Cookfight! Kim Severson vs. Julia Moskin

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.

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My Google Talk

Back in October, I visited Google Headquarters in Mountainview, California to deliver a Google Talk. You may recall the lunch that I ate while I was there? Now the video of the talk is online and I have to say, it’s hard for me to watch–sort of like listening to your own voice on a tape recorder. But I’m thinking you loyal readers may get a kick out of hearing me tell the story of my blog, talking about writing the cookbook, sharing the 10 over-arching lessons I learned cooking with America’s best chefs, and seeing me model my very first (and maybe my last) bow-tie. Thanks again to Google for having me!

Amanda Cohen’s Dirt Candy Cookbook (A Video Interview)

My friend Amanda Cohen, chef at Dirt Candy in New York’s East Village, has a pretty incredible cookbook out right now called, appropriately enough, Dirt Candy. The remarkable thing about the book is that it’s in a graphic novel format, so there are drawings and speech balloons and little boxes and exclamations and all of that good stuff you expect to see in a graphic novel. What’s great is how this format enhances the experience of reading a cookbook…the combination of text and imagery carries the points home further so the various techniques described (sweating, reducing, etc.) are made incredibly clear. Today I popped into Dirt Candy to sit down with Amanda to chat about the book, how it came about, how she wrote it in this format, and to get the dirt on some of the stories she tells (about Iron Chef, for example). Thanks Amanda for taking the time to talk to me and congrats on your awesome new book!

Where Do You Escape For A Romantic Dinner?

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Sometimes the most romantic restaurants are the ones that don’t present themselves as romantic restaurants. Other times, you want all of the trappings of a romantic dinner spot, Lady and the Tramp style. In my life, I tend to avoid traditionally romantic restaurants on occasions where romance is expected (Valentine’s Day, our anniversary). Instead, I just think of those days as opportunities to splurge on a nice meal, regardless of venue. And sometimes that decision comes back to bite me: cerebral food in a sterile environment does not a romantic dinner make. So, when I make up my mind to turn up the dial on romance, these are the restaurants that totally do the trick.

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The Top 10 Junk Food Ads Targeted At Kids

It’s news today that Disney is no longer going to air junk food ads targeted at kids. And though this certainly is a step forward in the battle against childhood obesity, I can’t help but feel a certain nostalgia for the junk food ads that were targeted at me in my childhood. Craig and I started the day today recalling our favorite junk food ads growing up and I had the idea to compile them into a list. What follows is certainly subjective, but even if these commercials don’t ring any memory bells, they’re worth watching for the insidious ways that they ensnare children into buying their products.

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15 Chefs, 15 Roast Chicken Videos

As an experiment, I went on to YouTube late last night and typed in a chef’s name and added “roast chicken.” What you’ll find in this post are the results (though I eventually strayed from YouTube), starting with Thomas Keller’s stellar technique above (one worth studying, even for old hands at roast chicken). What’s so intriguing about seeing all of these videos together is how one basic ingredient–a big dead bird–can be approached in so many unique and inspiring ways. Here, now, are the other 14.

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Waiter, Don’t Take My Plate Away

Back in the old days of my blog, I used to write Thursday Night Dinner Songs. Those files went missing, I got older and more self-conscious, and the days of food related songs on my blog were over. But tonight I Tweeted that I wanted to write a country song called: “Waiter, Don’t Take My Plate Away” (because so many servers take our plates away before we’re finished) and was surprised to see it get ReTweeted many, many times. So then I thought: “What if I actually write it?” I sat down at the piano, took out a notepad, and created the song you can hear up above. A few notes: (1) sorry that you can see up my nostrils; (2) sorry that I turn blue every few seconds; (3) yes, it sounds like Dolly Parton’s “Why’d You Come In Here Looking Like That?”; and (4) I know I’m not a great singer, which is why I’d love for you to record your own version of the song….

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