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Category Archives: Food

Mincemeat pie

Mincemeat pie is not part of my heritage (Southern American), so I disclaim all expertise and experience having to do with it. Not only did I never have mincemeat pie as a child, I don’t remember ever hearing about it. As an adult, I was not curious about making it, just because the name is […]

One-pot cooking

I don’t often do one-pot cooking. But, when I do, I wonder why I don’t do more one-pot cooking. I have a certain bias, I suppose, toward at least three things on the plate and lots of dirty dishes. Earlier today I came across this recipe at the Washington Post. I went downstairs and made […]

Fire, smoke, food, and drink

Pie from roasted pumpkin, baked in an iron skillet with fire and smoke Since it was the week before Christmas, I splurged on a Scotch that cost twice as much as what I usually pay. When I first tasted it, I was a bit shocked at how smoky the Scotch was. I usually prefer a […]

The Duchess of Duke Street

In 1971, when Alistair Cooke began hosting Masterpiece Theater on PBS, the quality of American television went up several notches. Though series such as Upstairs, Downstairs were enormously popular, this wasn’t television for the American masses, who still preferred the networks to PBS. It was an elite sort of thing for liberals and the literati. […]

Back from the Dark Ages: Leeks

Leeks, where have you been all my life? As I was making yet another pot of leek and potato soup today, I found myself wondering: When did I first see leeks? Why have I never seen them growing? Just when did they start showing up in grocery stores this time of year? I don’t really […]

Wild persimmons — and persimmon pudding

Persimmon pudding and cognac. Click here for high-resolution version. I had persimmon pudding today for the first time in at least 50 years. If you’ve ever once had persimmon pudding, you’ll never forget it, because there’s nothing else like it. I have my own persimmon trees now at last, so I have done my best […]


Once you legalize deep-frying in your kitchen (as I recently did), you’re on a slippery slope to — falafel. I probably thought of falafel as one of those city foods that can be made only after centuries of practice, and only in a commercial kitchen, like bagels. With falafel, it’s not like that at all. […]

Deep frying?

For many years, I avoided deep-frying. The first reason was that it’s messy. The second is that it’s not regarded as healthy. Then again … When I measure the oil before and after frying, I find that surprisingly little oil is lost — certainly less than a stir-fry, which is regarded as healthy. Also, I […]

It was 94F in the garden, though

Vegetables don’t like to be picked in the heat of the day. Early morning is the best time. But basil wants to be clipped five minutes ago, so this basil, squash, and tomato went from the garden to the supper table in 35 minutes.

I wore out my first copy

It was 1976, I believe, when I bought a copy of the 1943 edition of Irma Rombauer’s The Joy of Cooking at a junk shop. I am not hard on books, so I’m sure that the book was in fairly rough condition when I bought it. Over the years, though, the fabric peeled off the […]