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by Diane Leach

8 Jan 2014


Press photo (photographer unknown)

Rodgers was famed both for her restaurant, San Francisco’s beloved Zuni Cafe, and the award-winning cookbook she wrote in 2002, The Zuni Cafe Cookbook.

Chef David Tanis, author of the widely beloved cookbooks Heart of the Artichoke and A Platter of Figs met with PopMatters to discuss his third cookbook, the recently released One Good Dish. We met in Berkeley, California, next door to Chez Panisse, where he shared downstairs chef duty with Jean-Pierre Moullé for 25 years.

Happy Accident Soup began as a Claudia Roden recipe from The New Book of Middle Eastern Food. My market has recently begun carrying high-quality, locally sourced lamb, and I’d purchased a pound of lean cubes labeled “kebab cut”, which were a dollar cheaper than the stew cut.

Having no way of preparing kebabs—that is, no grill—I began paging through my Claudia Roden cookbooks. Food writer and Food52 blogger Amanda Hesser calls Claudia Roden one of the “Mistresses of the Mediterranean”.  Who better to consult?

by Diane Leach

18 Nov 2013


Sami Tamimi (L), Yotam Ottolenghi (R) from a ubiquitous press photo (photographer unknown)

Ottolenghi: The Cookbook is actually Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi’s first cookbook, originally published in England in 2008. It’s the last to be published in the United States, after the insane popularity of 2011’s Plenty and 2012’s Jerusalem. I’ve no idea why the reverse order of the books’s appearances, only that they’ve captured the American imagination on a startling scale.

For those struggling to obtain American healthcare, or absorbed by the former Hannah Montana’s poor performance choices, meet Ottolenghi and his business partner, Tamimi.  The men have much in common: both are professional chefs, born in Jerusalem, now living in London. Both are homosexual (they bring this up as partial reason for leaving the Middle East for England, where they met). But Ottolenghi is Jewish, born of an Italian father and German/Israeli mother. Tamimi is Palestinian.

Anya Von Bremzen is a skilled writer whose first cookbook, Please to the Table, landed her a James Beard Award. Five more cookbooks and extensive journalism followed.

But what distinguishes Von Bremzen is her background. Born in the Soviet Union in 1963, she has always strongly identified as Soviet. Other individuals hailing from the former Union of Soviet Socialist Republics don’t identify as such; they invariably revert to the names of their former (and/or current homelands), e.g. “I’m Latvian”, “I’m Ukrainian”, (this last spat with especial rage.) I am, that is, whatever my family and region were called before the October 1917 revolution destroyed our lives, took away our homes, our lands, the very food on our plates.

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