No, wrong. America has a serious THINKING disorder. See that white stuff raining down from my fingers? It’s salt. And it’s the way you should salt the food you cook on your stove top or the chicken that’s going into your oven. But if you listen to the ABC Nightly News reporting about The Dangers of Salt, aka ABC News acid reflux, and then read today’s NYTimes page one story saying that salt is not bad for you, you must be wondering who to listen to. Well if you are, just stop listening and think for your fucking self. I have a dear friend who prevents his kids from drinking any milk other than nonfat milk but thinks nothing of serving them Kraft Macaroni and Cheese. Seriously. (The nonfat milk issue is not uncommon, judging Read On »

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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 group who maintained their customary diet. It noted the existence of a “small but unsettling body of data suggesting that consuming polyunsaturated oils … may … increase your risk of heart disease.” (There’s lots of hemming and hawing in the piece due to the contrarian Read On »

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This 12-minute reading is from The Soul of a Chef, on my first experience with a tasting menu. Though I had special consideration at the meal—I was not a paying customer—it is an honest and emotional description of what remains the most important restaurant meal of my life. I thought it apropos, following my previous post addressing recent criticisms in the media of today’s tasting menus. It’s not a polished video—I simply set up a tripod in my kitchen before dinner and read—so please forgive my lack of video production skills! [For more information on what led up to my unlikely passage from unknown Cleveland-based writer to dinner at The French Laundry and what was to follow, read The Main Dish, a 35-page memoir of becoming an accidental food writer. It was published as a Read On »

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  “I always say this to the young chefs and mean it: The customer is excited, he says you are an artist, but we are not, just craftspeople with a little talent. If the chef is an artist, he doesn’t succeed. Why? Because he is inspired today but not tomorrow. We cannot do that.” —Andre Soltner (quoted in Forbes, May 2012) Back in in the fall of 2008, nearly five years ago, I moderated a discussion between Tony Bourdain and Marco Pierre White (insofar as those two former chefs can be moderated at all). MPW railed against the multi-course tasting menu, and Bourdain reiterated it, while Grant Achatz, feeling personally attacked, fumed in the audience. As I pointed out in a post addressing the event, The End of the Multi-Course Tasting? (scroll down past Tony’s curious remarks), Read On »

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Last election, I put up a big “Vote Obama” post in light of what I considered to be eight disastrous years of Bush, unnecessary war, and an economy that was going to take well more than four years to fix. I was at first surprised by some of the angry comments I got. A reader named Art wrote, “You’re a consommate [sic] chef. Leave it at that. Keep your friggin’ political opinions to yourself,” followed two minutes later by Joe: “Because you can cook, you can tell me for whom I’m to cast my vote? I don’t think so. Keep it in the kitchen—not the voting booth.” My response was more or less, “This site is my fucking yard and I can put up whatever sign I want.” And this led to more comments, pro Read On »

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