When I was a younger cook, I was more prone to kitchen disasters of either of three varieties — the huge mess, the ill-conceived flavor combination, or the flesh wound. With age, experience and wisdom has come the know-how to avoid most kitchen disasters in any of those categories. But every once in a while, I get broadsided by a new ingredient, tool or technique. And discover that disaster is never far at bay. More
31 Jul 2012 12 Comments
27 Jul 2012 10 Comments
Did you ever play that Desert Island game — you know, the one where someone asks you what 10 albums you would choose if you were marooned on a desert island? I like to play this game with food. Which 10 ingredients would I want if I was stranded on a desert island? And high upon my list would be that glistening, glorious gold of the dairy case: butter. I could make a palm frond taste good so long as I had butter.
I’d been meaning to put my infatuation for beurre to words for some time now. Sitting here eating my leftover grilled chicken from a few posts back — basted on the barbie with melted butter — I got thinking about just how important this simple, elemental ingredient is. More
24 Jul 2012 8 Comments
in Starlets, Yoga Students & Quinoa (stories) Tags: Bill Murray, Don Cheadle, Hillary Swank, Jennifer Garner, Katie Holmes, Paul Prudhomme, Santa Monica farmer's market, Susan Feniger, Whole Foods, Wolfgang Puck
Grocery shopping in L.A. is different than grocery shopping in other cities. Because we have a lot of celebrities, and celebrities have to eat too.
I saw a photo recently of Katie Holmes ducking into a Whole Foods in Manhattan, chased by a phalanx of either paparazzi or Scientology thugs. I guess New York may be the only other place where you’re likely to bump into a celebrity while buying groceries. Certain cities have one or two celebrities — you might bump into John Waters while grocery shopping in Baltimore, for example, or run into Robert Goulet at the Safeway in Las Vegas. More
20 Jul 2012 10 Comments
“The days were long and the nights were long and the life was good.”
—Gertrude Stein, Fiesole, Italy, Summer 1908
A few weeks ago, drinking and dining with my friends/neighbors/mortal enemies (envy is a terrible thing) Chris and Glennis before they left for a week in Venice, Italy, we got talking about Campari.
Chris was pontificating that Europe had an appreciation for bitter foods and spirits that you don’t see as much in America. That set me to forming theories and pontificating in turn about how bitter as an entire taste realm was absent altogether from American cuisine — we like our sweet (OH, how we like our sweet!) and our salty, we’ll dabble in sour. But bitter is completely unrepresented — replaced, perhaps, by fried. And more salt. More
17 Jul 2012 5 Comments
If you’re going to spend an afternoon with a guerrilla, what better occasion than Bastille Day — a holiday celebrating the storming of a symbol of monarchal oppression by the common man.
The “guerrilla” we would spend Bastille Day with would not be a camouflaged, gun-toting, beret-crowned rebel, but rather our family wine, Wine Guerrilla — and my mother’s long-time partner, Bruce, producer of the wine and himself often referred to as, “The Wine Guerrilla.” More