How To Store Strawberries


Strawberry season may be over in most parts of the country, but here in L.A. the strawberries are still bright red and fragrant and sweet as could be.

On Monday, last week, I brought home two cartons of strawberries from the farmer’s market that I planned to use for a shortcake the next night. The question was: “How do I store them so they don’t lose their fresh-from-the-market flavor?” The answer came via Twitter from my friend, the celebrated pastry chef Shuna Lydon.

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How To Paint Your Kitchen


This is the story of how two dunderheads, one who’d never painted a room before, the other who’d only painted a wall, spent a full Saturday (from 11 am to 1 am) painting a bedroom and a kitchen. For the purposes of this post, we will focus on the kitchen; a task that might seem daunting at first, but one that, as will be evidenced by the pictures, is well worth the effort.

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How To Do A Cooking Demonstration


There a came a moment on Saturday at The Baltimore Book Festival where I looked out at the crowd and down at the food in front of me and realized: “Holy (expletive): I have to cook something for all these people!”

It wasn’t supposed to be that way. When I was first invited to The Baltimore Book Festival, I was under the impression that all they wanted me to do was read from my book (which, incidentally, comes out in paperback tomorrow!) I’ve read from my book several times, to various crowds, and the lessons I learned from those various experiences–read slower than you think necessary, lift your head now and again–had little application when I learned that in addition to reading from my book, the Baltimore people also wanted me to cook.

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How To Organize Your Kitchen


1. Take everything out of the cabinets, drawers, cupboards, closets, etc. and lay it on a table.

2. Clean off the counters, the cabinets, the cupboards, the drawers, etc.

3. Go through all the STUFF and throw out anything you don’t use on a regular basis. Especially if you have a tiny New York apartment, there’s no sense keeping that cracker meal from the time you made salt and pepper shrimp or half-empty boxes of rock-hard brown sugar or two bags of corn meal when one will suffice, etc. etc. This is the hardest part because the frugal part of you will want to keep everything–waste not, want not–but you have to think more like a zen master than a Jewish grandmother: the more you get rid of now, the more peace you will find when you open your cabinets later and boxes and bags don’t come tumbling out. Believe me, I lived in a cluttered kitchen for the past year (as you can see from the picture above); clutter is not your friend.

4. Once you’ve purged, begin putting things away. Here’s where you get organized: choose the items you use most often and make those the most accessible. Over my sink I have a shelf that’s just an arms-reach away while I cook; there, now, I keep my olive oil, a few vinegars, a few different kinds of salt, my pepper grinder, vanilla, baking soda and twine. These are the things I use most often in my kitchen. In my biggest cabinet, now, I have a shelf for flours and sugars: bread flour, cake flour, all-purpose flour, etc; and white sugar, light brown sugar, dark brown sugar, etc. Below that I keep extraneous spices that don’t fit on my spice rack as well as all the chocolate I use for baking (Ghiardelli bitersweet mostly); on the top shelf are all the extraneous items that I didn’t throw out because I do use them somewhat frequently: corn meal, malt powder (to make David’s ice cream), etc. Above the stove, I’m storing my dried goods–pastas, dried beans, polenta–and miscellaneous oils (corn oil, canola oil) as well as other bottled items like pomegranate molasses, Thai fish sauce, etc. It’s not smart to keep oils above heat so I should probably move those (they may get spoiled) but for now, I think they’re ok.

5. Behold my organized kitchen!


Follow these steps, and you too will live in organized kitchen bliss.

How To Write A Book About Food


It recently occurred to me that I wrote a book.

Yes, almost a year ago my book, “The Amateur Gourmet: How To Shop, Chop and Tablehop Like A Pro (Almost)” was released by Bantam/Dell. The book, which will come out in paperback in the fall, has served me very well in its brief life. It led to readings at the Park Slope and Boca Raton Barnes & Nobles featuring giant posters that said “Meet Adam Roberts” which my mom has preserved like the Dead Sea Scrolls in my old bedroom; it led to meetings at the Food Network which, in turn, led to my job hosting “The FN Dish”; it garnered praise from Frank Bruni on his blog as well as positive reviews from Publisher’s Weekly and The Boston Globe; and, most importantly, it led to loving, thankful e-mails from readers just like yourselves who discovered my book buried beneath William Wegman calendars in the discount bin of your local bookstores and instead of tossing it aside, brought it home, read it, and were inspired to become passionate cooks and eaters. It’s this last bit that makes writing a food book such a rewarding and noble endeavor: with a few flicks of your fingers, you can change lives. So how do you do it?

I’m not here to tell you how to get a book published. You all know everything there is to know about my launch into the publishing world: you’re looking at it. I started a blog, the blog got attention, an agent e-mailed me, a book proposal was drafted, sold and then I got into the nitty gritty of writing a book. And that’s what this essay is about: how to write a book about food.

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The A.G.’s Guide To Equipping Your Kitchen


So you’re getting married, moving into a new house with your betrothed and people are asking: “What should we get you?” You can register at a store like Williams Sonoma or Bed, Bath & Beyond but when it comes to the kitchen you don’t know where to begin.

That’s the very situation my future sister-in-law, Tali, finds herself in now that she’s marrying my brother. She recently asked me what she should register for and I said: “Tali, why would I tell you that over the phone when I can blog about it for all the world!!!” There was an uncomfortable silence and she said, “Ok, that sounds good.” What follows, then, is my advice to Tali and anyone else who needs to equip their kitchens.

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How To Judge A Casserole Contest


When I gave up a career in the law for a career as a food writer, who knew I’d wind up a judge?

Well that’s exactly what happened last week when I went to Brooklyn Label to co-judge The Third Annual Casserole Party, the brainchild of casserole enthusiast Emily Farris. I was a second choice judge: the first choice, the godmother of foodblogging (and friend of Emily’s) Julie Powell couldn’t do it and so Julie wrote me (our first contact) and asked if I would replace her. I said “sure” and that’s how I ended up on the panel you see above, along with Ruth Graham, senior editor at Domino, and Miriam Garron, a sous chef at The Food Network: a casserole court to be reckoned with. [Note: these pictures are pulled from Emily’s Flickr page.]

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How I Survived The Blizzard

New Yorkers today had a laugh talking about yesterday’s blizzard. “Did you survive the blizzard?” we asked each other, kiddingly. Perhaps it all seemed so funny because the sun shined bright today like it’s been shining most of this winter. This is the least wintery winter of my life–and I say that having lived in Atlanta and Florida through many winters. At least those winters were typical for their locations. But this New York winter has been so tame that yesterday’s blizzard felt inevitable, if not downright welcome. “It’s the first snow of the season,” someone pointed out today. No kidding.

Here’s the snow from my window, yesterday morning:


It did, indeed, look wintery and blizzardy outside. Lucky for me, I’d done my homework, having gone the day before to Whole Foods to stock up on necessities. To see how I fed myself during the Blizzard of ’06, push da button.

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