Mark Bittman Argues for Octopus

From the NY Times Dining Section 03.05.08

In this week's New York Times' Dining Section - it's all about octopus! In A Treat Whose Time May Be Here, Mark Bittman revisits the big, intimidating octopus. He explains that frozen is just as good as fresh, and that cooking it isn't that hard. What do you think? Read and tell us if you're convinced!

More below, including Harold McGee's take on octopus, a thorough examination of MSG (and how it can help us cook better), and a great new expanded Food Stuff section with balsamic honey, smoked pancetta, and more...

To Cook an Octopus: Forget the Cork, Add Science - Harold McGee picks up where Bittman leaves off and gives the science behind cooking the big squid.

Yes, MSG, the Secret Behind the Savor - Chinese restaurant syndrome and other false ideas of MSG's bad influences have been thoroughly debunked, but most American cooks still don't know much about MSG, where they eat it, and how it can help their cooking. This fascinating article helps us out. Also, they include a suspiciously fancied-up yet very good-looking recipe for one of our very, very favorite Thai dishes: Pad Kee Mao (Drunkard's Noodles).

Rushing Spring With a Dash of the Tropics - Melissa Clark invokes spring with pineapple-picking tips and a recipe for spicy, jerk-style Roasted Chicken Thighs With Pineapple.

From the North of Italy, a Haunting Smoky Taste - An expanded, better-illustrated Food Stuff section from Florence Fabricant includes this piece on smoked pancetta, along with new wines from Paul Newman's company, balsamic honey vinegar, and a new community cookbook from East Harlem.

PLUS...

• One Pot: Hot stuff from Suvir Saran - Goan-Style Shrimp Curry.
Rueda, a Spanish wine, from Eric Asimov.

(Top image credit: Evan Sung for The New York Times)