why we’re all going crazy over bitter greens—and have been since forever

This past winter, I was in a bonafide cooking rut—which I have to believe happens to the best of us. Looking back, the cold and dreary, mid-Feb-in-NYC weather may have had something to do with it, because I couldn’t muster up the creative energy to do anything besides roast vegetables with abandon.

Continue reading “why we’re all going crazy over bitter greens—and have been since forever”

the Italian narrative Hollywood loves may very well never change, but I can

If I wasn’t careful when entering the cellar, I’d walk face-first into a thick leg of prosciutto curing as it dangled from the ceiling. And then, of course, there were the orderly rows of mason jars lining the bottom shelf, filled with last season’s tomatoes picked at their peak from the garden and promptly canned. More often than not, I’d spot a crate of potatoes on hand for gnocchi, occasionally a stray box of garlic cloves, too. Continue reading “the Italian narrative Hollywood loves may very well never change, but I can”

anchovies and adulthood

Caesar salad always came with a caveat.

No anchovies, please. 

And if they were part of the dressing, well, there goes that. There’s always caprese.

So having not ever come within fork’s distance of an anchovy in my entire life, I nonetheless absorbed my mother’s strong aversion to the slimy, hairy fish and decided that I too would never, ever eat it. Because ew. So gross. Continue reading “anchovies and adulthood”

on cooking through grief

Trays of lukewarm pasta sat on the counter, with the once pillowy ricotta and creamy mozzarella slowly solidifying around the mangled ziti. Day-old ciabatta sat on a cutting board, crumbs strewn about, with a half-eaten plate of chicken marsala resting on the stovetop — crimini mushrooms trapped in the now congealed sauce. Continue reading “on cooking through grief”

when words failed, ratatouille didn’t

The first time I heard the word, “ratatouille,” I was 14 years old and sitting on a cushioned movie theater seat, snug between my mom and my sister, watching the rat Remy come to life as an ambitious Parisian chef. I chose gummy bears a­­nd my sister, popcorn, and we sat next to each other to pass the snacks back and forth, enjoying the salty crunchiness of the popcorn and sweet chewiness of the candy.

Other than the hour or so of Pixar-animated entertainment, the movie didn’t make much of an impression on my young-teen mind. In fact, I barely thought about the story or the food again until six years had passed and I was sitting on a wobbly, white plastic stool in a tiny kitchen in Paris. Continue reading “when words failed, ratatouille didn’t”

a taste of Puglia

Mention Puglia to any Italian, and you’ll likely be greeted with an expression of sheer bewilderment — until, that is, they realize that what you’re actually trying to say (but butchering in exceptional fashion) is poo-lee-a.

But once it’s clear that you’re referencing the sun-drenched heel of Italy, you’ll be hard-pressed to get anyone to stop praising this relatively undiscovered region in the south. Continue reading “a taste of Puglia”

from counterculture to contemporary American cuisine in Jonathan Kauffman’s “Hippie Food” 

A poignant look at how the revolutionary “hippie” food of the 1960s and 70s — from sprouted whole grains and legumes to organic produce, soy, and macrobiotics — evolved into what we eat today.
Continue reading “from counterculture to contemporary American cuisine in Jonathan Kauffman’s “Hippie Food” “