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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ABC has a regular feature called “Made in America,” which praises small businesses that make goods here. Advertisers have found that “Made in the USA” is a powerful marketing device. I myself have a feel-good response to anything made in this country. But what does it really mean? How critical is it? Steve Jobs said point-blank, and to the president, about manufacturing Apple products in China, “Those jobs are gone and they aren’t coming back.” Full stop. (Anyone interested in business and innovation, btw, should read Walter Isaacson’s riveting biography of Jobs.) New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman makes the point regularly that the way to energize the U.S. economy is not by creating legions of workers who can put a glass screen onto an iPad faster and cheaper than they can in China, but Read On »

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  Cocktail Name Winner “Major Award,” from Stefan Was, of Cleveland, OH This was chosen from many, many wonderful names, by Paulius and Claudia, and I whole-heartedly embrace this great and elegant name, in its saying Cleveland without using Cleveland, its nuanced suggestion of Christmas and fun without saying either. Poetry! “Major Award” is a reference, of course, to one of my favorite movies, “A Christmas Story,” which opens in Cleveland’s Public Square. Donna and I never see a box with “Fragile” written on it without saying aloud, “Fra-GEE-lay.” Darren McGavin’s major award was of course, the famous leg lamp. Stop by Paulius’s Velvet Tango Room, and you’ll see the lamp in an upstairs window. Stefan, Paulius says come on in and you’ll have a Major Award on the house. I’ll get a copy of Read On »

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