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Friday, Apr 10, 2015
The Covenant Kitchen's authors don't expect Jews to renounce their historically abstemious ways, but they wish we'd have a glass.

“Jews have always been known for their moderation in drinking alcohol.”
Claudia Roden, “Wine in the Jewish World”, The Book of Jewish Food


“Don’t worry, your Jewish blood will get you through. “
—Caroline Knapp’s maternal Jewish Uncle, on her admission of alcoholism, Drinking: A Love Story


“How can you tell the Jews from the non-Jews leaving the theatre? The Jews are saying: Oh my God, I’m starving. Let’s go the deli. Let’s get some cake.  The non-Jews are saying, let’s go the bar and get a drink.”
—Comedian Jackie Mason


Jeff and Jodie Morgan, authors of The Covenant Kitchen, aren’t suggesting Jews surrender their historically abstemious attitudes toward drink.  However, the owners of Berkeley, California’s kosher Covenant Winery do wish we’d drink more wine with our dinner. Hence, The Covenant Kitchen, a collection of kosher meals and wine pairings for “the new Jewish table”.


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Thursday, Mar 5, 2015
Canning is like having an investment or retirement fund in your pantry. You make small deposits over time, and there’s a huge payoff in convenience, in flavor.

Eugenia Giobbi Bone grew up in a household where good cooking was the norm. Her father, artist and cookbook author Edward Giobbi, is an avid preserver whose home-canned foods were part of the daily diet. Bone began canning when she was eight months pregnant with her second child. She recounts this experience in Well-Preserved. Published in 2009, Well-Preserved is an invaluable modern manual dedicated to small batch preservation.


Like many cooks, I am both drawn to and terrified of canning. Bone’s friendly, no-nonsense explanation of spoilers and how to prevent them quelled those fears. But it was this sentence that truly liberated my inner canner: “Cleanliness is always important. Not fanatical cleanliness, just washing-your-hands-after-riding-the-subway sort of cleanliness.”


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Wednesday, Feb 25, 2015
Jennifer McLagan loves a controversial ingredient. Her cookbooks include works on bones, fat, and the scary bits. Now it's time to get bitter.

“I need a cigar,” I said to the tobacconist. 


He gestured toward a locked cabinet. Behind its glass doors, cigars were arrayed floor to ceiling. The chocolate truffle recipe called for an inch of cigar, preferably Cuban, infused in heavy cream. Cuban cigars are illegal in the United States. I could choose a cheap cigar stinking through the glass like hell’s own aftershave, or do the bling thing and blow 30 bucks.  Aiming for middle ground, I spent $9. 


“For your husband?”  The man asked, ringing me up.


“For a recipe.”


What?


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Friday, Feb 6, 2015
Here's a man who's creating food that is entirely new, spontaneous, fresh, even wild, yet without any of the difficulty or pretension surrounding that other new food, Modernist Cuisine.

Yotam Ottolenghi’s Plenty More resumes the culinary hijinks begun in Plenty, offering more of the layered, complex compositions we’ve come to expect from this beloved Israeli/English cook. In Plenty More, Ottolenghi optimizes the Middle-Eastern/Mediterranean flavor palette defining his cooking, even as he reaches further eastward. He brings along the skilled cadre of personnel fans are coming to recognize: Scully Ramael, Helen Goh, Claudine Boulstridge, Alex and Tamara Meitlis, and of course, Sami Tamimi.


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Wednesday, Nov 12, 2014
Ovenly's recipes are hip, exciting, and accessible. If only they worked.

Sometimes I can’t wait to get home before opening my mail. Instead, after stopping at my Post Office box, I tear into my packages indelicately on the Bay Area Rapid Transit, trying not to appear overly animated. As all public transit regulars know, it’s essential to maintain “train face” at all times, lest you attract the attention of transit crazies. But I must have failed to keep my blasé BART face when I brought the Ovenly cookbook home. 


When I looked up from its pages, I noticed people starting. This should tell you how excited I was about the book.


At least, how excited I was at first.


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