Audio: The Pods April Fool’s Day Prank


Thanks to a combination of genetically odd humor and innate competitiveness, my family doesn’t mess around on April Fool’s Day. Rarely does a year go by without someone in my family punking someone else. When I was in my 20s, I called my sister, Sandy, and told her I had eloped. She fell for it. Then, she promptly dialed my mother and told her the same thing. Without missing a beat, my mother replied, “Well, I’m not … [Read more...]

14 Ideas for Thanksgiving Leftovers

Cranberry cocktail with lemon twist

“I think leftovers are one of the best things about Thanksgiving!” - Amy Sherman of Cooking with Amy.  This was the general consensus when I asked some food writer friends what they do with their leftovers. Here’s some advice. 1. Update the traditional leftover sandwich “I just recently created some holiday recipes for a grocery store and some of them used leftover turkey,” Amy says. “One of my absolute favorite recipes … [Read more...]

Fearless Thanksgiving Guide

Turkey Dinner

We all know that holiday dinners should be a time to celebrate family, friends and food, but more often than not, it's a stressful holiday, with anxious hosts more worried about the turkey and pumpkin pie than about the people and good fortune that surround them. Enough! This year, I talked to a handful of novice cooks hosting holiday dinners for the first time. I asked, what do you want to know? Questions poured in, … [Read more...]

The Great Firehouse Challenge: Packaged vs. Homemade Holiday Dinner Classics

Turkey Dinner

For years, a relative of mine served boxed stuffing at her holiday gatherings, spiced up with cut-up pre-cooked turkey sausage. When I offered to make some homemade stuffing one year, she waved me off. “No one can the tell the difference, anyway.” So how do real mashed potatoes, gravy, fresh green beans and cranberry sauce would stack up to their processed cousins. What about supermarket turkey versus a fresh, organic … [Read more...]

Challenge: Green Beans canned vs. fresh

green beans canned

Green beans are a classic side dish for any holiday. I debated an update on green bean casserole, but decided instead to serve fresh green beans and canned green beans, each were lightly sauteed in butter with garlic, salt and pepper and finished with a squeeze of fresh lemon.  Fresh Green Beans Green beans are pretty simple to prepare. I put mine into a skillet with a bit of water and steamed them for about eight … [Read more...]

Kitchen Shelf: Stephanie Stiavetti

real food

On a hectic day, I sometimes slip quietly over to Stephanie Stiavetti's blog,, a repository for all things comfort food related, to read her musings on life as she spins a recipe for corn on the cob or cassoulet. Her first book is Melt: The Art of Mac and Cheese, co-authored with the wonderful food writer and recipe developer, Garrett McCord. I'm also a fan of his popular food blog, Vanilla Garlic, … [Read more...]

Seattle Gourmet Gift Show Signing: Nov. 9th

Beets as Art

If you have yet to hear holiday music, I'd like to know how much rock dwellings are going for these days? Here's a chance to climb out and get some fantastic gifts for your food-minded friends and family. This Saturday, Nov. 9,  join me for Christmas in Seattle Gift and Gourmet Food Show at the Seattle Convention Center. I'll sign copies of my books, The Sharper the Knife, the Less You Cry and The Kitchen Counter Cooking … [Read more...]

It’s Bigger in Texas: A Brief Brisket Journey


I'm writing this as I struggle through meat sweats. I thought this term original until this past weekend, after Mike and I descended upon Austin, Texas, last Friday. Since then, we've headed to a half dozen BBQ outlets, notably Franklin's in town and Louis Mueller's out in the fine town of Taylor some 90 miles away. As if that wasn't enough meat, we then ended up at the Texas Monthly BBQ Fest in Austin where then grazed … [Read more...]

Kitchen Shelf: Kathleen’s Favorite Soup Books

daily soup cookbook

Campbell's was right: Soup is good food. But it's even better for you if you make it yourself. If you’re craving more creamy, hearty, vegetable-y happiness by the bowlful, here are some of my favorite soup cookbooks. Be sure to check out my post, How to Make Soup out of (Almost) Anything. Splendid Soups Talk about hearty. James Peterson’s robust 600-plus-pager is a soup lit classic. With almost 300 recipes– from simple … [Read more...]

Seattle-wide Lit Crawl Thursday, Oct. 24


So 60 writers walk into a bar.  Kidding - 60 writers will walk into 19 different bars across town on Thursday, Oct. 24 for this year's Lit Crawl. It's an evening of completely free readings starring authors who invite you to "get drunk .... on words." I'll be one of them, reading new work alongside a troupe of talented food scribes for the Farm to Fable portion of the evening, which starts at 8 p.m. at Capitol Cider. … [Read more...]