Shelf Life: 15 Food Books of 2015

For years, I've been threatening to start a podcast. In October, I attended an inspiring weekend hosted by Feet in Two Worlds and promptly went and bought a Zoom H5, a mic and started contacting food writers I admired to come sit in my kitchen and chat. I'm launching the podcast in January, but I decided I couldn't wait to share the books crafted by some of the lovely folks who I've talked to already for the audio show, … [Read more...]

Recipe: Popovers from ‘The Homemade Kitchen’

 I've long been fascinated by popovers and for this, I blame Dorothy Parker. For those unfamiliar, Dorothy was a fabulously wry writer who was among the founding members of "the vicious circle" of writers who made up The Algonquin Roundtable in New York. Starting in 1919, the group of thirty newspaper and magazine writers met almost daily for lunch over the course of about ten years to share gossip, jokes and … [Read more...]

The Relative Value of Stuff (Giveaway)

In my 20s, I edited a print magazine about the online world titled Internet Underground. It launched in 1995, a time when newscasters would cite web addresses by slowly spelling out, "Go to h-t-t-p-colon-back slash-back-slash-w-w-w-dot-company-dot-com-backslash-information-blackslash..." and painfully over-pronounce the "ts" in Internet. The final step in my editorial hiring process was simple: if you could figure out … [Read more...]

Paperback goes on sale today!

It's official: the paperback of The Kitchen Counter Cooking School went on sale today. I'm pretty psyched about it being made available in paperback as this opens up the message of the book to a wider audience, plus more book clubs are likely to read it. I've had amazing feedback from the clubs that took the plunge and tackled it in hardcover. Rather than sit around and simply discuss plot or which characters they liked … [Read more...]

Friday Reads: Birthday Edition

June 1 is my birthday. Today, I’m in Florida watching it rain in buckets outside our little house on Anna Maria Island, and for that I’m grateful. While the West Coast has been pummeled with all kinds of rainfall, somehow it keeps missing the island and I’ve sat watching my plant seize up and start to wither under the oppressive heat. So, I’m looking at the wet clothes sagging on the laundry line, listening to the … [Read more...]

Legacy: Read a book, do what you love

My friend Kim Ricketts died last Monday.  She was tough-minded, big-hearted, interested in seemingly everything, generous to a fault. She created book events featuring authors and in doing so, used her life's passion for reading to create an unusual community. She was much loved here in Seattle, but her reach in the publishing industry was extensive. The day after she died, my publicist in New York sent me an email. … [Read more...]

IACP Book Awards finalists announced

The finalists for the International Association of Culinary Professionals were announced this week. The contest includes two divisions, one for cookbooks and another for culinary journalism known as the Bert Greene Awards. I don't think that I'm disclosing anything that I shouldn't by publicly acknowledging that I'm a judge for Bert Greene awards, since that's part of my job as the chair of the Food Writers, Editors & … [Read more...]

Ratio by Michael Ruhlman

The more that I study why and how people cook at home, the more that I understand the importance of a book such as Ratio: The Simple Codes Behind the Craft of Everyday Cooking (Scribner, 2009). Noted food writer Michael Ruhlman lays out a simple premise: If you understand the fundamental ratios for some basic culinary tasks ranging from biscuits to stock to vinaigrette, the less a cook has to rely on recipes. After all, … [Read more...]