A weeknight braise of chicken in red wine, coq au vin, photo by Donna Turner Ruhlman

It was the simplest of observations. I’d never heard it made, but it crystalized for me yet another facet of America’s dysfunctional relationship to food. I was listening to a podcast of “This American Life,” maybe the greatest show on radio, one from the archives called “Americans In Paris,” and featuring still another American treasure, David Sedaris. One of the Americans interviewed by the show’s host, Ira Glass, noted the joy with which the French eat and said, “Americans treat their food like medicine.” Exactly! We eat what’s “good” for us. We avoid what’s “bad” for us without really knowing what is good or bad for us. We eat probiotic food, such as yogurt with active cultures because it may be good for our gut flora. We avoid gluten because that’s what’s trending now. Yes, trending, Read On »

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Reposting this method from last year because, well, if you’re going to cook a standing rib roast now or ever, this is THE best way to do it. Every Christmas Day our family cooks a prime rib with Yorkshire pudding and a beef jus (made from beef-veal stock), and there’s no better way to cook a rack of beef or a whole beef tenderloin than this combination grill-roast method, which I’ve written about here before and in Ruhlman’s Twenty: A Cook’s Manifesto. It gives the meat great grilled flavor and allows you perfect control of temperatures and timing (the grilling can be done up to three days before the final cooking). The ribs themselves are an added benefit. You can serve them immediately, but I like to save them for a second leftover meal the Read On »

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The last Le Creuset video of the year is also my favorite, and one of the great celebratory meals available: goose! Le Creuset actually makes a goose pot—it’s even called a goose pot—and it is one big mother of a cooking vessel. I absolutely LOVE it. You could give a baby a bath in it. You could plant an herb garden in it during the summer. But here, we’re cooking goose! Believe it or not, it’s a relatively simple, make-ahead meal, using a dual cooking method. The goose is first braised in wine and water, which renders the abundant fat, cooks and tenderizes the goose, and becomes in itself a rich stock. Everything can then be chilled for up to three days and finished in an hour. Every december, a group of my oldest pals Read On »

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I’m starting to get Thanksgiving meal questions in my email, so I guess it’s time to review for our great shared secular holiday, Thanksgiving, our only holiday anchored by food. Time to start planning! I’ll have other posts later in the week, dressing, and stock-making for this weekend (have to have plenty of stock for dressing and gravy). Today, it’s the big one. How to handle the big bird. I find it amusing how every year the major food media come up with some new way to do the same old thing. Last year The New York Times told you to steam your turkey! Not that there’s anything wrong with the story or the technique (by the Jacques Pépin, after all). My view is why mess with what works? For important occasions, the rule is: Read On »

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A pork alternative to porchetta which is very popular with the people from the range in Minnesota, via Chow.

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