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How one working woman cooks family meals every night of the week

» NYT: "For the past 10 years, I have starred in my own reality series: “Working Mom Cooks Weeknight Dinner.” Think of it as “Survivor” meets “Iron Chef” with a bit of “Deal or No Deal.” In the show’s long-running history there have been stretches in which the entire tribe was forced to subsist on scrambled eggs, tuna sandwiches and reheated Chinese food. But together we have overcome obstacles, gained wisdom and reached a point where my husband and I and our two boys eat balanced and even inventive home-cooked meals most nights."

Cooking dinner every night is at once much, much harder than most people realize (especially if you're trying not to waste a thing—how can I use up this bunch of cilantro?) and, once you get into the habit, not nearly as hard as it seems like it will be. If you follow the meal plan she outlines here, you'll have something to eat every night of the week. (thanks, jjg!)  [ 07/13/07 ]

Whole Wheat, Rye, and Pumpernickel No-Knead Bread

» For those of you who may have missed it, I've posted instructions for John Desmond's Whole Wheat, Rye, and Pumpernickel No-Knead Bread over on the other blog.  [ 06/06/07 ]

Karen Hess, RIP

» Karen Hess, a "kind but combative" food historian died last week. Apparently, her book The Taste of America doesn't just chronicle food history—it skewers the popular chefs of the day, including my beloved Julia Child. "She always believed that history was written in our daily lives, not just in battles won and court cases, which was how traditional historians had always written things." John Martin Taylor, cookbook author.  [ 05/28/07 ]

The (Organic) Thrifty Food Plan Challenge

» Whole Wheat Mushroom PizzaI'm still tweaking the website, but I'd like to introduce my latest project: The (Organic) Thrifty Food Plan Challenge Eating Organic on a Food Stamp Budget. (I've been persuaded that the second one is a snappier name.)

We eat well. Maybe a little too well, judging from our waistlines. And we eat pretty inexpensively, too. So the recent spate of publicity about Oregon Governor Ted Kulongoski's committment to eat food totalling only $21 for one week (the amount an average Oregon food stamp recipient receives) caught my attention.

Now, the Governor's stunt is a little misleading: no one expects The government doesn't expect food stamp recipients to eat on only $21 a week (though I'm sure some people try). The USDA's Thrifty Food Plan [pdf] (from which food stamp allotments are derived) is spartan enough, but the most recent figures provide an adult male between the ages of 20 and 50 years of age with $35.40 a week for food—part of which will be provided by food stamps, and part by the individual, depending on their income. Regardless, the Governor's point is well taken. It's not a lot of money to spend on a week's worth of food.

I pride myself on my thrifty shopping habits. I've also been fortunate in these last few years to be able to afford to buy organic and locally grown fresh food most of the time. So I've decided to take the Governor's challenge a step further. I'd like to see if I can feed the two of us for one month on a "Thrifty Food Plan" budget using organic food. My budget: 74.00/week or 320.80/month, the USDA "Thrifty" standard for a family of 2 adults, aged 20-50 years.

I just completed my first week. I spent more than I thought I would, but in general, I think it's going pretty well. You can read today's entry, how I'm accounting for individual items, my Sunday's week-end summary, or just start at the beginning and read from there.  (3) Comments  / [ 05/08/07 ]

Study: salt-watered tomatoes taste better

» Harold McGee reports on a study that shows watering hydroponic tomatoes with a weak saline solution enhances both their flavor and their nutritional profile [ 02/02/07 ]

No-knead bread

» Jim Lahey’s No-knead Bread. [Recipe(5) Comments  / [ 11/09/06 ]

What the new Joy of Cooking is missing

» Slate: What the new Joy of Cooking is missing.  (2) Comments  / [ 11/03/06 ]

How to preserve pumpkin for year-round enjoyment

» How to Keep Yourself in Pumpkin All Year Long. Bonus link: The Lemons Family Favorites Cookbook featuring Grandma Lemon's Custardy Pumpkin Pie [ 11/02/06 ]

A Feast Day Cookbook

» Feast Day Cookbook by Katherine Burton & Helmut Ripperger. (via ml [ 10/20/06 ]

The Essentials of a Japanese Pantry

» The essentials of a Japanese pantry organized by must-haves, good-to-haves, and not-essential-at-all. (via afb [ 09/06/06 ]

State Fair Food Cooking: Still Competitive

» On the other hand, State Fairs are updating their food competitions by introducing contests for items like biscotti and bagels and specifically including men: in men-only baking contests, events pitting local firefighters against the sheriff’s department in Iron-Chef contests featuring local ingredients, and spectator events like chicken wing cook-offs and barbecue contests. "Cooking and gardening are almost hobbies now, not necessary for survival as they were when the fairs began. But the spirit is just as competitive as it always has been." Diane Roupe, a longtime judge at the Iowa fair.  [ 08/18/06 ]

Farm-to-table Restaurants a new trend

» A new American trend takes eating locally to it's logical conclusion: restauranteur-owned farms. "I pick the Swiss chard and put it in the car. They wash it off in the kitchen, and then we eat it. I can’t tell you the difference that makes." Dan Kary, owner of Cinque Terre restaurant and Grand View Farm in Portland, Maine.

Now wait a minute. This seems like a natural match to me. The Foodie/Slow Food/Eat Local crowd should be flocking to the fair to meet local farmers, learn about local foodways, and submit their own preserves for judging. And what better place for organic and pasture-based farmers to meet a public interested in local agriculture—and to exchange information with other farmers about their businesses and their farming experience? (1) Comments  / [ 08/18/06 ]

Medieval and Renaissance Food and Miscellany

» Those of you who enjoy Geoffrey Chaucer's delightful blog may also enjoy perusing Cariadoc's Miscellany (especially the "Articles in Persona") and the Medieval and Renaissance Food Homepage. I love, love, love these old-fashioned webpages, and they are a dying breed. Every new site, it seems, is a blog (as if that's the only way to order information) and no one seems willing to put up a plain, unstyled piece of information anymore. (2) Comments  / [ 08/16/06 ]

Jack Keler's Wine-making Blog

» Jack Keler's Winemaking Blog has it all, from identifying grapes to weather effects on fermenting wine. And the recipes! Banana Wine, Mesquite Wine, Daylily Wine, Mint Jelly, and Mint Jelly Wine.... There are no permalinks, so scroll down to see what a vasty resource this is. (1) Comments  / [ 08/04/06 ]

Smart Pans

» Smart pans. Training wheels for cooks.  [ 08/04/06 ]

Canning Fruit with a Solar Cooker

» Oh, how awesome is this? Canning fruit using a solar cooker. (Acid foods only!)   [ 07/20/06 ]

Solar Funnel Cooker/Refrigerator

» Brigham Young University Professor of Physics Steven E. Jones's Solar Funnel Cooker outperforms other solar cookers and can be used as a refrigerator at night! You can make one at home.

I would like to see the "Funnel Refrigerator" tried in desert climates, especially where freezing temperatures are rarely reached. It should be possible in this way to cheaply make ice for Hutus in Rwanda and for aborigines in Australia, without using any electricity or other modern "tricks." We are in effect bringing some of the cold of space to a little corner on earth. Please let me know how this works for you.

 (4) Comments  / [ 07/20/06 ]

Four cookbooks for newlyweds

» NYT: Four cookbooks for newlyweds. The author makes a good case for each of these, but my list would be different:

What would you recommend? (12) Comments  / [ 07/17/06 ]

Profile of Angelo Garro

» A short profile of San Francisco blacksmith and master forager Angelo Garro, the man who taught Michael Pollan to hunt for The Omnivore's Dilemma [ 06/30/06 ]

Rosemary Recipes

» A Little Weekend Cooking: Upon my return, my community garden plot was overrun with rosemary. What to do with the surplus? I started searching on the Web and found so many interesting recipes, I wish I had brought more home:

The Basics



Main dishes and Sides



  [ 06/23/06 ]

Mennonite Housewife creates cookbook empire

» Phyllis Pellman Good is a Mennonite housewife who has sold seven million copies of her cookbooks—more than the combined US sales of Ina Garten, Giada De Laurentiis and Jamie Oliver. "I think the food media has been responsible for creating this whole world of faux food, and this is a media largely consumed by people who eat out six times a week. We are not all served by thinking of food as a special-occasion product." Christopher Kimball, founding editor of Cooks Illustrated.  [ 06/20/06 ]

On risotto, stock, and soupmaking

» After being on the road for nearly a month, it's a treat to prepare our own food again. Last night I was struck by how very simple some of our favorite meals are. We had brown rice risotto, a dish we usually have several times a month. It's simple, it's infinitely malleable, and it's delicious. And inexpensive: 1/2 cup of brown rice, 1/2 cup of arborio rice, 1/2 cup of white wine, 1/4 cup of parmesan cheese, a shallot, and a quart of stock. With a green salad, this is a feast.

I made the vegetable stock in the afternoon, and it's simpler still. A few cloves of garlic, an onion, 2 carrots, 2 celery stalks, some salt and thyme, and parsley if you have it. It requires a few minutes of chopping, 10 minutes of sauteeing, 20 minutes of simmering, and that's it: 4 quarts of very flavorful stock in about half an hour. I freeze it in mason jars.

I must confess that I never use stock for my soups. Any soup that starts with onion, celery, and carrots or a similar combination is already creating its own stock as far as I'm concerned. And when I've experimented, I quite honestly can never taste the difference between a soup made with stock and one that uses only water. (A light, brothy soup would be the exception of course, but in my house soup is usually the meal.)

Now that Meg is food-blogging fulltime, I wish she'd do a feature on this. Does it really make a difference to use stock in soup? Are other people really that much more discerning than I am? Is it only important when using a meat-based stock in a soup that otherwise contains no meat? Does it make a difference for most kinds of soup? Or is this such an article of faith that most cookbook writers haven't thought through when and how a stock is essential to soupmaking? (7) Comments  / [ 06/16/06 ]

Cooking Tips and Tricks

» Amazon has compiled a list of Cooking Tips and Tricks from Cook's Illustrated. I'm happy to learn from this list the proper technique for removing the pit from an olive.  [ 05/02/06 ]

The Martha Stewart of Japan

» Harumi Kurihara, Japan's "karisuma shufu" — a charisma housewife — is one of the most loved Martha Stewarts of Japan. Harumi's Japanese Cooking has just been published in the United States. "A Japanese mother's reputation in school rests on her bentos." Nobuko Suzuki, editor of Harumi Kurihara's Japanese cookbooks. (1) Comments  / [ 04/19/06 ]

Homemade Tofu

» Fabulous: Making Tofu at home. Once you've assembled the equipment and ingredients, it looks nearly as straighforward as making yogurt, and only a little more time-consuming. (1) Comments  / [ 04/10/06 ]

James Beard Award 2006 Nominees

» Oh dear. The 2006 James Beard Awards Nominees have been announced. I'm committed to acquiring only 1 new cookbook a year — it takes about a year of consistent effort to put a well-made cookbook through its paces. I think it's going to come down to a choice between Vegetarian Suppers from Deborah Madison's Kitchen and Washoku: Recipes From The Japanese Home Kitchen. (I've wanted to learn Japanese cooking since I visited there last year.) Thankfully, the third book I really want isn't really a cookbook at all: Hungry Planet: What the World Eats, the new project from the folks who put together the wonderful Material World: A Global Family Portrait(3) Comments  / [ 04/06/06 ]

Why would you want to?

» How to make Vegan Twinkies (via rw [ 03/31/06 ]

Firemen's Favorite Vegan Recipes

» Firemen's Favorite Vegan Recipes. "Fight Fire, Fight Cholesterol, Fight Fat." (via rw [ 03/27/06 ]

Food Science Reading List

» A Food Science and Molecular Gastronomy Reading List [ 03/23/06 ]

The Smithsonian's Travelling American Food Exhibit

» Key Ingredients: America by Food is the website companion to the Smithsonian Institution's traveling exhibition of the same name. It features an American Food Timeline, a collection of recipes and stories from across the USA (contribute your own!), and an exhibition schedule [ 03/21/06 ]

Make your own chewing gum

» Coolhunting reviews Glee's Make Your Own Chewing Gum Kits [ 01/31/06 ]

Yogurt Panna Cotta

» Good and good for you: Yogurt Panna Cotta (via at [ 01/26/06 ]

Better Coffee Through Science

» The AeroPress Coffee Machine uses immersion and pressure to deliver smooth, rich coffee in under 30 seconds. (thanks, jjg!)  [ 01/19/06 ]

I want one

» Dual-ended Silicone Spatula [ 01/12/06 ]



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