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I think I would have been intimidated by any cookbook by Ferran Adria of the experimental mecca (lately shuttered) elBulli in Spain. And now after reading through much of his new book, The Family Meal, I wonder if there exists a more accessible one out there. I’m also left feeling that Adria really is a teacher first–it makes perfect sense that he’s replacing his restaurant with a cooking school.
Uncle! I get it; olive oil is big news. It warrants a coverstory in both the New York Times dining and Washington Post food sections this week. In the Times, Julia Moskin writes about budding olive oil production in California, and in the Post, Jane Black finds that “extra virgin” as a designation of quality simply means “edible.” The solution is a new rating system, and, wow, some California producers make the cut. There’s a pattern somewhere in here for the savvy consumer.
As you begin jotting down ideas for your Thanksgiving menu, don’t forget to plan a smaller October event: a nice, big German meal. Use GermanDeli.com for inspiration as well as implementation. You can get everything there for a comprehensive smorgasbord.
Cooking magazines and food blogs are always weighing in on what staples should live in the cupboard of any savvy cook. You know the usual suspects: olive oil, vinegar, canned beans, chicken broth, pasta, and so on. A little basic for some of us. I’d like to add something—a whole genre really—to the list that I don’t normally see included.
Two months ago, on my last trip to Atlanta, I left one experience unmentioned. On a dreary day, on a remote strip of asphalt, I visited a tea shop called ZenTea. I enjoyed my company thoroughly and dropped plenty of $$ on tea and gear but decided not to pass it on. And I’m embarrassed to say why.
I’ve been planning a summer trip to Germany, Austria, and Switzerland for months now. Unfortunately, the nuts over at the airlines have decided to price me out. And so, as consolation, I placed a big order at my favorite German importer GermanDeli.com, and the dinner it recently made possible just about erased my disappointment. (One more order, or maybe two, and I shall be fully over it.) Even if I can’t afford to fly to Germany for the grub (which is why we travel, right?), I can easily afford to fly it from Germany to my dinner table.
Cork Market & Tasting Room, a wine and specialty food shop, on 14th Street in D.C. is popular. I base this conclusion on the fact that it was packed the one time I went, this past Saturday, and the fact that the Washington Post covers it like mold on a hunk of cheese.
The food shopping ritual for New Yorkers who cook is intricate. There’s Little Italy (or has it been completely upended by Eataly?) for Italian, Chinatown for pork buns and sweet sausages, M2M or Sunrise Mart for Japanese, Espositos for the meat, Warehouse Wines on Broadway for the cheap booze. And that’s just downtown. Nearly every neighborhood has all these cuisines covered.
So when the new editor at The New York Times Magazine, Hugo Lindgren, writes that “Mark Bittman is handling the revamped food section,” does that mean he will be assigning and editing or writing each week? Readers want to know! Please let it be the former. Either way the fact that Bittman blames food for his heft, his high cholesterol and high blood pressure, and his sleep apnea and bad knees can’t help but shine through.
Another foodie trend that you might feel daunted by is pasta-making. I have the pasta attachment for my kitchen aid, but I must admit that it’s only been used once. If homemade pasta is appealing, I’d recommend you try a spätzle maker. It looks much like a cup attached to a cheese grater. At about $10, it’s a more manageable investment than the hundreds for the KitchenAid pasta set-up.