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Monday, Sep 16, 2013
Fresh pepper season is maddeningly short in Northern California. We get but a few colorful weeks in late August and early September. The clock is ticking.

Fresh pepper season is maddeningly short in Northern California. We get but a few colorful weeks in late August and early September. I’m not speaking of hot peppers, which contain the heat-causing chemical, capsaicin. They’re a whole other peck, botanically speaking. I write of sweet peppers, beautiful bells, red, orange, and yellow.


Hurry.The clock is ticking.


The world divides between pepper fanatics and normal people, who stand by, bemused, while the preservers amongst us amass gallons of lemon juice, olive oil, and white wine vinegar to can, marinate, and pickle, frenzied, before the squash shoulders in and takes over.


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Wednesday, Aug 7, 2013
The eggplant does not blend with other flavors as, say, the onion, or the carrot do. The eggplant, no matter what one does to it, remains irresolutely itself. And I am rendered despondent.

Amid the happy tumble of heirloom tomatoes, near the scalloped yellow pattypan squashes perched beside their elongated, green-skinned brethren, down the aisle from the fresh corn; just as little Heather O’Rourke warned us in another context: there’re here. Piled high, purple-black, glistening like so may pairs of patent leather boots.


The eggplants are in.


And I weep.


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Tuesday, Jul 23, 2013
When "Britalified" food includes "Tuscan Tuna Tartare"-- essentially Italian sashimi, run. Fast and far.

Nigella Lawson has been an Italophile since spending her gap year—that is, the year between high school and college—in Italy. In each of her books, Lawson reaffirms her deep love of all things Italian, proclaiming her wish to be Italian herself. Barring that, each of her eight cookbooks abounds in Italian recipes. 


With the publication of Nigellissima, Lawson ostensibly delivers on her long-held promise: finally, the Italy Book.


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Thursday, Jul 18, 2013
Mini-choppers are not for Tuesday night cooking: there’s the cleanup factor. But life is short, and one must fly in the face of convention, even in the smallest ways.

Yotam Ottolenghi’s Plenty is a book of vegetarian recipes culled from his weekly column in London’s The Guardian newspaper. Ottolenghi, an Israeli Jew, works in partnership with Sami Tamimi, a Palestinian, in two London restaurants and three takeaway delicatessens.


The pair have collaborated on a second cookbook, Jerusalem, that shares not only the food of their physically proximate, culturally diverse childhoods, but the ways food, culture, politics, and religion intersect and clash in this most tumultuous of cities. Jerusalem is both a love song to a beloved city and the most political cookbook I have ever encountered.


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Thursday, Jun 20, 2013
There are cookbooks, and then there are cookbooks whose every recipe calls out to you. Fuschia Dunlop's 'Every Grain of Rice' compels your full kitchen attention.

“I was once given an amazing lunch by a young woman whose mother had been unable to boil water but was quite able to employ expensive Chinese help. Everyone should have the good fortune either to be Chinese or to be rich.”
—Laurie Colwin, “Starting Out In the Kitchen”


For those of us who lack both Chinese blood and wealth, we should at least have the good fortune to find Fuschia Dunlop’s latest cookbook, Every Grain of Rice. I’d read Dunlop’s articles in various cooking magazines, but never her books until I found Every Grain of Rice on a recent cruise through my library’s cookbook section.


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