When I had the opportunity to interview New York Times writer Alex Witchel about her beautiful new memoir All Gone, I spent a whole day reading the book and I positively tore through it, I found it so moving and powerful. The book details Witchel’s mother’s decline into dementia and Witchel’s struggle to recreate the recipes she knew and loved from her mother’s kitchen. What’s so original about the book is that, unlike so many food memoirs, it doesn’t pretend that food can cure all ills–in many ways, as Witchel discovers over the course of the book’s journey, it simply distracts us from our harsh reality. But it’s not all bleak: there are bright spots, including bits about Witchell’s marriage to columnist (and former theater critic) Frank Rich, how she became a writer for The New York Times, and–most amusing to me–her lunch with Elaine Stritch.
We’ve got two internet luminaries on our show this week: the first, Rebecca Lando, is co-creator of Working Class Foodies, the viral web show with a devoted following that’s recently become a handsome and useful cookbook from Gotham Books. Our other guest, Jeffery Self, played Liz Lemon’s nephew, Randy Lemon, on 30 Rock and co-starred with Cole Escola on Logo’s Jeffery and Cole Casserole. He’s also the author of Straight People: A Spotter’s Guide and 50 Shades of Gay. ALSO: he’s doing a live show tonight (October 23rd) here in L.A. at the Neon Venus Theater on Melrose at 8 PM (tickets $10). Go see him!
Dinner was five-hour meat ragu (recipe to come next week) and chocolate pear cake. Click ahead to see a picture of everyone at the table, a list of all the things we talk about, and some clips of Rebecca’s and Jeffery’s work.
This week’s Clean Plate Club guest needs no introduction: if you’re reading this and you haven’t visited Smitten Kitchen, you have your food blog priorities out of whack. Deb is the queen of the form, the sun at the center of the food blog universe. Don’t believe me? How many food bloggers can you name with tens of millions of readers a month, profiles in The New York Times, and a best-selling cookbook to boot? Deb is the real deal and I’m so lucky she agreed to talk to me over Skype, though we did get into a huge fight about photography. Let me explain.
Before I tell you all about this week’s Clean Plate Club guests, I need to tell you something important: this week’s episode features a voicemail from Martha Stewart. I repeat: towards the end, you get to hear an actual voicemail from Martha Stewart.
Ok, now that I’ve gotten that out of the way, let me introduce you to Jim Cantiello and Kat Odell (though I think you may already know them). Jim is the charismatic MTV host–he tells great stories about his time there in the podcast–who is now Co-Executive Producer for The X Factor USA’s website; Kat is the editor of Eater LA and the star of the new Bravo show Eat, Drink, Love. That’s right: I cooked dinner for a Bravolebrity.
Hey everyone, I’m proud to share with you the second episode of my brand new podcast (it’s still brand new, right?) The Clean Plate Club, the show where I invite one food guest and one non-food guest over for dinner with me and Craig and record the conversation. This week’s guests are pretty impressive people: Zach Brooks, creator of Midtown Lunch and one of the best food podcasts out there, “Food Is The New Rock”; and Luke Matheny who just happens to have won an Oscar for his short film “God Of Love.” You may remember his hilarious speech which I’ll embed below.
Hey there! So guess what? A few weeks ago I had an idea for a podcast: what if I host a dinner party where I invite one food world guest and one non-food world guest over for dinner with me and Craig and I record the conversation? Wouldn’t that be fun to listen to? Well, after a trip to the Apple Store (where I procured a large, round microphone called a Snowball) I decided to put my plan into action. The result is what you see/hear below: The Clean Plate Club, a brand-spanking-new podcast that may become a regular feature here on the blog.
Our debut episode features two EXTRAORDINARY guests. The first is the celebrated food critic from L.A. Weekly, who stepped into Jonathan Gold’s shoes when he moved to the L.A. Times: Besha Rodell. The other guest is a hilarious author and playwright who took the world by storm with her brilliant Smash-recaps for New York Magazine’s Vulture site: Rachel Shukert. Her Kindle single about that experience is climbing up the Amazon charts.
So sit back, relax, click play and join us as fellow members of The Clean Plate Club. Then let me know what you think in the comments!
P.S. If you want recipes for the meal that I cooked for a famous food critic and a famous Smash critic, here’s my Caesar salad and here’s my chicken with cous cous and salsa verde. The plum cake is coming later this week.