People & Culture
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Weekend Meditation: Resting in the Dark Winter Solstice 2008: December 21, 7:04 AM eastern time
In the Northern Hemisphere, today is the Winter Solstice, the shortest day of the year, a time of deep rest that is sacred to all living things and necessary to life. As a culture, we push against this darkness with celebration and light, busyness and bustle. This is fine, essential even, but there is wisdom to be discovered in the slumbering dark, in allowing the brightness to fade and the quiet to prevail.
Dec 21, 2008
Celebrate Winter Solstice With Yuzu In The Bath
By the time you read this, I will have landed in Tokyo and stuffed myself with beer and delicious food at the first izakaya I find. When I return in January, I’ll have a lot of food-related photos and tales to tell. In the meantime, as we near the winter solstice, I thought it fitting to talk about yuzu fruit.Yuzu is a golfball-sized citrus fruit that originated in East Asia. It’s very tart, with little pulp and lots of seeds.
Dec 19, 2008
Tip: Use Spreadable Goat Cheese in Place of Cream Cheese
I recently got hip to a great cream-cheese alternative for bagels and such and was thinking it’d be a nice time to pass on the tip given what a brunch-y time of year this is between Christmas and New Year’s and all the other excuses for gathering and eating. Spreadable goat cheese is a lower-fat form of goat cheese with a looser texture as compared to the chèvre usually sold in log form and usually comes in a tub so it even looks like cream cheese.
Dec 19, 2008
Wine Alternative: White Jasmine Sparkling Tea San Francisco
It’s the holidays, a time for special parties, feasts and fetes, and lots of good cheer. For some, it’s helpful to have a non-alcoholic bottle on hand that still captures the feeling of celebration. Or maybe you’re hosting a dinner party and you want to offer a distinctive pairing with the cheese course, something that balances perfectly with your ForsterkaseThen you’ll want to check out Golden Star’s White Jasmine Sparkling Tea.
Dec 10, 2008
Recipe Recommendation: Ralphie’s Mom’s Braised Red Cabbage from A Christmas Story
Now that it’s officially holiday movie season, we thought we’d highlight a classic recipe from a classic seasonal film – “A Christmas Story.”The movie marks its 25th anniversary this year, so there’s even more celebration of all things Ralphie.My family decided not to wait until December to try Ralphie’s Mom’s Braised Red Cabbage and served it for Thanksgiving instead, but it would be a great addition to any winter meal.
Dec 2, 2008
Pushing Daisies: The Pies
We know some of you are fans of “Pushing Daisies,” and we recently discussed the show’s honey-related story lines, but we could hardly let this month pass without a mention of the show’s primary food theme: Pie!Read on for recipes from the show, including one that requires a certain magical power.Many of the show’s episodes center around pie, and much of the action takes place at Ned’s restaurant, the Pie Hole.
Nov 19, 2008
Jacques Pépin Cooks Dinner for Six with $24
It’s easy to get a famous chef to sit for an interview about his latest restaurant or cookbook. But for this article in The Washington Post, the writer took Jacques Pépin shopping at the Giant supermarket to see what the 72-year-old French chef would buy and what he’d make.
Nov 10, 2008
Weekend Meditation: Fallow TIme
It’s harvest month here in The Kitchn, so a metaphor from the fields feels appropriate. The one that intrigues me the most these days is fallow time. Technically, fallow refers to not planting seed on a field, allowing it to rest, to be unproductive.These days, being unproductive is a rather radical suggestion.But it’s one worth considering. Who are you when you’re not doing, producing, creating a future in the present?
Oct 19, 2008
Small Space Saver: PANTREE Vertical Organization
Cluttered to clean – that’s what PANTREE promises to do for your kitchen. We’re intrigued by this storage system – see more of how it works below.Do you have pots, pans, skillets, and spatulas shoved willy-nilly into your cupboards? We do, and it’s driving us crazy. We keep rearranging to find a better configuration, but we wonder if this PANTREE would be a good solution.The PANTREE is a plastic cupboard organizer that is (hello! good idea!
Oct 7, 2008
Book Review: A Platter of Figs and Other Recipes
When first encountering David Tanis’s new cookbook, A Platter of Figs and Other Recipes, skeptics might roll their eyes: why do I need a full-color, hard-cover book from a chef who splits his life between the Chez Panisse kitchen in Berkeley and a dinner club in Paris to tell me how to put some figs on a platter? Stop.
Oct 2, 2008
Useful Food Tool: Opinel Mushroom Knife
I guess I’ve been in a mushroom mood lately. This morning, I joined the Mycological Society of San Francisco, and this week I’ve written about pink oyster mushrooms and abalone mushrooms.I’ve always wanted to learn how to forage for my own mushrooms. On a recent trip to France, I purchased an Opinel mushroom knife that’s specially made for mushroom collecting.
Sep 26, 2008
Weekend Meditation: Trading Chickens for Shoes
I was chatting with a young barista in a newly opened coffee shop in San Francisco’s Mission District last week. She was lamenting the lack of community and connection in her life. In her opinion, this was in part because these days what people do for a living often has no relationship to their friends and communities.
Sep 14, 2008
Survey: How Often Do You Shop For Groceries?
Danielle from AT:San Francisco found that she and her husband were shopping (and eating out) far too many times a month, so they devised a system to help keep their trips to a more budget-friendly level.Grocery shopping can add up quickly when not planned well; we find that we spend more when we’re constantly running out for this and that. And yet we like to shop frequently for fresh things.
Aug 28, 2008
What’s the Difference? DOCG, DOC, and IGT Italian Wines
Pick up a bottle of Italian wine and you’re likely to see one of these designations somewhere on the label. What exactly to these letters stand for and what do they mean? Read on…In the second half of the 20th century, Italy decided to establish a series of laws to safeguard the quality and authenticity of their wine.These safeguards take the form of protected zones where growers and producers must adhere to strict regulations in order to be certified by these laws.
Aug 22, 2008
Movies in the Park Menu: An Affair to Remember Chicago
The Outdoor Film Festival returns this week with 1957’s “An Affair to Remember,” starring Cary Grant and Deborah Kerr. For this week’s menu, we’re sailing through the French Riviera along with the characters. Food is mentioned in the early minutes of the movie as a news announcer discusses the engagement of playboy Nickie Ferrante (Grant) to a wealthy (and apparently attractive) heiress.
Aug 18, 2008
Weekend Meditation: Fear of Frying
I was inspired a few weeks ago by a post over at Smitten Kitchen on what we are afraid to cook and why. What a great question! And what a great thing to take on. There’s nothing like the feeling of overcoming fear (baking bread, souffle, sushi), plunging right in and coming out the other side victorious. Kind of like a culinary Outward Bound.What are you afraid to cook?In my case, it was fried chicken.
Aug 3, 2008
Cookbook Review: The Splendid Table’s How to Eat Supper
So many cookbooks leave us in the dark wondering why do we have to add salt here or why does this need to sit overnight.Not this one!This is a cookbook for the people. It’s written with the Splendid Table’s characteristic wit and down-home language, which is always inviting and never offended when you have a question.
Jul 10, 2008
What Foods Can You Take To Someone Who Is Bedridden?
A friend of ours was in an accident recently and broke her leg, requiring surgery. She’s unable to walk for the next few months, and a group of us are banding together to prepare foods that she can store in the freezer and heat up easily. What should we make?
Jun 23, 2008
Food Blog News: Tastespotting Alternatives
Well, the food blogs and boards have been buzzing all weekend with sorrow and speculation about Tastespotting’s mysterious demise. We have already come across a couple of new food photo galleries that hope to fill the void left by Tastespotting. Take a look at these hopeful alternatives below…• Food Gawker – Pretty much a direct copy of Tastespotting’s gallery and submission concept.
Jun 16, 2008
Weekend Meditation: A Poem for Father’s Day
My Father and the FigtreeFor other fruits my father was indifferent.He’d point at the cherry trees and say.“See those? I wish they were figs.”In the evenings he sat by my bedweaving folktales like vivid little scarves.They always involved a figtree.Even when it didn’t fit, he’d stick it in.Once Joha was walking down the road and he saw a figtree,Or, he tied his camel to a figtree and went to sleep.
Jun 15, 2008
Food Blog News: Tastespotting Is No More
What the… While going through our daily blog reads last night, we visited Tastespotting and discovered that the entire site has been taken down. In its place is a handwritten note from founder Jean Aw:She says that due to “recent legal complications” Tastespotting will no longer be hosted by NOTCOT.This makes us sadder than we can say – Tastespotting was a brilliantly visual way to browse the overwhelming amount of food blog content available these days.
Jun 13, 2008
What Are Catabolic Foods?
In the summer, when there’s rather less clothes and things like beach trips are on one’s mind, one has a tendency to eat lighter. We are not necessarily on a diet, mind you, but we are eating light and healthy as much as possibe. Also, we have always been fascinated by the concept of catabolic foods.What are catabolic foods? Well, first off, they sound too good to be true.Supposedly, catabolic foods burn up more calories than they supply.
Jun 12, 2008
Weekend Meditation: Salty-Sweet
As I write this, I am slowly savoring a bite of Mo’s Bacon Chocolate Bar by the amazingly innovative Vosges Haute Chocolate. The initial hit of rich dark milk chocolate is followed by hints of smoky salt from the alder wood smoked sea salt then quickly reinforced by chewy bits of applewood smoked bacon.
May 25, 2008
If You Grow Just One Thing This Spring… Plant Arugula
We were at the greengrocer a couple months ago, slightly nonplussed because we couldn’t find arugula yet. The girl at the counter told us that she just grows it herself; even through the winter, she said, it grew like wild in her containers. Hmm…we said. So when we saw tiny baby arugula at the garden center, it seemed a good idea.Well, now look what we’ve got on our hands…Arugula gone wild! We had just hacked this nearly to the root, grabbing leaves for pizza.
May 22, 2008
Good Food with Evan Kleiman: Geoduck Clams
There’s abalone. And then there’s the geoduck.On Good Food this past week, Evan Kleiman had a captivating (and a bit giggle-filled) interview with filmmaker Justin Bookey on his documentary, 3 Feet Under: Digging Deep for the Geoduck Clam. Bookey explains that there’s more to the geoduck than…er…meets the eye.
May 14, 2008
Good Quote: Gardening at the Dragon’s Gate
These days it’s trendy for restaurants to develop a relationship with a local farm, but here in the Bay Area this has been going on for quite a while. Greens Restaurant in San Francisco has been featuring Marin County’s Green Gulch Farm’s organic lettuces, potatoes, chard and other coastal-grown vegetables since they opened almost 30 years ago.
May 12, 2008
Paris Flea Market Kitchen Finds
For anyone with an interest in cooking, a trip to the Paris brocantes — roving antique fairs that set up shop around Paris in every season but summer — is a lesson in kitchen nostalgia. From vintage kitchen canisters and coffee mills to 19th-century locked crystal sugar boxes used to store the then-precious sweet stuff, there’s always something fascinating to discover.
May 12, 2008
Weekend Meditation: Identity Crisis
I used love my small, cluttered kitchen. Joyfully I would produce delicious, many-coursed meals from my Barbie-sized stove, stuff a week’s worth of organic produce into “my cute refrigerator”, balance yet another latte bowl on the top of my towering collection.I believed my kitchen had a certain boho charm that I was happy to identify with. Besides, I really enjoyed all the individual components of my clutter.
Apr 27, 2008
Good Question: Can I Adapt European Appliances for American Electrical Outlets?
I live in Rome, Italy, and today I saw a sweet, sweet deal on an Illy FrancisFrancis X1 espresso machine. It is red. It is sexy. And even with the terrible exchange rate, it is still costs less than half what the same machine would cost in the United States. There is, however, one big problem: it is wired for an Italian outlet. I have looked online, and I can get a European/American voltage adapter with surge protection for about 20 bucks.
Apr 16, 2008
The Passover Seder Plate and New Traditions
We’ve already shown you some pretty Seder plates, but we’ve haven’t yet talked about what goes on them. Those who grew up celebrating Passover can probably recite the traditional items in their sleep. But you may not be aware that some Jews are adding and substituting new items to bring additional meaning to their Passover rituals. And, if you’ve never been to a Seder before, you might be lost entirely.
Apr 15, 2008
Store Review: Bonnie Slotnick Cookbooks
We admit it. We have a cookbook addiction. Our bookshelves are overflowing, and yet we keep buying them. In New York, our favorite place to feed that delicious addiction is Bonnie Slotnick Cookbooks. This tiny Greenwich Village shop is a must-see destination for cookbook lovers and anyone interested in culinary history.Crammed floor to ceiling with historic, vintage, and contemporary cookbooks, Bonnie Slotnick’s is a dangerous place for the cookbook addict to browse.
Mar 27, 2008
Survey: Dinner or Supper?
What word do you use to refer to the last meal of the day? Some of us say “supper,” and some of us say “dinner.” We’ve noticed it’s either a regional or a generational thing, and we’re interested in knowing what you say. More on the history of dinner versus supper below…Technically, the word “supper” refers to a light evening meal, and “dinner” is a more formal, hearty meal.
Mar 26, 2008
The Hungry Reader: Hobbits, Mushrooms and Bacon
What would Hungry Reader month be without a reference to J.R.R. Tolkien’s hobbits and their everlasting love of mushrooms? The small, homey people in those books have an enormous love of food that far outsizes their miniature frames. A proper breakfast is one of their great loves, and mushrooms and bacons are chief among their passions.
Mar 24, 2008
Weekend Meditation: The Mystery Box
The most inspiring thing to land in my kitchen in a long time is The Mystery Box, the “guerilla vegetable delivery/taco truck-meets-the farmers market” bi-weekly drop-off from my favorite local organic farm. Every two weeks on a Thursday evening, Mariquita Farm co-owner Julia drives into the city, parks next to one of the many restaurants they supply and throws open the back of her truck.By prearrangement, I pick up a large box of vegetables that I will (gladly) pay $25 for.
Mar 23, 2008
Easter Brunch: Cold Asparagus Two Ways
Asparagus are in season in some parts of the US. Here in New York, they are the cheapest (about $2.99 a pound) they’ll be all year. According to a few of your comments about side dishes to go with Easter ham, asparagus are high up on the list.We agree. And while we usually roast our asparagus with a little olive oil and salt, we’re thinking about the fresh, bright green color we get when we blanch and chill them. Another benefit of serving asparagus cold?
Mar 21, 2008
Splish Splash, Taking a Bath: What Are Good Snacks for Relaxing in the Tub?
Reading through all the great Bathroom Month posts over at our sister site got us thinking: when is the last time we actually took the time for a honest-to-goodness bath? With our hectic schedules, a long warm bath sounds like such a luxury.But why not treat ourselves! A bath can be a relaxing and wonderfully self-indulgent way to end the day. And, of course, one of the most important elements to a good bath is having the proper snacks on hand.
Mar 20, 2008
The Hungry Reader: Maple Syrup and The Little House in the Big Woods
With all the Hungry Reader nostalgia going on, we couldn’t help but run to the bookshelf for our copy of Little House in the Big Woods. Whether it’s hasty pudding or salt-rising bread, Ma’s always got something special cooking away on her wood-fired stove!
Mar 18, 2008
What Are Your Favorite Food Scenes in Classic Novels?
Last week we talked about your favorite food-themed picture books. This week, we’re curious – what are your favorite food scenes in classic novels? There is so much to choose from, especially among the great Victorian authors.We actually summon up scenes of privation as much as anything else; poor Oliver Twist, so hungry and begging for more; Jane Eyre with her wretched burnt porridge in the horrible school.
Mar 12, 2008
Cooking With Julia: Cook Sole Meunière With Us This Week
Our Book Club wrapped up last week, and it was such a treat to read through Julia Child’s memoir. My Life in France is full of life, color, and the intense pleasure that can be found in cooking good food. We loved hearing Julia’s voice – it practically jumps off the page!We’re not quite done with this book, though – who’s up for cooking the dish at the beginning, the classic sole meunière?
Mar 10, 2008
Small Kitchen Space Makers: Corner Kitchen Drawers
Corners are important places in small kitchens. They are often the awkward spots, where drawers pull out and bump into each other, and they hold potential for wasted space. We showed you a cutting board to make better use of your counter corners.Now, corner drawers from Heritage Custom Cabinetry designed for that corner sweet spot.All of these drawer setups are from Heritage Custom Cabinetry’s Zona Cucina line. Check out their site for information on dealers.
Mar 5, 2008
Book Review: Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes a Day
The host of no-knead recipes from Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day have been making quiet ripples through the baking community, and we felt that it was time take a look for ourselves to see what the hubbub was all about.Given that this book was likely in production around the time when Jim Lahey’s recipe appeared in the New York Times, we were curious to see how they compared.
Feb 20, 2008
The New Gourmet: Recipes for Varmint
We break from our regularly scheduled programming to let you know that the new Gourmet website is reaching further back into the magazine’s fabled archives and bringing forth… varmints?The Gourmet website republished a selection of recipes from their back issues to show what their readers in the 40’s, 50’s, and 60’s did with woodchucks and wild hare. They do stipulate that these recipes have not been retested; they are more cultural artifact than dinner tonight.
Jan 31, 2008
Another Reason Not to Eat Tuna?
It keeps happening: discoveries like the one reported on the front page of today’s New York Times (High Mercury Levels Are Found in Tuna Sushi) keep telling us that eating tuna just isn’t a great idea.After being pregnant last year, I all but completely removed it from my diet. But lately, there are some interesting “lower” and “lowest” mercury options out there, which Burrows’s article neglects to discuss.
Jan 23, 2008
Holiday Host’s Diary #2: Bed, Bath, and Slab Bacon
My party for forty in my 650 square foot apartment is just four days away.Here’s some sources that I count on when I’m cooking for a crowd:Bed Bath & Beyond While I am not a fan of big box stores, my weekend trips to Bed Bath & Beyond will make serving this large crowd more affordable.My partner and I want our guests to eat off “real” plates and drink from glass glasses. Ever year, we re-stock our supply of Nuance Stemware Sets. They’re just $9.99 a dozen.
Dec 11, 2007
Green Tomato Finalist #6: Roopa’s Green Tomato and Lentil Stew
[The sixth and last finalist in our Green Tomato Contest is Roopa – we liked the ease of this recipe and also that she used homegrown green tomatoes in her tomato and lentil stew. Voting on all six finalists will open around lunchtime today.] This is a recipe for a South Indian dish called Thakali Masiyal. It’s an original recipe I wrote based on my mom’s instructions. The green tomatoes I used were homegrown. I have (actually, had) tomato plants growing in pots on my balcony.
Nov 9, 2007
DIY Ghost Fruit for Halloween
The only horrifying thing about these cute Ghost Fruit from Godiva is the price – $4.50 each! We saw them in Epicurious’ roundup of Halloween treats, and we think they would be very easy to make yourself. If we had time to try today, here’s how we would do it: • Fruit: Small seasonal fruit. Strawberries are completely out of season. Instead, look for small green figs, globe grapes, or very small lady apples.
Oct 30, 2007
Jessica Seinfeld’s New Cookbook
Have you heard about the brownies made with carrots and spinach (PDF recipe)? The new cookbook Deceptively Delicious by Jessica Seinfeld, wife of comedian and sitcom star Jerry Seinfeld, shares advice on how to hide vegetables so kids will eat them. There’s recipes for pureed cauliflower in mac and cheese and kale in spaghetti and meatballs.
Oct 22, 2007
Good Product: Glass Refrigerator Containers
Plastic has had some bad press lately. Phthalates and other compounds in plastic have been linked to serious health issues, and we are beginning to be a little more aware of how much plastic touches our food. One relatively easy way to reduce plastic use is to switch to glass storage containers. We are gradually doing this, and there is a real difference in food’s freshness and taste when it’s kept in glass instead of plastic. Here are a couple options we’ve looked at.
Sep 20, 2007
Poll: Do You Salt Your Watermelon?
In our watermelon thread last Friday, a commenter asked a question we were thinking about too: who puts salt on their watermelon? This was a very strange and foreign concept until recently when we tried it, and the piquancy of the salt did indeed bring out a little more of the melon’s sweetness, concentrating the juices .
Jul 2, 2007
Book Review: The Zuni Cafe Cookbook
The Zuni Cafe Cookbook has quickly become a classic in our kitchen, and we know that it is in many of yours as well. After we mentioned Judy Rodgers’ granitas last week we thought it would be good, though, to spotlight this book for those of you who have never picked it up.Rodgers acquired her training in France and later at Chez Panisse.
Jun 25, 2007
The Celluloid Pantry: Bouillabaisse from Marseilles and Our Man Flint (1966)
Secret Agent Derek Flint (James Coburn) is the kind of man who likes to unwind after a long day by stopping his pulse while lying rigid between two chairs, who travels to Moscow not to watch ballet, but to teach it, and whose lighter has 82 different functions—”83 if you wish to light a cigar.” So it should come as no surprise that he knows a thing or two about French cuisine.
Mar 13, 2007
The Celluloid Pantry: Sweet Vermouth on the Rocks with a Twist and Groundhog Day (1993)
If you had to choose just one drink for all time, what would it be? For me, it wouldn’t be sweet vermouth.But in Groundhog Day (1993), disgruntled weatherman Phil Connors (Bill Murray, right) chooses just that. Caught in an endless time loop, he relives the same day repeatedly until he gets it right.The first “day” he sits down at a bar with his producer, Rita (Andie MacDowell, left), he orders a “Jim Beam, ice, water.
Jan 30, 2007
From the Kitchen… La Cucina Povera
La cucina povera is an Italian phrase that means “cooking of the poor,” or “peasant cooking.” This often refers to a now-fashionable mode of Italian cooking, popularized by Mario Batali and usually involving entrails, in some fashion. On a deeper level it reflects a necessary philosophy that is common in all cultures: making do with what you’ve got to transform humble ingredients into dishes that are more than the sum of their parts.
Jan 12, 2007
Bowery Kitchen Supplies: New York, NY
Don’t let the name confuse you. While Bowery Kitchen Supplies does maintain a “to the trade” location on the Bowery, their main retail operation is in the Chelsea Market.Bowery Kitchen Supplies serves the Food Network, which has studios and offices in Chelsea Market. Though I’ve never seen a celebrity chef perusing the aisles of Bowery Kitchen Supplies, pictures on their website prove Alton and Emeril are fans.
Oct 31, 2006
The Celluloid Pantry: Lobster Wrangling and Annie Hall (1977)
“Annie, there’s a big lobster behind the refrigerator. I can’t get it out… Maybe if I put a little dish of butter sauce here with a nutcracker, it will run out the other side.” Lobsters bring out a strange range of emotions. Here, in one of the many memorable moments in Annie Hall (1977), we get a dizzying, scuttling display. The scene is a scant 1 min.
Aug 1, 2006