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Ruth Reichl
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Home Grown Here on the East Coast, January, February, and March are bleak. Snow melts into sludge. Sunlight's in short supply. Night comes too soon. You begin longing for fresh vegetables, waiting for the return of vibrant farmers' markets. This gift really helps. I love looking at the vertical garden in my window. Tasting it is even better. You harvest... Continue reading
Posted 10 hours ago at Ruth Reichl
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Nice Ice Speakeasy's are the coolest kids on the block. The bitters shelves in fancy grocery stores keep growing. And cocktail guides have become their own special category in your local bookstore. We're having a cocktail moment—and it's not likely to end very soon. But if you care about cocktails, attention must be paid to the ice. The best bartenders... Continue reading
Posted yesterday at Ruth Reichl
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Deep Dark Soft Seductive You either love it or you don't. Those who hate licorice will tell you about their first communion with the stuff, which invariably includes five gallon glass jars, broken teeth and cobwebs. But true licorice is something else. It's warm and spicy, with a flavor that fills your mouth and then your mind. Most Americans only... Continue reading
Posted 2 days ago at Ruth Reichl
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Aroma Matters Just how much of our sensory experience of food is informed by our taste buds, how much by our noses? I once did a radio show with Daniel Boulud, where we put clothespins on our noses, blindfolds on our eyes, and began eating jelly beans. It was truly stunning; we literally could not tell the difference between cherry... Continue reading
Posted 3 days ago at Ruth Reichl
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Poor Man's Caviar Or maybe not so poor. Bottarga, the cured roe of grey mullet, isn't exactly cheap. On the other hand, you get the hit of caviar - that sexy saline flavor - without the expense. Because you just can't eat that much of it. Bottarga is poised to be tomorrow's uni - the food darling of the moment... Continue reading
Posted 4 days ago at Ruth Reichl
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Looking Back A man cannot be too serious about his eating for food is the force that binds society together. Confucius If you want to see what China - and Chinese food - was like before wealth and pollution irrevocably changed it, you could not do better than the series called “A Taste of China,” which was shot in 1984,... Continue reading
Posted 5 days ago at Ruth Reichl
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A Cup of Luxury Got a caffeine freak in your life? Want to give her (or him) something that will really float their boat? Here it is. Gesha coffee is considered by coffee snobs to be the world’s best coffee; unroasted beans have sold for up to $170 a pound at auction. Named after its birthplace in Ethiopia, gesha boasts... Continue reading
Posted 6 days ago at Ruth Reichl
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Persimmons, Preserved Before man found fire we used the sun to preserve food. And for good reason; it’s the most natural way to cook. Drying does more than simply make food last longer. It transforms many foods in remarkably wonderful ways. Nowhere is this more obvious than in the hachiya persimmon. Raw hachiyas have an astringent flavor and fibrous texture... Continue reading
Posted 7 days ago at Ruth Reichl
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Slick Sticks If you know someone who is constantly asking, "Got a toothpick?" (and don't we all?), here's the perfect present. Unless, of course, your toothpick lover is a teetotaller. These are not just any old toothpicks. These special toothpicks are hand-whittled out of American birch. Soaked in six-year old American bourbon. And sold in elegant smoked glass bottles. Could... Continue reading
Posted Dec 11, 2014 at Ruth Reichl
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In 2006, when Anne Saxelby opened Saxelby Cheese with a focus on farmstead cheeses from the Northeast, many of us had already embraced the notion of eating local. Except when it came to cheese. Back then few people were willing to forego foreign cheese; we couldn't believe Americans could match what the Europeans were doing. We’ve come a long way.... Continue reading
Posted Dec 10, 2014 at Ruth Reichl
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Mushrooms Like Magic Mushroom people are secretive. Professional foragers never divulge their favorite spots. Even amateur hunters go tip-toeing through the woods, keeping their good fortune to themselves. (The mushroom above, should you care to know, is a delicious pink oyster.) There's nothing more romantic than tromping through a wet forest, trying to unearth what would rather go unseen. It... Continue reading
Posted Dec 9, 2014 at Ruth Reichl
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A Little Luxury If you can’t rationalize buying something for yourself, you've probably stumbled upon an excellent gift. These 100 percent linen napkins from Il Buco Vita are case-in-point. Two-hundred dollars for four napkins? Insane. But one of the best gifts I’ve ever received. They're certainly among the most luxurious objects I own. Exquisitely constructed, they’re soft but feel substantial... Continue reading
Posted Dec 8, 2014 at Ruth Reichl
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For a Constant Traveler I've spent a lot of time on the road (and in the air) this year, and coffee is a problem. It drives me crazy to pay room service prices for bad coffee, but I don't want to get dressed and go out foraging for caffeine either. Many hotels now have in-room coffee makers, but they make... Continue reading
Posted Dec 7, 2014 at Ruth Reichl
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Speaking of Tongues It's not pretty. But have you ever tasted tongue? Forget what it looks like. Forget what it is. Close your eyes and take a bite. The texture is stunningly soft and extremely seductive. The flavor is mild and barely meaty. There's nothing gnarly about the way it eats: even the most offal-resistant person can fall in love... Continue reading
Posted Dec 6, 2014 at Ruth Reichl
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Home Grown Pepper Powder Warm heat. Fruity. Complex. This is flavor that stays with you, reverberating in the mouth. Think about the sweet, appealing fruitiness of habanero. Now remove the knockout punch. That will give you an idea of ezpeleta peppers. For years I've been using piment d'espalette, sprinkling it on everything from uni pasta to soft boiled eggs. But... Continue reading
Posted Dec 5, 2014 at Ruth Reichl
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For a Walrus or a Carpenter There is, for me, something magical about getting a box of oysters just hours out of the ocean, on the far side of the country. Aroudn my house the holidays wouldn't seem quite right without a few dozen Pacific oysters. I order mine from Taylor Shellfish Farms, a family-owned company that's been raising oysters... Continue reading
Posted Dec 4, 2014 at Ruth Reichl
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So Spicy! We all know a few people who obsess over hard-to-find cooking ingredients. They were eating Sichuan peppercorns years ago, regularly incorporate candlenuts into stews, and know every non-New-American restaurant in town. Their fever may seem showy to some, but to me its just a love of food, full tilt. These friends are great to hang out with, but... Continue reading
Posted Dec 3, 2014 at Ruth Reichl
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A Great Burger I'm married to a burger connoisseur, a man who would rather eat hamburgers than steak and would gladly do it three times a day. I often hand chop the meat; I like the texture, and the fact that it allows me to use really good dry-aged meat in the mixture. But when I buy pre-ground burger meat,... Continue reading
Posted Dec 2, 2014 at Ruth Reichl
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Pure Fun! Angelo Garro is bigger than life. Cook, hunter, raconteur, blacksmith, a day in his company is one you'll never forget. You may have read about him in The Omnivore's Dilemma; he was the one who took Michael Pollan off to hunt boar. Or you may have seen him in my own (long-ago) Food Network special, Eating Out Loud,... Continue reading
Posted Dec 1, 2014 at Ruth Reichl
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Sensible Seeds Farm to table is so last year; the new movement is seed to table. If you really care about where your food comes from, you start at the beginning, with soil and seeds. For most of human history, farmers raised regional plants adapted to the local soil and climate. The idea that we can all grow anything, anywhere,... Continue reading
Posted Nov 30, 2014 at Ruth Reichl
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A Wood for the Wise People who obsess about barbecue are in a class by themselves. Blessed with patience, they spend endless hours standing by slow fires, waiting for meat to soak up the fine scent of smoke. They worry about every detail along the way, but their two main concerns are meat and wood. Great barbecue demands smoke -... Continue reading
Posted Nov 29, 2014 at Ruth Reichl
Hi Jo, Advent Calendar. I usually don't start the gift guide until December 1st, but I started early this year. And I'll keep going, right up to Christmas. Some great stuff coming up....
Toggle Commented Nov 28, 2014 on 2014 Gift Guide, Day Five at Ruth Reichl
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The barbecue expert was skeptical when I told him I'd ordered the pulled pork online. Even when I said that is came from Elizabeth Karmel, who was responsible for some of the food at Hill County, he lifted an eyebrow. "She's a baker," he said. "Makes great peanutbutter and jelly cupcakes. But 'cue... maybe not so much." Then I mentioned... Continue reading
Posted Nov 28, 2014 at Ruth Reichl
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Steam Me Up This traditional Japanese rice pot somehow makes rice taste better. And it goes easily from the stove to the table, where it sits looking serenely ceramic and incredibly lovely. But that's not why I love it so much. These days I find myself steaming foods - from vegetables to seafood to dumplings - with increasing frequency. Do... Continue reading
Posted Nov 26, 2014 at Ruth Reichl
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Truly Fabulous Fruitcake I know, I know - everybody hates fruitcake. But not this one. Baked to order of locally sourced all-organic ingredients, this is the fruitcake you've always longed for. No red and green cherries - just lots of great dried fruit and nuts (it weighs two and a half pounds.) Robin McKay first made these fruitcakes for her... Continue reading
Posted Nov 25, 2014 at Ruth Reichl