The concept of COOKFIGHT is incredibly fresh. New York Times journalists Kim Severson and Julia Moskin, who also happen to be best friends, choose a theme (dinner on a budget, for example) and then compete to see who can make the best meal. The results of their efforts fill the pages of this book; a book so chock-full of winning recipes, I’m not sure which one I want to make first. Ok, that’s a lie, I know which one I want to make first but it means I’m choosing sides in the Cookfight. (Don’t tell Kim, but it’s Julia’s pasta with roast chicken, currants and pine nuts.)
Yesterday, I was lucky enough to be invited to the New York Times building (my first time!) to interview Kim and Julia about their book. Instead of a lengthy 20 minute interview that meanders in all directions, I decided to pose various Cookfights to them to watch them duke it out. Coke vs. Pepsi, Mounds vs. Almond Joy, etc. The results are in the video below; but if you have a job where you can’t watch videos at work, I’ve broken it all down for you underneath it with comic book speech balloons that recreate the conversation.
In the food section of my brain, there are two major filing cabinets: (1) New York City restaurants organized by location, allowing me to choose the perfect spot to nosh no matter where we are in the city; and (2) a recipe file.
My recipe file is mostly organized by ingredient (chicken, peas, bacon), though occasionally it’s organized by equipment. There are the recipes I make with my ice cream maker, the recipes I make with my new wok, and, filed away in there, was the recipe I wanted to make if I ever received a waffle maker.
Above you’ll see the first video in my latest video series for Food2.com. I got the idea for this show while reading Kim Severson’s book “Spoon Fed.” On pg. 49 she writes, “To understand good chocolate, you have to know bad chocolate, and you should experience them side by side. It’s a method that has helped me through the years, whether I am tasting water, salt, milk, ground beef or any other food that might not seem to have much variation.”
And thus the idea for this show: a show where I taste three foods (all of the same kind) side-by-side to compare and contrast them. The above episode features chocolate (I can’t tell you the brands yet, but I may be able to in the comments once approved by F.N.) Future episodes include salt, peanut butter, Chardonnay, honey, and 20 other exciting topics. If you have ideas for taste tests you’d like me to try, let me know in the comments!
Ok, I promise, this is it with the Meyer lemons. You’re sick of them–after this post, and that post–I know, I know. And when Lindy drew lemons (that sort of look like Meyer lemons) into my banner this month, who knew I’d be writing so much about them? Unless this was Lindy’s master plan? What if she works for the Meyer lemon industry? What if her banners are prophecies and whatever she draws in them comes true? What if next month’s banner features me…DEAD?! This is like an episode of the X-Files!
But even Mulder and Scully would tell me to come off it and just get to the recipe for that gorgeous-looking pie in the lead photo.
There are two dishes referenced in Kim Severson’s “Spoon Fed” that don’t have corresponding recipes: the first is a chicken stuffed with Meyer lemons, the other is something called a “Jewish muffin.” I haven’t had any luck parsing the mysteries of the Jewish muffin, but after an exchange on Twitter I was able to extract from Kim a Tweetcipe for the chicken: “Meyer lemons, cut in half, shoved inside a well-seasoned chicken along with some fresh parsley and maybe thyme.”
The blender arrived in the middle of our conversation.
Kim Severson, of The New York Times, was interviewing me for a story about crowdsourcing recipes (I didn’t have much to contribute but I was excited to chat with Kim for the first time) and in the middle of our lively chat, my doorbell rang.
This video of Alice Waters shopping at the Union Square Greenmarket is unbelievable; like watching Jimi Hendrix buy a guitar or Picasso in a paint store. This is a genius in her element, surrounded by the very thing that inspires her. Look how delighted she is by that striped eggplant, by the taste of that tiny peach. And look how people adore her, how they treat her like a goddess, which, in many ways, she is. The accompanying article by Kim Severson doesn’t gush, though: it’s level-headed and appreciative without being fawning. That’s why she writes for The New York Times. Me, on the other hand, I’m not afraid to fawn: that plate assembled at the end makes me want to become a farmer just so my vegetables had the chance to get the Alice Waters treatment. Fresh produce never looked so good.
[There's also a lively debate about Alice on the Diner's Journal blog; I left a comment, let's see if you can find it.]