• Book Review: Mozza at Home
  • Written November 5, 2016

    On first read, Nancy Silverton’s Mozza at Home feels appealing, reassuring, and aspirational. The recipes look interesting, a mix of familiar foods with nice twists. Silverton reassures readers with a warm, confident tone. And with long descriptions of her seemingly charmed existence, split between rustically sumptuous Los Angeles and Italy residences filled with effortless, large […]

  • Book Review: Classic German Baking
  • Written October 27, 2016

    As readers might expect from someone with “Kebschull” as a maiden name, this reviewer had high hopes and expectations for a book on German baking. In Classic German Baking, author and former cookbook editor Luisa Weiss surpassed those expectations with an engaging, precise, and pitch-perfect collection of more than 100 recipes that deserve to be […]

  • Book Review: Scandikitchen: Fika & Hygge
  • Written October 13, 2016

    If you’ve never wished to be Scandinavian before, Scandikitchen: Fika & Hygge will fix you. Especially if you pick up this calm-inducing book filled with snowy images on a stifling summer day: You’ll forget about their long, dark winters and just revel in the beauty of photo after woodsy photo of rustic and fancy cookies […]

  • Book Review: Paula McIntyre’s Down to Earth Cookbook
  • Written September 25, 2016

    For Americans, the bar to be charmed by anything British gets set plenty low. We love the accent, the funny words, the history, the royal baby. And we used to love making fun of the food. But now we’re charmed by the food as well—witness the current mini-craze over the “Great British Bake Off.” And […]

  • Book Review: Mast Brothers Chocolate
  • Written October 22, 2013

    Feeling uncool in the kitchen? Need a lot more hipster at your stove? With its painstakingly retro design, bearded Brooklynites, more-artisanal-than-thou essays, and too-hip-to-give-you-much-detail recipes, Mast Brothers Chocolate has you covered. None of which is to say, if that description turned you off, that the book isn’t worth reading. If you can get past the […]

  • Book Review: Caramel
  • Written October 22, 2013

    Depending on a reader’s teeth, the reaction to Carole Bloom’s Caramel will be either “Sweet!!” or “Seriously, this sweet?” If the former, this will be a book worth buying. For these recipes are not for the faint of tooth. Many, starting with caramel sauce, cry out for a counterbalancing dash of salt or acid. But […]

  • Book Review: The Glorious Vegetables of Italy
  • Written October 22, 2013

    The Glorious Vegetables of Italy delivers what it promises . . . but do you need what it promises? If you’re a novice cook or a meat-eater looking to add more vegetables to your diet, Domenica Marchetti’s book may open your eyes to new ideas. This attractive book, its recipes explained with both thoughtfulness and […]

  • Book Review: Southern Fried
  • Written October 22, 2013

    Careful now: Open your copy of Southern Fried and listen—do you hear all those people talking back to James Villas? “No, no, no, those fried green tomatoes need more flour!” “Where’s the fried yellow squash?” “Granny never made fried apple pies like that—where are the dried apples?” “How did Calabash fried shrimp go missing?” “Since […]

  • Book Review: Cuisine Nicoise
  • Written August 15, 2013

    Some books can win a reader over by simply looking “right.” Cuisine Niçoise: Sun-Kissed Cooking from the French Riviera does just that: This lovely book design perfectly fits its theme of French Riviera cooking and the sweet, slightly mysterious stories that go with the recipes. Without getting precious, author Hillary Davis takes readers in to […]

  • Book Review: The Hoosier Mama Book of Pie
  • Written August 15, 2013

    For all the pie books out in recent years, most people can probably name only one or two friends, at best, who approach pie-making without fear. The terror wrought by pie crust is overblown—truly, a decent crust is not that hard—but still, something keeps most bakers away from pie. For the eager and wary alike, […]

  • Book Review: Breakfast for Dinner
  • Written August 15, 2013

    Soothing and simple: That’s what a “breakfast for dinner” meal should feel like. In Breakfast for Dinner: Recipes for Frittata Florentine, Huevos Rancheros, Sunny-Side-Up Burgers, and More!, though, authors Lindsay Landis and Taylor Hackbarth aim for (sometimes vaguely) breakfast-inspired supper dishes that are often delicious but not so simple. So if breakfast for supper to […]

  • Book Review: 101 Classic Cookbooks: 501 Classic Recipes
  • Written October 13, 2012

    A great cookbook and one you argue your way through: For opinionated cooks, 101 Classic Cookbooks provides pure joy. Any “best of” list can make for endless debates, and this compilation (edited by Marvin J. Taylor and Clark Wolf, published October 2012 by Rizzoli),  which tells the history of American cooking through vignettes about each cookbook, […]

  • Book Review: Pierre Hermé Pastries
  • Written April 3, 2012

    Gorgeous. Unwieldy. Riddled with errors. So for readers who just want pretty pictures—and possibly the inspiration that comes with them—Pierre Hermé Pastries might be worth the money. Everyone else, hold on to your wallet. Fifty dollars for a book as hideously edited/translated as this one? What an insult to readers. Scarcely will those readers turn […]

  • Book Review: Pie it Forward
  • Written April 2, 2012

    In the search for “the next cupcake,” cookbook authors seem to be pushing pie as the next nominee, with at least six pie and pastry books coming out in the next few months. Food writers have been hoping that pie will get the nod, given that whoopee pies, macarons, and doughnuts, among others, haven’t managed […]

  • Book Review: My Pizza
  • Written March 23, 2012

    Since Jim Lahey’s no-knead bread recipe hit the New York Times in 2006, everybody and their mom has became a bread baker . . . even if Mom never taught them anything about being in the kitchen. Because so many Americans have lost their way in the kitchen, the no-knead technique seems astounding—just stir a […]

  • Book Review: Adventures with Chocolate
  • Written January 3, 2012

    Whether ganache feels boringly familiar or frighteningly challenging, Adventures with Chocolate has a recipe for you. Though the book (from Kyle Books, 2011), looks—and is—geared toward experienced cooks eager to experiment, Paul Young has provided a surprising number of simple recipes. Simple to execute, anyway—these recipes bring complex, bold flavors to the table, with ways […]

  • Book Review: My Family Table
  • Written November 1, 2011

    John Besh doesn’t mince words. Making a “passionate plea” in his introduction to My Family Table (Andrews McMeel, November 1, 2011), he writes of his alarm at the “terrifying wasteland of food options” sprawling between home kitchen stoves and restaurants. Bemoaning high-salt, high-sugar packaged foods, drugged-up meat, and pesticide-laden produce, he calls fast-food options “the […]

  • Book Review: Lidia’s Italy in America
  • Written October 26, 2011

    For decades, “Italian” food has been the fallback for many in the kitchen who don’t consider themselves terrific cooks. Those recipes—usually Italian-American more than classic Italian—provided straightforward flavors with few exotic ingredients required. In Lidia’s Italy in America (Knopf, October 26, 2011), Lidia Bastianich takes readers on a tour of those recipes and their origins […]

  • Book Review: Maman’s Homesick Pie:A Persian Heart in an American Kitchen
  • Written October 11, 2011

    Donia Bijan opens Maman’s Homesick Pie (Algonquin, October 11, 2011) in sorrow, starting her cooking memoir a few days after her mother’s brutal death, run over while she was out for a walk. It’s a sorrow woven throughout the book, chronicling the brutal changes that came to Iran with the revolution and the exile that […]

  • Book Review: One Sweet Cookie
  • Written October 5, 2011

    Please excuse the crumbs: It’s hard to type a cookbook review while contentedly munching a result of a recipe test for that book. With One Sweet Cookie (Rizzoli, October 4, 2011), the recipes may not be amazing or terribly original, but they certainly are tasty. With the idea of writing a book for the ultimate […]

  • Book Review: Baking Style
  • Written September 26, 2011

    From the lurid pink cover onward, Baking Style author Lisa Yockelson goes straight for over-the-top—and her writing will either delight or utterly irritate her readers. If you’re not inclined to discuss a snickerdoodle in the same rapturous tones as your hottest night of sex ever, this isn’t the book for you. The heavy breathing therein—“butterluscious,” […]

  • Book Review: Desserts from the Famous Loveless Cafe
  • Written September 6, 2011

    First things first: There are biscuits in this book. They are not the biscuits that made the Loveless Café famous. Sorry, Loveless lovers. So the secret may still be safe, but Desserts from the Famous Loveless Café (Artisan Books, September 2011) does serve up a hefty helping of many of the café’s most popular recipes. […]

  • Book Review: A Southerly Course
  • Written April 14, 2011

    Hey y’all, think you might could mosey down to the Delta with Martha Hall Foose for some good eatin’ and readin’? Right here, bless her heart, we got us some fine tales that we’re thinking you might take a shine to. Mercifully, those tales won’t involve reading anything like that. With Martha Hall Foose’s first […]

  • Book Review: Around the World in Eighty Meals
  • Written January 17, 2011

    Following Phileas Fogg’s route, with detours thrown in for more tasty bites, food and travel writer Nan Lyons offers a tour of her favorite stops in Around the World in Eighty Meals (Red Rock Press, January 16, 2011). Lyons highlights many famous, fancy restaurants, with a solid sampling of more informal spots, including a Singapore […]

  • Book Review: Ideas in Food
  • Written January 8, 2011

    Do you: a) Think food and high-tech belong in the same sentence; b) Own at least one smoker; c) Travel with your whipped cream canister and multiple cartridges; d) Keep liquid glucose in your pantry; e) Dream of buying your own $1,000 immersion circulator so you can go around talking about your “sous vide” supper; […]

  • Book Review: The Simple Art of EatingWell
  • Written December 30, 2010

    Like the EatingWell magazine covers, The Simple Art of EatingWell proclaims its allegiances up front, with a cover shot of twine-bound asparagus spears. Meat, fish, bread, and desserts have their place in the book (published in December 2010 by Countryman Press), but the author makes clear what your focus should be: vegetables and fruit. This […]

  • Book Review: The Food Substitutions Bible
  • Written December 7, 2010

    The Food Substitutions Bible does not, at first glance, look like a book to snuggle under the covers with and read for a while. Made up of short entries from A1 sauce to zwieback, the book certainly works as a quick reference guide—but look out, because this is a book that sucks a reader in, […]

  • Writing a Cookbook Review: Always Test!
  • Written November 1, 2010

    I got a lovely comment this weekend from the author of the book Sarabeth’s Bakery, which I just reviewed on the New York Journal of Books website: I was so thrilled to read your review of my book! It amazed me how thoroughly you read the book; that you even noticed the indexer’s handiwork! Your […]

  • Book Review: Sarabeth’s Bakery: From My Hands to Yours
  • Written October 30, 2010

    At almost 4 ½ pounds, the heft of Sarabeth’s Bakery suggests serious satisfaction for the sweet tooth. A gorgeous cover shot of a baker’s apron filled with brioches—yeast buns taught to every culinary school student—also says serious recipes will follow. Filled with the classics, this cookbook (released by Rizzoli in October 2010 and written by […]

  • Book Review: One-Pot Dishes for Every Season
  • Written October 27, 2010

    If “one-pot dishes” makes you think just of soups and stews, One-Pot Dishes for Every Season (Skyhorse Publishing, October 2010) aims to widen your horizons. Author Norma Miller defines these as “dishes prepared with just one pan,” and for the most part, that holds true (that is, they are, in the end, cooked in one […]

  • Book Review: A World of Cake
  • Written October 15, 2010

    How would you define a cake? Do churros, sweet tamales, empanadas, baklava, or saffron buns come to mind? To author Krystina Castella, all of these fit her very expanded definition: “If a culture defines a dish as cake, then it’s cake.” For category purists, this may be hard to swallow, but if you can go […]

  • Book Review: Friday Night Dinners
  • Written October 13, 2010

    Which cooks will appreciate Bonnie Stern’s Friday Night Dinners? Couples who used to entertain—before kids came along and made that feel impossible; experienced cooks who need some fresh ideas; competent cooks who find matching dishes for a menu challenging; cooks who like the thought of dinner parties but not the thought of Dinner Parties in […]

  • Book Review: The Blue Chair Jam Cookbook
  • Written September 21, 2010

    In many ways, The Blue Chair Jam Cookbook couldn’t be more perfectly timed. Among foodies, at least, we’re at a fever pitch in this country for artisanal, seasonal, small-batch, local-ingredient foods. Throw in some esoteric (at least to many people outside of California) produce and many (too many) self-consciously gorgeous, retro-look photos, and the book […]

  • Book Review: Fat Witch Brownies
  • Written September 17, 2010

    It’s tough to throw around descriptions such as “legendary,” and “arguably the very best to be found on the planet,” and live up to them with something as simple as a brownie. To do it, you need serious recipes with deep, rich flavors that, despite their simplicity, can’t fail and don’t dare disappoint. The brownies […]

  • Book Review: Indulge
  • Written September 1, 2010

    While she was the pastry chef at The French Laundry, Claire Clark wrote Indulge in 2007; now released in paperback, the book remains a must-have. Although it isn’t aimed at complete novices, new bakers will find its calm instructions to be just enough—and just reassuring enough—to make baking beautiful desserts enjoyable. This is a book […]

  • Book Review: Kids’ Cakes from the Whimsical Bakehouse
  • Written June 1, 2010

    In the competitive world that is kids’ birthday parties, Liv and Kaye Hansen can help any mom stand tall. Their Westchester, N.Y., bakery, Riviera Bakehouse, boasts boldly colored (surely an understatement), topsy-turvy cakes, many of which are easy enough for home bakers to attempt. Some of those cakes were showcased in their first book, The […]

  • Book Review: The Ciao Bella Book of Gelato & Sorbetto
  • Written May 12, 2010

    Can a cook’s shelves hold too many ice cream books? Not with summer looming, and not if there’s still space for The Ciao Bella Book. Fans of Ciao Bella, which sells gelato and sorbetto in groceries across the county and has shops in California and Manhattan, will find about 100 recipes based on those offerings […]

  • Book Review: Dulce
  • Written May 6, 2010

    Would you like some sugar with your sugar? If so, Dulce is the book for you. This is a book that more than lives up to its name. Written by the pastry chef for two of Douglas Rodriguez’s restaurants, Dulce: Desserts in the Latin-American Tradition (Rizzoli, May 2010)  gives bakers classic Latin-American desserts and interesting […]

  • Book Review: Pig: King of the Southern Table
  • Written May 3, 2010

    We can only hope that the bacon craze, now a bit revolting in its ever-so-American excesses, has passed its peak. Left standing after it’s gone, though, should be James Villas’ tribute to classic Southern pork recipes in Pig (John Wiley & Sons, April 2010). Villas, who has written other books on Southern food traditions, provides […]

  • Book Review: Ready for Dessert
  • Written April 22, 2010

    Bakers who already own Room for Dessert and Ripe for Dessert know they can trust pastry chef and cookbook author David Lebovitz to provide reliable, delicious recipes. Those books, though, went out of print, so Lebovitz has combined them in Ready for Dessert (Ten Speed Press, April 2010) and added 12 recipes. Those who own […]

  • Book Review: Bromberg Bros. Blue Ribbon Cookbook
  • Written April 12, 2010

    For any cookbook author, figuring out your audience can be tricky. When you’re writing a book of restaurant recipes, you may assume the audience is people who love your food – but what can you tell about how well they can cook? This seems to be one of the dilemmas for the authors of Bromberg […]

  • Book Review: Supper for a Song
  • Written March 23, 2010

    Take a quick skim through Supper for a Song, by Tamasin Day-Lewis (Rizzoli, March 2010), and your first thought may be, “Wow, songs sure must cost more in Britain.” This book will pull readers in with its attractive layout and photos, then push them away as a closer read reveals a book that borders on […]

  • Save Dinner: Serve Dessert
  • Written March 1, 2010

    Nothing rescues dinner like dessert. No matter how terrible that which came before, dessert has the power to make my guests leave happy. I’m always surprised how baking terrifies people who consider themselves good cooks. And for new cooks, choosing a dessert seems overwhelming. If it’s easy, it’s probably not fancy enough. But fancy’s frightening, […]

  • Book Review: Baking Unplugged
  • Written February 22, 2010

    As our lives get ever more surrounded—even overtaken—by machines, it’s easy to succumb to the nostalgia of a life lived without plug-ins. Ah, for the simple days survived by the power of our own hands, without fear that we’ve lost the knowledge to do easy tasks on our own. That’s the appeal of Baking Unplugged […]

  • Chocolate Loves Rosemary: A Whey Cool Romance
  • Written January 8, 2010

    Little Miss Muffet has nothing on my family lately. She just sat around on her tuffet; we race around the kitchen, trying to outrun the buckets of whey that keep pushing open the fridge doors and threatening to leap out. Why so much whey? Well, when you’re the child of a baker, it’s a good […]

  • Chocolate Rum Balls: A Quick Gift to Yourself
  • Written December 23, 2009

    Two days after Thanksgiving, I gazed at my Christmas tree with the sweet satisfaction of domestic competence. Fully lit and decorated, we’d accomplished the set-up with ease this year. The glow lasted about 5 minutes. When I looked at the calendar, Christmas loomed in, it seemed, about 5 days. I went fast from bliss to […]

  • News Flash: Dessert First Gets Trendy
  • Written December 5, 2009

    No one would ever accuse me of being trendy, but every once in a while, I get lucky. Whoopie, it’s my lucky day! Epicurious has posted its foodie predictions for 2010, and I, my friends, have been long ahead of this curve. The top dessert trend for 2010? Mini whoopie pies! Now I have to […]

  • Sweet Power Tools
  • Written December 2, 2009

    I like to work with my hands — sometimes. I love to knead dough, and I preach its importance to the bread classes I’ve taught: There’s no better way to approach bread happiness, fast, than learning through touch. But, as I’ve noted before, I’m very fond of electricity. I got to thinking about this again […]

  • Scones: Prep School for Pie Crust
  • Written November 16, 2009

    For me, happiness really is as easy as pie. Few desserts please me as much as a well-made slice, though these are devilishly hard to find these days. As I’ve written on Sweet Memories, I’m aiming for the title of Pie Mom, a high honor. While I do find pie easy, I know the fear […]

  • A Baker’s Garden Dozen
  • Written August 28, 2009

    Since moving several years ago, I’ve been without a garden, until I finally got one started this year. We built a fence, laid down good soil, and put in some little plants. My plan was to build trellises based on a design I’d read about, but I couldn’t find the right netting. Meanwhile, it rained. […]

  • Uncluttered Baking
  • Written May 22, 2009

    Before we got married, my husband and I found a prenup agreement laughable: I was a newspaper copy editor, and he was a grad student — what assets were there  to fight over? But when we prepared for a new house a few years ago, we did have a sort of pre-build: I would design […]

  • Spring+Strawberries=Supper
  • Written May 8, 2009

    My mother, sweet, dignified, full of both Southern warmth and Northern reserve, would never strike you as a woman of wild abandon. As a mother myself, I hear a voice in my head in many situations saying, “be like Mom” — as in, be gracious, firm, loving and kind. In my kids’ eyes, though, the […]

  • Finding Recipes that Work
  • Written July 27, 2005

    These days, following a recipe feels like a luxury. If you read cookbooks with any regularity, you’ll get one message pounded in: Real cooks don’t follow recipes. Real cooks eat quiche they pulled out of thin air. Cookbooks promise they’ll teach you how to cook without books, how to improvise incessantly. (Although why, you should […]

  • Feeding Your Inner Kid
  • Written June 14, 2005

    It all started with a lollipop. Driving through UNC’s campus each day to take my son to preschool, I got an eyeful of the latest in 20-something fashion. What struck me as especially weird one morning, though, wasn’t the low-rise jeans or high-cut boots. It was the fashion for baby food..

  • Sweetest Tea
  • Written May 17, 2005

    I am not, in the fullest sense, a Southerner. Born and raised in Raleigh, I have always considered myself Southern, but I was often irritatingly reminded that that wasn’t enough by older women who pointedly asked where I was from, noting that I didn’t sound very Southern. With a mother from Connecticut and a Nebraskan […]

  • No Carbs? Go Nuts with Cashews
  • Written April 18, 2005

    It was with no small amusement that I read recently of the drop in demand for low-carb products. If obesity weren’t such a problem in this country, it’d be comical how lemming-like people run from one diet to the next. I took my own stab at a low-carb life for a few days at the […]

  • All-Grown-Up Partying
  • Written March 14, 2005

    I’ve hit a new demographic, and I’m not celebrating. I’m now solidly in the over-35 category, as hit home when I bought a rowing machine. Glancing through the instructions, I came across this pearl: “Persons over 35 should consult a physician before using this machine…” I celebrated a birthday, and now I might die from […]

  • Pancakes: Sweet Comfort in a Gadget
  • Written February 15, 2005

    Somewhere in your life, there’s probably a comfort pancake. Maybe it’s the chocolate chip pancakes your mother used to make, or your college diner’s dinner plate-size version, or a Korean scallion pancake. For me, it was eierkuchen, a 10-inch, crepe-like, eggy German pancake that my mother (and her mother) made occasionally for supper. Close behind […]

  • I Scream for Winter Cream
  • Written December 23, 2004

    If it’s winter, it must be time for ice cream. I remember feeling only a little surprised when Maple View Farm opened its new store and began selling ice cream in January — and was promptly packed. With so many warm winter days in North Carolina, why not eat ice cream year-round? For those of […]

  • Finding Your Biscuit Hand
  • Written November 23, 2004

    Life starts to feel complete once you’ve slept in a caboose. My wanderlust has reached a high pitch lately, with dreams of European travel coming, unbidden, at all hours. Since that’s not happening soon, given the tots in our house, my husband instead planned a quick mountain getaway recently. That was all I knew — […]

  • Killer Kid Menus
  • Written September 28, 2004

    Children’s menus have turned me into a conspiracy theorist. Never one to fall for such nonsense, I’m deeply uncomfortable about this. And yet, what else should a parent think?

  • Baking Toys
  • Written June 29, 2004

    Ordinarily, bulldozers and cement mixers don’t set my heart aflutter; I’ve always been grateful to have children who prefer the romance of trains over a truck’s brawn. With one month to go until we break ground for our new house, though, I find myself looking longingly at every digger that passes by. But then the […]

  • Spicing Up Your Pantry
  • Written May 25, 2004

    Simple, with me, is rarely just that. Somehow, everything blossoms. A simple run at cleaning the counters turns into a full-bore kitchen renewal. Simple suppers still seem to take me 45 minutes and end up with far more dishes on the table than four people really need. And a simple search online for one spice? […]

  • Taken with Tarts
  • Written April 27, 2004

    When I get back to teaching cooking classes, I want to teach tarts. As in pies, not strumpets. (Which leads me to thoughts of crumpets, also worth teaching.)

  • Zesting for Life
  • Written March 30, 2004

    Grate heavens, I have had an epiphany, and its name is Microplane. If you cook much, you may be thinking about now, “Boy, is she slow on the uptake.” Yes, I know Microplanes aren’t exactly new anymore. But I resisted these graters for years. I’m a reforming gadgetholic, and after all, I had a perfectly […]

  • Truly Mixed Up
  • Written February 23, 2004

    When my agent found a publisher for my first book, it was tentatively titled “Thyme for Dessert.” Not a bad title, we thought, since it got across the point (herbs in desserts). My editor kindly but powerfully disagreed. “Too down-market,” she sniffed, and as a food writer living in Chapel Hill, the last thing I […]

  • Java Power
  • Written January 26, 2004

    There’s been a revolution in our house. My husband has discovered coffee. Not coffee as in ice cream. And most assuredly not Folgers. No, my husband is now on a first-name basis with the owners of our local coffeehouse, and folks, he’s drinking espresso. Yes, it has a shot (or three) of chocolate syrup and […]

  • Cookbooks in a League of Their Own
  • Written December 24, 2003

    I made pad Thai the other night, and I’m still celebrating. Days later, I get a little thrill just thinking about it. And no, my life isn’t really that sad. After several years of increasingly kidded-down meals, I’d begun to despair of ever eating interesting adult food again. Then, hark! Was that really a “Mom, […]

  • An Eclectic List of Classic Cookbooks
  • Written November 22, 2003

    Good grief, it’s December already? I’m always looking longingly toward winter, ready to be done with sticky summers. But as soon as December hits, I want to put the brakes on. Especially with children, the month flies by. There’s never enough time to prepare all our special foods for Christmas and then, a few days […]

  • Baking that Trumpets Flavor
  • Written October 27, 2003

    Where’s the brass? It’s my constant refrain every year when the new symphony schedule comes out, and I was thinking it again last week at our latest concert. The pianist’s fingers flew faster than mine on deadline; I was impressed, but still, there just wasn’t enough brass. It’s always violins and piano. Violins are, well […]

  • Putting a Well-Stocked Pantry to Work
  • Written September 25, 2003

    Unexpected guests, that overused topic of food and home writers, rarely present a problem for me. Either this is a sign that I don’t have enough friends, or it shows that my friends know me all too well: I am not fond of surprise knocks at the door. Nor am I fond of surprise occasions […]

  • Any Grill in a Storm
  • Written September 23, 2003

    Honey! It’s drizzling! Batten down the hatches! So, we’ve braved our way through another hurricane. Frankly, despite the nonstop “news” hyping this storm and scaring everyone to bits, I just couldn’t get all worked up over Isabel. After having just one hurricane hit this area in my lifetime, I think we need to get over […]

  • Icing on the …
  • Written July 23, 2003

    With our children’s birthdays 16 days apart, “Christmas in July” rings true in my house. The anticipation, especially for my now-4-year-old, builds for nearly a year; we’re almost as exciting as Santa. Last year’s party was a baseball one, and nearly as soon as it was over, my son began dreaming up themes for this […]

  • Recipe Freedom?
  • Written May 28, 2003

    Are you a recipe slave? Do you shiver in fear if you forgot to set a timer for your cookies? Do you get the heebie-jeebies from the measurement-less phrase “salt to taste?”

  • Plugged into my Kitchen
  • Written February 25, 2003

    Need a scary story for your next campout? Try this: Once upon a time, a mercifully long time ago, kitchens were horrifyingly empty. Their counters held knives, bowls, and spoons, but where were the mixers, toasters, food processors, microwaves, coffee machines? Oh, my child, it was a sad, desolate time. Today, though, there are still […]

  • Crazy for Cream
  • Written January 28, 2003

    One of the loveliest words of the English language must be cream, and all its variations. There isn’t anything I don’t like about cream, from the real thing, to being described as a peaches-and-cream baby, to a creamy cheese, to certain nuts (especially cashews) that seem to coat the tongue with cream. Describe a wine […]

  • Baking Some Good News
  • Written January 14, 2003

    As a former reporter and editor, I am a news junkie. So when my husband gave me the day-after-Christmas gift of time for a long bath, I grabbed all the papers from the past few days and headed for a soak. But I quickly regretted my choice of reading material. In the post-Christmas glow, the […]

  • Sweet on Stollen
  • Written December 13, 2002

    Do you Atkins? If you’re even vaguely trendy, you’ve probably been counting carbs at every meal lately, and eating bowls of plain whipped cream for dessert. New York restaurants now offer those bowls without blinking. But because God provided me with double the skeptic gene, I was naturally disbelieving when I first learned the details […]

  • Simple Food with Friends
  • Written December 2, 2002

    No one will ever mistake me for Martha Stewart or her wannabes. I ought to know how to be one, because being a food writer means keeping up with food and lifestyle magazines. But I’ve learned to stick to the food and restaurant stories. When I get to the “entertaining” ones, I just get depressed. […]

  • The Diner’s Bill of Rights
  • Written November 17, 2002

    I admit that when it comes to eating out, I can be hard to please. Not when we go to a diner, where I don’t expect too much, but when we spend more than $10 for an entree, my expectations go up with the price. And when a restaurant has been anointed — or is […]

  • Making Sweet Memories
  • Written October 22, 2002

    So you’re thinking about becoming a food writer. Did you: A) grow up on a farm, where Mama canned peaches sweet as the day is long, and where all the menfolk came in with stomachs growling for her dinnertime feast, set out on a long, rustic wooden table, of  fried chicken, country ham, collards and […]

  • The Peanut Gallery Eats
  • Written October 16, 2002

    I miss me. Ever since my life was divided into two halves, B.B. and A.B., I miss my B.B. self. B.B.–Before Baxter–I was a happening cook. I am hip in almost no other ways, but my cooking kept up with (and sometimes preceded, in ways of which I was inordinately proud) the latest food trends. […]