How To Make Really Great Pizza at Home

As a person who’s devoted most of my life to food, I have certain beliefs that I fervently hold on to. One: never grill chicken breasts for a dinner party. That’s depressing. Two: When baking with chocolate, it’s important to eat a quarter cup of the chocolate in its raw state. Quality control. And three: there’s absolutely no reason to make pizza at home. Order in, it’ll be better.

Pause on that last one. Recently, I felt inspired to try my hand at homemade pizza again after many unimpressive efforts from the past, earning comments like this one:

Nicholas Bergus had a point. I never quite got the dough thin enough, giving up on stretching it while it still looked rather puffy. The resulting pizza was, as Nicholas Bergus says, “more like focaccia than pizza.” When the internet trolls are right, you know you’re doing something wrong.

The Great Cottage Cheese Dinner Challenge

In good stories, a character changes. So, for example, if you’re watching a movie about a guy who’s afraid of heights but his girlfriend is being held hostage at the top of Mount Everest, we expect him to get over his fear in order to save her. If he decides to just leave her there and become a knitting teacher, it probably wouldn’t be a very good movie. (Though, on second thought, maybe it would?)

Thinking of me as your main character, then, consider my post last week about cottage cheese. I find the stuff repulsive. 157 of you disagreed with me in the comments. So yesterday I went to Gelson’s and saw Low-Fat Knudsen’s Cottage Cheese, the kind many of you eat, and decided to challenge myself to make dinner with it. If this were a good story, I’d learn to love it at the end.

Do Any Young People Eat Cottage Cheese?

When I think “cottage cheese” I think of my grandmother who would greet me, growing up, with an offer of diet chocolate soda (she stocked that stuff like it came from the fountain of youth) and cottage cheese with sugar and cinnamon. The texture of cottage cheese was so foul to me that when choosing a picture for the top of this post, I couldn’t even stomach what came up on Google Images. Somehow, though, I’ve been thinking about cottage cheese lately. Is that just a grandma thing? Has yogurt displaced it? Are there any young people who eat cottage cheese? If so, are you one of them? Please tell me more in the comments.

Creamy Creamless Cauliflower Soup

Sometimes it takes a person’s wild enthusiasm to get you to try a recipe that doesn’t immediately jump off the page. Take, for example, Paul Bertolli’s cauliflower soup. After I declared my love for cauliflower in this Cauliflower Casserole post, a commenter named Eliza said, “If you love cauliflower, you should try Paul Bertolli’s Cauliflower Soup, especially with the spring crop of cauliflower beginning to show up in the farmers markets. This soup is rich, creamy (without any cream) yet fresh tasting. Only 4 ingredients – olive oil, onion, cauliflower and water – make magic.” The recipe didn’t sell me, but Eliza did. So I tried it.

Mimi Sheraton Responds To Le Bernardin, Mabel Responds To My Pancakes

In the comments of my Q&A with Le Bernardin, I noticed a response from Mimi Sheraton, former dining critic for The New York Times:

“Since when do chefs, maitre d’s, restaurateurs, etc. decide what makes a 4-star restaurant? I gave 4-stars to a few restaurants that had no dress code and would again.

Does that mean a terrific sushi place cannot get 4 stars? Or a bbq place? Or a steak house?


Meanwhile, on my Strawberry Pancake post, self-described pancake critic Mabel has this to say:

“If my pancaks looked like that i would throw them in the trash. I would never serve then to anyone.”

The internet is a harsh place, man.

My Favorite Manifesto Comment

I’ve really enjoyed reading your responses to my Anti Dress-Code Manifesto (which was difficult to punctuate, by the way: is it Anti-Dress-Code?), but my favorite was the last one written by Natty of Life Is A Feast. Here’s what she had to say:

“From a woman’s perspective, I like dress codes because, come on, it’s a suit or a sports coat. I wish I could look that good, that easily, that cheaply! A man can own ONE suit. ONE. Uno. 1. He can wear it everywhere and look sharp.

“Me? I have multiple outfits for all the parts of life that require looking sharp– weddings, job interviews, funerals, fine dining, etc. I have different outfits depending on the weather, time of year, and whether I’m home or traveling. I could try and get away with one little black dress but even that has its limits.

“Is it really hard for you dudes to put on suits? :-) We go out to dinner somewhere amazing I’m wearing Spanx under that flirtly little dress that tastefully shows of my cleavage. Do you know what Spanx are? No? You lucky, lucky devils.”

Make sure to click the comments in the last post to read the rest of what she had to say.

A Comments Freeze

An e-mail from Dreamhost (the company that hosts my blog) today informed me that because of spam and excessive comments in my archives (over 20,000!) they were going to put a freeze on my comments. Obviously, this is a big deal because comments are such a big part of the site. So please sit tight as my web guys and I try to figure this out… in the meantime, if you see 0 comments under this post that means the freeze is still in effect!! (Unless no one tries to comment on this… but don’t you want to comment? I bet you do….)

Comment Policy

I recently did an interview with Express (A Publication of The Washington Post) and the interviewer, Stefanie Gans, asked me: “What’s your policy on comments? Do you keep all of them? Even the offensive ones?” I answered:

“I think of comments like guests at a dinner party: If someone said this at a dinner party would I kick them out? Those are the comments I delete. Also ones that insult the physical appearance of friends and family. Sometimes people leave comments on my blog and I feel it’s as if they not only said something rude at a dinner party but they climbed on the table and took a dump.”

Sorry for how graphic that got (and, ironically, I’d never say THAT at a dinner party) but that pretty much articulates my comment policy. I delete the truly nasty ones and the insulting ones; otherwise, comments are fair game.

For the record, if you’ve left a comment and it hasn’t appeared that’s not because I’m actively screening it. Movable Type, the program I use to run the site, automatically junks lots of my comments for inexplicable reasons. So at the end of the day, when I come home, I go into my junk folder and unjunk them. So if your comment doesn’t appear, wait 24 hours and check again: if it’s still not there, shoot me an e-mail and I’ll be happy to check it out. Thanks.

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