As I've said before, I always find the most interesting or thought-provoking things at Maria Popova's site Brainpicker. A few days ago she unearthed a rare 1961 book that is perfect for lovers of literature, art, and the melding of all that with cooking...
Fans of food and science, rejoice! Mary Roach's new book, Gulp: Adventures on the Alimentary Canal explores the fascinating, at times bizarre, science behind the process of eating. Embracing the topic with infectious curiosity and her signature sense of humor, Roach enters the world of pet food tasters, plunges her arm into the rumen of a living cow, visits a prison to talk to a man with a talent for smuggling contraband in his — well, let's just call it the end of his alimentary canal — and looks into how Elvis really died.
After spending a week regaling my friends and loved ones with my favorite surprising facts from the book, I sat down with the author to ask her a little more about her adventures.
For his New York Times column this week, Mark Bittman sat down with Michael Pollan to talk about this new book Cooked: A Natural History of Transformation, out Tuesday. The book (I can't wait to read it!) is largely about the importance of cooking...
A good knife is any cook's most important tool. We've shared our favorites, but it's always cool to see what the pros use. Six rockstar chefs recently shared their top knife picks with Details magazine, and interestingly enough, they all had one thing in common:
I first became aware of the British writer and cookbook author Fuchsia Dunlop when her book Shark’s Fin and Sichuan Pepper: A Sweet-Sour Memoir of Eating in China was published in the US back in 2008. It's a fascinating tale of how she discovered and fell in love with a culture much different than the one she grew up in, mostly through eating and preparing and educating herself in their cuisine. Shark's Fin is still high on my most recommended book list, so I was very excited to speak with Fuchsia Dunlop about her take on the 5 essential things a good cook should know, with a Chinese twist.
As the host of NPR's All Songs Considered, Bob Boilen knows music. So when it comes to creating the perfect dinner party playlist, who better to ask than the man who listens to thousands of songs every year? His playlist, as told to House Beautiful, is pretty great — a terrific mix of artists (Jeff Buckley! Jónsi! LCD Soundsystem!) and styles to keep the party going.
I am an unabashed lover of romantic comedies. And like most diehard romantic comedy fans — if you'll permit me to be a curmudgeon for a moment — I also believe the genre had its heyday in the 90's, mostly due to Nora Ephron, writer and director of such classics as Sleepless in Seattle, When Harry Met Sally, and You've Got Mail. (Thanks to Ms. Ephron, I learned the word "tweaking" from that film, and how much I wanted Meg Ryan's haircut. And wardrobe. And irresistible charm.) Nora Ephron died last June, and I've since discovered she was an avid home cook and dinner party hostess extraordinaire. What made her parties so memorable? Well, one clue can be found in her Rule of Four theory:
When I started planning the polenta supper I shared with you earlier this week, I immediately knew I wanted a huge board for serving. My husband and I considered making one ourselves from a sanded piece of lumber, but we didn't have the time or space to work on it. So I turned to Elizabeth Bryant and Andrew Gray of Gray Works Design, whose boards I've long admired. The board they loaned me for this party was the most beautifully crafted, custom-milled slab of silver maple. It was a far cry from the rougher sort of board we would have made; this one had so much more beauty and character.
It made me think of the role that one beautiful, handcrafted piece can play in a party or in the home; real craftsmanship is always a joy to encounter. To get more of Gray Works' perspective on this, I chatted with Elizabeth a little bit about their approach to sustainability, inspiration, and the tension between the wild and the domestic.
I've been a fan of Karen Solomon's work for a long time, ever since I read and reviewed her first book Jam It, Can It, Pickle It back in the early days of the DIY kitchen revolution. We've come a long way since then. Canning and pickling are no longer grandma skills in need of rescuing from the brink of oblivion, thanks to people like Karen who have spent years testing and experimenting, discovering and inventing, helping to make the art of preservation fun and exciting.
But how does Karen handle day-to-day cooking in her home kitchen? What are the five essential things she believes a home cook should know? Read on for her fun, eclectic list!
There are many reasons why I wouldn't mind being a houseguest of my favorite British cook and cookbook author Nigel Slater, but his nightly ritual of making up a pot of yogurt for the next day is near to the top. For over 30 years Nigel has been whisking up a small bowl of milk with a few tablespoons of live yogurt and milk powder and leaving it on the counter to rest overnight, wrapped up tight in a thick towel. By the next day, he has a lovely bowl of thick, silky yogurt. Now that's a way to start your day!