With Derby Day upon us, our annual excuse to start drinking bourbon early on a Saturday, I must of course give a nod to a great cocktail, the mint julep—bourbon, sweetened, flavored and garnished with mint. My pal Blake Bailey, who introduced me to the drink one ill-fated spring day long ago (read about that day in his gripping new memoir The Splendid Things We Planned) would insist on crushed ice and I wouldn’t disagree, especially if you have swell julep glasses. But my copyeditor, Karen Wise, sent me an article from the Boston Globe on four different cocktails in the Smash family. It’s not a common term, Smash, and there seems to be little definitive consensus. (“A smash is a julep, but a julep isn’t always a smash,” for instance, from Imbibe’s muddled history Read On »

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  “Ramp” by Donna Turner Ruhlman.   Because I love this photo and because they’re here. If it weren’t already apparent at your local Farmer’s Market, Kim Severson spells it out in her story about weather and food in today’s Times. Specifically, the long winter we’ve had, the late spring, and what it means for what we have to eat that’s grown nearby. I’m doing a special private dinner tomorrow at Spice on Cleveland’s West Side, whose chef, Ben Bebenroth, is one of the city’s most outspoken chef-locavores. He had been planning to put the season’s first asparagus on the menu, but they simply haven’t grown yet. So rather than buy asparagus grown in California or wherever, he’s amending his courses for an all-Ohio late spring menu. Here at our house, we’re roasting young chickens, lots of Read On »

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In honor of Mother’s Day two weeks hence, Mac has reduced the price of all our kitchen tools by 40% if you use the promo code “mothers” for this week only (ends Friday 5/2 at midnight eastern). Simply type that word in Step 2 under “Discounts” and Shopify will tabulate it. Mac Dalton and I created these tools to make cooking easier and more practical. Flat-edged wood spoons are an essential in my kitchen, as are the offset spoons and the deep all-purpose perforated spoon, aka Badass Egg Spoon (which has already changed many lives! or one at least). And I can’t keep your knives sharp for you but I can give you a place to put them. This in-drawer knife holder is one of my most valuable items—the second photo is of my knife drawer Read On »

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I’ll be doing a couple cocktails featuring the egg as this is the month of Egg, my new book exploring the world’s most versatile ingredient. The stuff of life. Seriously. We’re lucky each time we eat one (unless you’re Paul Newman playing Cool Hand Luke). We’re luckier still every time we drink one! They are great in cocktails. Last week I featured the whiskey sour. A favorite of my Grandma Spamer, who would have been 97 today. Though by the time I saw her drink them, they were made with frozen lime concentrate or some such, and certainly no egg white. And frankly a sour doesn’t have to have an egg white. Oh, but add an egg white and they become substantial. They are more satisfying on every level, with real body to carry that Read On »

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You’d think a health news piece in the venerable NYTimes questioning a NYTimes op-ed linking illness and salt would make me happy, but it only makes me angry. What is the media’s problem? Nobody knows anything for certain—that is the only possible story. Nobody really knows anything for certain. Not your doctor, not your nutritionist, not ABC News, not the Times, and, for sure, not me. Today’s op-ed by Nicholas Bakalar questions an earlier op-ed by Dr. Thomas A. Farley, former commissioner of health for New York City (both articles linked above), who wrote that excess salt is killing 40,000 to 90,000 people a year (according to “best estimates”—what exactly does this mean?). Think about this number. It accounts for more deaths than breast cancer. If he is right, shouldn’t we all be wearing little Read On »

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