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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Friday’s cocktail hour celebrates not simply a classic, but a cocktail that has been horribly debased even during its relatively short life span. Of unverified origins, the Margarita seems to have come into play in the 1940s. But since then, America has trashed it. Served in pitchers of ice. Countless inane variations. Dispensed slushy out of spigots at bad tiki bars. Who invented the frozen margarita? Does anyone know? If drinks were for kids, I’d say, go to town, but adults drinking frozen margaritas, well, I think they’re embracing their inner Popsicle-loving six-year-old (and would be better off with a Popsicle in the afternoon, followed by a cocktail in the evening). We’ve been on a tequila run these past few weeks after our return from Canyon country and will finish here with a classic Margarita, Read On »

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Michael is taking a break from the blog for 10 days. He remains, he says, “very grateful to the readers and especially to the commenters who have offered so much great thought, information, skepticism, and humor.” He hopes to be back a week from Wednesday, provided he does not lose his way, and until then is reposting some of the posts other readers have found useful. — Emilia  Charcuterie at Home: Beef Jerky Originally posted March 2, 2009 Among the most easy and satisfying preservation techniques is beef jerky: cut strips of lean beef (the less expensive the cut, the better), salt and season them, let them cure for a day in the fridge, then spread them out on a rack to dry. When my daughter asked me to buy some at the store, I Read On »

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Lydia Walshin of the Perfect pantry shares her recipe for grilled honey lime chicken, via The Perfect Pantry.

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