I had an unstoppable hunger this past weekend for old-Chicago-style all-beef hotdogs from Vienna Beef, the best hotdog in the country in my opinion. I wanted that charred skin flavor of summer, the grill smoke from fat dripping on coals, the juicy snap when you bite into them. I decided to make buns. Why? Because, we were inviting friends (great food must be shared); I had a cool hot dog pan from American Pan; I had never made them before; and most important, the best hot dogs deserve special treatment. One of the great things about cooking is that you’re subliminally eating the entire time, a kind of calorie-free spiritual nourishment, and I was thinking about the hot dogs the whole time in the kitchen (with good mustard and minced sweet onion). Hot dog buns Read On »

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A refreshing recipe for thai basil watermelon margaritas, via Bob Vivant.

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How to execute the perfect Nicoise salad from fish to vegetable to dressing, via Guardian UK.

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One of my missions in writing about food is to encourage more people to cook for their friends and families. Many, many people tell me, “I want to cook healthy affordable meals for my family, but I’m just so busy.” So, I did a post on staple meals, since staple meals, the ones you return to on a weekly basis, are defined by ease, speed, goodness of flavor, and economy. (Another of ours is tomato basil pasta—see the iPhone video of a cool tomato water technique.) The first thing you need to do to make it easy for your busy schedule is to plan! Have a plan. The above is one of our summer favorites, the same staple meal I posted about before, only on the grill. Especially great on hot nights when you don’t want Read On »

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When I was a sophomore at Duke, 1982, I fell in love with a beautiful freshman on a delirious post-Dead-show spinning fall late afternoon on Duke’s main quad. We dated all that year and I moved to Manhattan to work for the summer as an intern at a magazine to be with her. Her parents took us to Shun Lee West, her favorite Chinese restaurant, a few blocks from Lincoln Center.  One of her father’s best friends was Arthur Gelb, managing editor of The New York Times, whom I met frequently throughout that summer. We talked about writing, and he electrified me with stories of reporting and the newspaper life. He was a galvanic newspaper man, lionized in Gay Talese’s The Kingdom and the Power, biographer of Eugene O’Neill with his wife Barbara, and discoverer of great Read On »

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