Good Things in the Great Land

When I sail to Alaska, as I have done five or six times now, I always look forward to waking up early the first morning we have arrived in the Great Land. I’ll spring out onto the balcony at dawn — which, in Alaska, is 4:30 or 5 in the morning. You know immediately by the towering snow-capped peaks, forested isles and placid waters of the Inside Passage that you have arrived — the bald eagles carving the sky and spouting humpback whales confirming the fact.

Willa and Immy in the woods near Dewey Lake, Skagway, Alaska

Willa and Immy in the woods near Dewey Lake, Skagway, Alaska

As evidenced by its sheer mass, Alaska is a land of big things. The mountains are big, the glaciers are big, the animals are big and the sky is big. Also big is the abundance of food — if you’ve not seen a salmon run on an Alaskan stream, you have no idea why there is so much of the fish in the supermarket at this time of year. The bears become so sated and picky that they will eat only the skin and discard the rest of the fish. The long hours of sunlight enable Alaskan farmers to grow those giant cabbages and pumpkins you’ve seen in pictures. More

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Cruising

I’ve just returned from Alaska. For those of you who might’ve noticed that my obsessively regular blog had gone eerily quiet and wondered, it had fully been my intention, as it usually is when I travel, to write posts from wherever I am about the interesting food-related experiences I am having there. But I was aboard a cruise ship, and with wi-fi connection at $.75 a minute, the blogging could wait.

Flynn, Maya and Willa with their hero, Vasheesh, head chef of the Horizon Court buffet

Flynn, Maya and Willa with their hero, Vasheesh, head chef of the Horizon Court buffet

So now you get the benefit of my reflections upon my time in Alaska, versus the immediacy of receiving posts from the front. In other words, you get the edited version versus the rambling. And that’s better anyway, right? More

The Best Salmon, the Best Way

As we prepare for our upcoming family trip to Alaska, I find myself thinking a lot about salmon. The beautiful filets of sockeye and king from the Copper and other pristine rivers I’m finding at the fishmarkets these days have my mind already north. I once saw a river in Sitka so choked with spawning salmon swimming upstream that it seemed as if you could’ve walked across their backs and never touched water. Another river near Juneau was littered with the skinless carcasses of salmon — in bumper years, the bears peel off and eat the skin, and discard the rest.

Spawning sockeye in Juneau.

Spawning sockeye in Juneau.

I’ve oft commented on this blog about how people tend to overcook salmon. And while it is still a delicious fish when cooked all the way through, it is so much better when left medium-rare to rare. Or, as I personally prefer, raw. More

The Siren Song of Summer

There’s a lot going on this week — summer nearing, the last few days of school. The calendar is full, my cooking commitments many.

Savoring my last bite of lunch before the floodgates open

Savoring my last bite of lunch before the floodgates open

As I sit here this warm afternoon eating one of my favorite summer lunches — crusty multi-grain bruschetta with ripe heirloom tomatoes, basil, olive oil, mozzarella and parmesan reggiano — I think of the next several days. It began this morning, as pal Ernie and I tried to go to the amazing, miraculous Santa Monica Seafood to redeem Groupons we’d purchased to make a seafood dinner this evening. More

Cookbook Recommendations for a Bachelor

A dear friend of mine emailed me recently and asked me what were my top 5 cookbook recommendations for his nephew, who had just moved out into his first apartment and was hungry.

My "bachelor" 7-year-old son Flynn's favorite cookbook.

Guys who move away from mom for the first time often don’t realize that food doesn’t just appear on the table. I had the fortune of already having worked in restaurants and being a good cook the first time I moved out. More

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