Marge Perry

Marge is an award-winning food and travel writer whose work appears regularly in many magazines and websites; on her blog, A Sweet and Savory Life; and in more than 20 books.
A Friend Asked Me to Pay $50 for Thanksgiving Dinner. Is That Weird?
We asked Marge to tackle one of Kitchn’s most divisive questions we’ve ever received: Is it OK to ask your friend for money for Thanksgiving? Dear Marge, A friend just invited me to his home for Thanksgiving dinner — and asked me to pay $50 upfront. I understand that hosting can be expensive, and I wouldn’t mind being asked to bring a dish, but asking guests for cash seems incredibly rude. Am I crazy to be a bit miffed? Has anyone else experienced this?
Sep 20, 2022
8 Things I Bought for My Home Kitchen After I Started Teaching at Culinary School
Number 8 is a total game-changer.
Feb 3, 2022
Skirt Steak with Chimichurri
This beefy skirt steak cooks quickly and easily in the broiler, and is topped with an herby, garlicky, and tangy chimichurri sauce.
Aug 20, 2021
My Mom and I Are in the High-Risk Group for COVID, but My Sister Is Insisting We Travel to Be at Her Wedding This Fall. What Should I Do?
Ask Marge
I love my sister and I don’t want to ruin our relationship, so how do I tell her my mom and I can’t risk our health (and maybe even lives) by coming to her wedding?
Sep 2, 2020
I Don’t Want to Invite a Couple Friends Over for My Socially-Distanced Barbecue Because They Haven’t Been Careful During the Pandemic. Is That OK?
Ask Marge
I know anyone I don’t invite will hear about it, so should I just scrap the whole idea?
Jul 13, 2020
My Friend Eats Loudly on Our Calls and It’s Driving Me Bonkers. What Should I Do?
Ask Marge
My friends and I have a regular Zoom cocktail hour once a week. I love seeing them (I MISS them!!!) but one friend not only slurps her drink, she snacks really loudly throughout the call.
May 30, 2020
Recipe: Salmon Burgers with Lime Mayonnaise
To keep these salmon burgers moist and tender, chop the salmon by hand rather than in the food processor. The salmon is easiest to chop when quite cold, as this makes the fish more firm and easier to cut. You can stick fresh salmon in the freezer for about 20 minutes — it won’t freeze, but it will firm up a bit. These may also be cooked on the grill.
Feb 3, 2020
Recipe: Juicy Lucy Turkey Burgers
The Juicy Lucy — a thin burger with an oozing cheese filling — is beloved in Minneapolis, where two rival bars claim to have “invented” it. They are ideally suited to be made with lean ground turkey, because a Juicy Lucy is always served well-done. Just be sure to serve it with plenty of napkins! When using reduced-fat cheese, it is important to use a brand that melts well. My favorite is Kerrygold. Serve with classic condiments: ketchup, mustard, and mayonnaise.
Jan 29, 2020
Recipe: Beef Burgers with Cabernet Onion Jam
A sweet, rich onion topping enhances the umami, or savory flavor, of these burgers. Look for 93% lean ground beef, which is enough fat to keep the burgers moist and tender, and lean enough to keep them healthy. Work the burgers as little as possible to prevent them from becoming dry. Form them into nice even patties that hold together, but try not to compact the meat too much. Also, indent the top with your thumb.
Jan 29, 2020
Recipe: Black Bean Burgers with Chipotle Ketchup
You don’t have to be a vegetarian to love these hearty, flavorful meatless burgers. (You can, however, give them even more savory meatiness by adding chopped sautéed shiitake or cremini mushrooms to the mixture before forming the burgers). And by all means, make a double batch of the ketchup — you’ll find a million uses for it, and it keeps well in the refrigerator for a week.
Jan 29, 2020
Recipe: Chicken Guacamole Burgers
This is unimaginably better than a burger merely topped with guacamole. In this love child of a burger and guacamole, the guac is mixed right in with the ground chicken, making its presence felt in every bite. Serve the burgers with shredded lettuce for a little crunch, a thin slice of ripe summer tomato, and a little smear of canola mayonnaise on the roll. Want to take it to the next level? Gild the lily by topping the burger with extra avocado slices.
Jan 29, 2020
Recipe: Baked Black Bean and Avocado Burritos
Lean ground beef or turkey can stand in for the beans in these burritos — season it with salt and pepper and brown it in a skillet, and drain and cool slightly on a plate lined with paper towel before combining it with the chipotle sour cream. Also, pump up the nutrient power by adding sautéed chopped bell peppers, zucchini, or leftover cooked vegetables such as cauliflower. Make your own salsa in just minutes, if you prefer.
Jan 21, 2020
Help! My Mom Insists on Bringing Shrimp to My Home for Christmas Even Though I’m Very Allergic. What Should I Do?
I'm hosting Christmas dinner this year and my mother wants to bring shrimp cocktail as an hors d'oeuvre. I appreciate the offer, but the problem is that I have a severe shellfish allergy and am sensitive to cross-contamination, which she knows.
Dec 20, 2019
Help! I Have Embarrassing Stomach Issues. How Do I Handle It When I Go to a Friend’s House for Dinner?
Ask Marge
I have ongoing stomach issues. Sometimes my stomach makes really loud, nasty-sounding snarls, and other times… well, I can’t always control my, uh, flatulence.
Nov 12, 2019
5 Potluck Sins You Do NOT Want to Make This Year
Potluck Week
As a guest, there are certain cardinal rules you must not break.
Nov 6, 2019
My Friends Expect Leftovers When They Come Over for Dinner. Please, How Do I Make It Stop?
Ask Marge
I don't want to seem petty.
Jun 13, 2019
What’s the Difference Between Keto, Paleo, and Atkins?
The Ketogenic, Paleo, and Atkins diets are all low-carb, but they have important differences that could help determine which is right for you. Here’s a rundown on the underlying philosophies, food dos and don’ts, and pros and cons of each. This granddaddy of popular low-carb diets began in the 1970s, and by 2004, when it was known as the “Steak and Eggs Diet,” supposedly one out of 11 adults was on the diet.
May 30, 2019
Here’s What You Can and Can’t Eat on the Ketogenic Diet
The keto diet is getting a lot of buzz lately. Are you considering trying it out to see how it makes you feel this year? We’ve rounded up a bunch of recipes (breakfast, lunch, and dinner) to get you started, but before you jump in let’s get back to the basics: What can (and can’t) you eat exactly? Doing keto right means getting into a state of ketosis, or where your body burns fat rather than carbs for fuel.
May 30, 2019
10 Mistakes to Avoid When Doing Keto
The Keto diet takes some getting used to. At first, it may be hard to follow, but as long as you know what you’re getting into, the transition to a keto lifestyle — and the weight loss and health benefits — may really be worth it. Many people find the food really satisfying, but get tripped up by these potential pitfalls. It is incredibly satisfying and a vital source of fuel, but that doesn’t mean you should indulge mindlessly.
May 30, 2019
Yes, You Can Drink on Keto — Here’s What You Need to Know
Okay, first: Vodka, whiskey, tequila, and other clear spirits have zero carbs. Wine has about two grams of carbs per glass, and Champagne has one gram. But before you toast your good luck at being able to drink, there are a few things you need to know. Drinking will probably slow your weight loss down, even if you choose a no-carb option, because your body will use (metabolize) alcohol before fat. Once it’s burned, you’ll go back into ketosis, so all you lost was a little time.
May 30, 2019
Dear Marge: Was It Rude for My Friend to Bring an Unexpected Guest to Friendsgiving? (It Ruined My Dessert Plan!)
Dear Marge, I’m planning my annual Friendsgiving, and I don’t want to repeat my hosting crisis from last year — but I’m not sure what I can do to prevent it. I love to entertain, even in my small place. I plan my menu really carefully and try to make the table look beautiful. Last year, I invited as many friends as I could fit (12!), and scrounged to make the seating work around my regular table plus a borrowed folding table.
May 24, 2019
Dear Marge: Am I Supposed to Serve the Wine My Guest Brings to Dinner?
Dear Marge, Can you please settle an argument for us? My partner says that when we go to our friends’ house for dinner and bring a bottle of wine, they should serve it. I point out that means the reverse is also true — so if friends bring over a bottle of crisp white and we’ve splurged on big, beautiful steaks, that’s what we’d have to pour. My partner’s response is that guests should ask what’s being served and bring a bottle that goes with it.
May 24, 2019
Help! My Mother-in-Law Is Feeding My Kid Sugar Against My Wishes.
This week Marge tackles a question for a reader whose mother-in-law is giving her daughter sweets even when she has repeatedly asked her not to. What is she supposed to do?
May 24, 2019
I Think My Friend Is Faking Her Food Allergy. Can I Say Something?
Dear Marge, I think my friend is faking food allergies. We go to restaurants and she has long conversations with the waiter about how she will get really sick if there is even a hint of … and then she names like seven or eight foods she can’t eat. And when any of us want to get together at each other’s houses, it becomes this whole big production to make something she will eat.
May 24, 2019
My Roommate Keeps Stealing My Food, but She Totally Denies It. What Am I Supposed to Do?
I asked her really nicely to please respect my stuff in the fridge, and she acted as if she didn’t know what I was talking about.
May 9, 2019
Recipe: Tuna Puttanesca
Tuna, swordfish, and salmon are all hearty enough in flavor and texture to work really well with this robust sauce. By all means, make a double batch and use leftovers later in the week, tossed with pasta for a side dish. You may alternatively grill the fish, either outdoors or on a grill pan.
May 1, 2019
Recipe: Pork Chops in Port Wine Sauce
Warning: You’re going to want to drink this sauce. Instead, serve the pork over rice or quick-cooking polenta to soak up every last drop of the sauce. And then dream about making the dish next week with boneless, skinless chicken breasts (cooked this way). Or dress the dish up for a special treat by stirring in a tablespoon or two of cream to the sauce.
May 1, 2019
Recipe: Dubliner Cheese and Tomato Stuffed Chicken Breasts
I usually make this with reduced-fat Dubliner cheese, which melts beautifully and gives us the same gooey, rich cheesiness with fewer calories and less saturated fat. You can use chicken thighs (cooked to 170°F) instead of chicken breasts, which reheat better because they are not quite as lean. Either way, the chicken is also very good served cold the next day.
May 1, 2019
The One and Only Wooden Spoon You Really Need
I own and use many wooden spoons. You might say that I am something of a wooden spoon collector. There’s nothing that delights me more than when, in my travels, I come across a wooden spoon in an entirely new shape. Perhaps the bowl is elongated or deeper, or the handle is thick or graduated or offset — the list goes on.
May 1, 2019
My Friends Think I’m a Control Freak Because I Don’t Want Anyone in My Kitchen. Are They Right?
Dear Marge, My friends and family think I am a control freak because I don’t want them in my kitchen when I am working. They even tease me about it — and totally ignore the fact that I don’t want everyone underfoot in my small kitchen while I am trying to get food out for dinner. I find it really distracting, and I need to focus on what needs to get done to get everything plated nicely and on the table while it is still hot.
Apr 18, 2019
Help! I Don’t Want My Friend to Bring Her Dog Over.
Dear Marge, My friend is incredibly devoted to her dog, and feels like when she is not at work, she wants to bring her dog everywhere with her, including my house. Her dog is great, and when it is just the two (or, I should say three) of us hanging out, I don’t mind as much.
Apr 4, 2019
I’m a Germ Freak and I Hate Sharing Food. How Do I Say “No”?
Dear Marge, I don’t really like sharing drinks or biting from someone’s food to taste it. All too often I am in the situation when a coworker or friend hands me their drink or something they’re eating and says, “Oh, you have to try this!” Once someone was so pushy I finally cut a piece from the end she hadn’t bitten into, and then she looked at me like I was a freak. Well, maybe when it comes to germs I am.
Mar 7, 2019