestly, I thought it was a spoof. And I love all parties involved and have great respect for all three mentioned. Sifton has done an amazing job overseeing the expansion of the Times’s food offerings, both in the paper and importantly online (did you see the great video on the Times food Read On »

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Salt and fat does a body ight or wrong? Photo by Donna Turner Ruhlman

I’m on the road all week so I am reposting this, in light of the new governmental recommendations on what we should and should not eat. The Times article noted in the post, interestingly, is from almost exactly two years ago. —M.R. Originally Posted March 14, 2013 I’d have thought that an article in last Sunday’s New York Times Magazine, Eat Your Heart Out by Gretchen Reynolds, would have made me happy. I’ve long argued that America’s terror of fat and salt is misguided and blown grossly out of proportion. But all the piece did was make me mad. It notes a study that found that men with heart disease who reduced their intake of meat and saturated fats and increased the polyunsaturated fats in their diet were more likely to die of a heart attack than the control Read On »

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family-meal-@1020

  Virginia Heffernan adds to the increasing noise about how unfair cooking is for working moms in the NYT magazine. I’m a fan of her work, but her Sunday essay, a long, shrill, monochromatic whine about not liking to cook dinner, is so sad and self-unaware I feel compelled to figure out my own thoughts on a subject I write about regularly. I don’t disagree that there are many people who really don’t like cooking. More, I’ve argued that it’s probably important that every family includes people who don’t like to cook. But I do think cooking food where you live is important, as readers here know, and we fail to recognize just how important at our peril. Heffernan early on calls Ruth Reichl pompous for saying that cooking food is the most important thing you can Read On »

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Fish-Heads@1020

I’m finishing up the third of four technique books this week, then giving myself an end-of-summer break. I’ll be back September 2nd. In the meantime, have a look at the best gone fishing essay of the year by NYTimes reporter C.J. Chivers. Enjoy your summer before it’s all gone!   If you liked this post, take a look at these links: My past summer posts on ceviche and fried chicken. Several weeks of summer still left, here are a few of Travel’s Best Summer Foods. Our favorite ice cream splurge Columbus’ own Jeni’s ice cream, which now has various locations around the United States. © 2014 Michael Ruhlman. Photo © 2014 Donna Turner Ruhlman. All rights reserved.  

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grinding meat

It’s summertime, for crying out loud! Nothing beats the smell of the smoke when hot fat hits hot coals. Grilling alone is a primal pleasure. Grilling among friends is a social pleasure. The flavor of a grilled burger is different from that of one fried in a cast iron pan–it takes on many complexities of the smoke, and if you’ve built a really hot fire, flames will lick the burger, adding even more complex Maillard flavors from all these differing heat levels. Grilled burgers have incomparable flavor for these reasons.   Why am I going on about the greatness, the inimitable deliciousness of the all-American summertime staple? Because my pal Michael Symon urged people, in the NYTimes of all places, to avoid using a grill because, “A grill is too difficult.”   Let me repeat Read On »

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