Christopher Freeman, and his kids Tatum and Cash, cooking together/photo by Justin Park-Yanovitch

Christopher Freeman began his adult life, as I did, aspiring to be a novelist, and was exactly as successful at it as I was. For money work, he was an academic book editor, a job he found so personally soul-killing, he turned to his love of food. He’s now not just a cook and caterer in D.C., he’s security-cleared to work in the White House and at other State venues, including all the dinners at our Vice President’s residence. (The Washington Post wrote about him a few years ago.)  I was in our capital last month talking schmaltz, and Freeman, in the audience, raised his hand to ask a question not about schmaltz, but rather about Ruhlman’s Twenty. His praise was so genuine and effusive I asked if I could use it to tell others. What Read On »

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Just a quick reminder that I sign and personalize all my books on request. Just go to my books page, scroll to what you want, and click the “Buy a signed copy” button. We can guarantee before-Xmas arrival only if you order by the end of the day Monday, December 16. In the spirit of the holidays, and because I hate shipping charges, I am now offering FREE SHIPPING. But please, and this is really important, tell me who you want the book signed to by clicking the WHAT THE NOTE INCLUDED SHOULD SAY button before you hit the “pay now” button. Also, I’d like to GIVE AWAY a signed copy of Ruhlman’s Twenty AND The Book of Schmaltz to the first person who can guess my favorite 5-digit number. [Update: The winner was Melissa Fujimoto, Read On »

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For her high school graduation lunch last week, my daughter asked for my fried chicken. Normally, I break down a chicken into 9 pieces and cook it and serve it. But we’d invited friends, bringing our total number to 20. Fried chicken for 20 is different from fried chicken for four. I had no intention of spending all that time frying while hosting the lunch. But it wasn’t until we were seated and one of the guests, while biting into a juicy drumstick, asked, “You can do this ahead of time?” did I realize that I must, must post on this subject, to deepen our understanding and encourage more cooking of one of the greatest dishes in the American repertoire. Yes, this can be done the day ahead. Follow all the steps below, though you Read On »

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  Short version: I ask you, cherished reader, what book would you like me to write next? Update, 5/9, 8 p.m.: A winner has been chosen using randomizer: Aaron Weiss, a journalist and TV news director in Sioux City, Iowa. Thanks for commenting, Aaron, and for cooking with your family! Thank you everyone. Frankly, I was astonished by all the ideas and fascinated by the patterns. Still making my way through the nearly 500 comments. My favorite suggestion, got filtered out due to a spam issue, from regular reader and commenter, Bob Tenaglio: I’d call the book “Time; The Secret Ingredient You’ll Never See On Iron Chef,” and it would delve into dry-aged meat, fermentation, enzymatic transformation, what constitutes “freshness” and “rot,” the role of rigor mortis in meats and seafood, “low and slow,” development Read On »

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So here’s the kind of Mom my wife and collaborator, Donna, is. On Saturday, at 5:30 she had just showered and was getting ready for a 6:30 party when her 17-year-old daughter asks if she, Donna, can take her to get that smart phone upgrade as hers, daughter’s, is broken. The teenaged daughter is not the most appreciative member of homo sapiens, remember, and Donna would not be unreasonable to say “I’m not dressed and we’re going out soon; this can wait till tomorrow,” but instead, she says, “Sure, hon, but we have to hurry.” Here’s the kind of wife Donna is. For Mother’s Day a few years ago, I bought her a really good wheelbarrow. She was ecstatic, and made googly eyes at me. I felt so lucky. A wheelbarrow! Mom’s Day is important. Read On »

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