In Praise of the Two Fat Ladies


Mr. Game Show was a Hanukkah gift that my parents bought me one year in the 1980s. It looked like a regular board game (small tokens that you moved around a large, printed board) except there, in the middle, was a plastic figurine that talked. “Hello!” it announced in a Guy Smiley voice, “I’m Mr. Game Show! Who’s ready to play a game?”

Mr. Game Show’s Mr. Gameshow had slick-backed hair and big white teeth. He embodied everything that was false and mockable about that most loathsome TV type: the game show host. As time marched on, and we moved through the 80s to the 90s to today, the TV landscape has shifted enough that, even though there are still game show hosts (Pat Sajak and Alex Trebek haven’t gone anywhere) there’s a new contender for that most loathsome TV type: the food show host.

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The Secret To Killer Pork Chops at Home


There’s a psychological phenomenon–and I’m not a psychologist, so cut me some slack here–by which, even though we know what’s good for us, we don’t do the thing that’s good for us. So, for example, let’s say we’re an aspiring journalist and there’s a convention downstairs, in our building, for working journalists who are looking to hire interns. And let’s say we want to be an intern–it’s a crucial step in our professional trajectory–but, on TV, is a marathon showing of The Real Housewives of New York City and it’s the episode where Jill Zarin shows up, uninvited, to the Caribbean. Even though all we have to do is turn off the TV, splash some water on our face and walk downstairs, we don’t. That’s a real phenomenon (perhaps it’s called self-sabotage?) and I’d like to talk to you about it today in the context of pork chops.

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What To Do With Jerusalem Artichokes


The Jews have an expression: “Next year in Jerusalem!” The idea is that next year, whatever we’re doing or celebrating, we’ll do it in Jerusalem, the place where all Jews should aspire to someday go. (I do aspire to go there some day, though I think Rome may be higher on my list, if only for the pasta.)

Why do I bring that up here? I needed some kind of intro to a post about Jerusalem artichokes and that seemed as good a way to start as any. This post actually has nothing to do with Jerusalem, the city in Israel; it has to do with those knobby little tubers that you may have seen recently at the farmer’s market.

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Roasted Apple & Pear Sauce


No one gets very excited when you say “apple sauce”–well no one except, maybe, people who just had their wisdom teeth out–but throw the word “pear” in there and the word “roasted” and you start to whet people’s appetites. My appetite was certainly whet when I saw this recipe in The Barefoot Contessa’s newest book, “How Easy Is That?” (When my friends Patty and Lauren saw the book title, they burst out laughing, because they recognized it as one of Ina’s favorite things to say.) To make the sauce, all you need is what you see above in my attempt at a still life, plus some brown sugar and a little butter.

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Anatomy of a Pork Chop Dinner (A Three Part Series)


9:24 PM, Friday, October 30th. The scene? My kitchen. In attendance? Myself and Craig. The event? The creation of one of the best plates of food I’ve ever made.

It started like this, see, I was at the farmer’s market, taking pictures with my new camera when I spied these Jerusalem artichokes. Or was it at the butcher shop when I asked the butcher to cut me two thick-sliced pork chops? No, wasn’t it on the couch reading The Barefoot Contessa’s roasted apple sauce recipe in her new cookbook?

Look officer, maybe I’d do better to split this into separate posts; that way future generations can piece together this pork chop dinner using the links I provide. Here they are in sequence:

Roasted Apple & Pear Sauce

What To Do With Jerusalem Artichokes

The Secret To Killer Pork Chops at Home.

And that’s my full confession. Haul me away, if you must, at least I know I did what I thought was right.