I ate two hot dogs the other day. And now I’m going to talk about my feelings about junk food.
The circumstances were these: an early meeting at The Times, “breakfast” of a banana (and lucky to have that), and a morning of activities controlled by others.
Then there was a drive to the Jersey Shore. Just shy of noon, we stopped at a Garden State  Parkway rest area of the new style: a “choice” of bad fast food joints rather than just one. I begged my colleagues for some time to have a bite to eat. (It was a day that would include no lunch break.)
The choices were: prewrapped sandwiches, like smoked turkey with provolone on “whole grain” bread (it wasn’t); Burger King; Sbarro; TCBY; Quizno’s; Starbucks; Nathan’s. I was on the phone with a friend who largely shares my weaknesses and prejudices. I did not want a prewrapped sandwich, especially one that looked so dry and unappetizing. My first inclination was Burger King; he pronounced it “poison.”
O.K., but what wasn’t? Where was the real food? It didn’t exist. I gravitated toward Nathan’s. After all, I grew up going to Coney Island; my mother is from there. Nathan’s may not ever have been the best hot dog in New York, but it was iconic. Probably most important, the hot dog is to me comfort food. And it had been a long time.
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Photo Credit: Daniel Meyer
The beauty of a one-pot meal is that you can get all your food groups in an easy to make, easy to clean up dish. It doesn’t matter if it’s vegetarian or laced with meat, a one-pot meal allows you to build textures and develop flavors in a simple manner. Pasta, tagine, stews… your options are limitless.
Read the rest of the article and check out the recipes, here.
I will be speaking at the Brooklyn Food Coalition on Tuesday. Order tickets here. Proceeds from ticket sales go to benefit the Brooklyn Food Coalition–working toward a healthy, just and sustainable food system for all!
I’m thrilled to have just released my new How to Cook Everything iPad app, Cooking Basics. It includes 1,000 photos, 185 recipes, tons of kitchen tips, audio and video clips, and a whole lot more. For a full rundown of all of the content and features (plus more pretty screenshots), continue reading below. To purchase the app, click here.
Listen to the segment or read the transcript here.
There was a time when few of us thought about what we ate, but that’s been turned upside down since the reigning wisdom first decried salt, then cholesterol, then saturated fat, then almost all fat, then red meat, then carbohydrates and so on. Recent culprits include so many foods and foodlike substances that at least twice a week someone asks me: “What’s left to eat? I feel like nothing is safe.”
Before the end of innocence, when hyperprocessed food dominated the diet, we might eat a breakfast of Pop-Tarts or another sugary pastry, followed by a lunch of burgers, fries and a shake, and a dinner of meat-laden pizza, and feel not even a twinge of guilt. Now, almost nothing can be eaten without thinking twice.
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Paris is, of course, a walker’s city. But which direction to take? And to what destinations? With previously unknown (to me, at least) restaurants as my end points, I started at Notre Dame (essentially the center of town; all time allotments below are from there) and headed in different directions for different lengths of time.
After a few attempts, I found myself drawn toward the Marais and the 11th Arrondissement, where I was eating best. When I walked west, I was disappointed. With one exception, I had to walk north (and usually east) in order to find food that thrilled me.
Here, then, are the four winners.
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True story, from the wedding of two friends, circa 1977: The bride’s father, a louche sophisticate, and perhaps needless to say an alcoholic, asked of the groom’s grandmother, a Russian immigrant of peasant stock, “Isn’t eating an artichoke just like sex?” There was, as you can imagine, no reply.
The artichoke has always inspired such lyrical flights. Is it not the most versatile of vegetables as well as the most miraculous? Is it not incredible that this thistle keeps its treasure so well hidden and protected that people can spend their lives blissfully eating only the outer leaves, never getting past the choke to the heart?
Rhetorical questions, I recognize. But once you know how to handle an artichoke, it will pretty much do your bidding, providing you with salads, sautés and remarkable centerpieces that are unique in just about every respect.
Read the rest of this article here and see the video here.
The seven most famous words in the movement for good food are: “Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.” They were written, of course, by Michael Pollan, in “In Defense of Food: An Eater’s Manifesto,” the follow-up to “The Omnivore’s Dilemma.”
Now Pollan might add three more words to the slogan: “And cook them.” Because the man who so cogently analyzed production and nutrition in his best-known books has tackled what he calls “the middle link in the food chain: cooking.”
But Pollan isn’t about to become a cookbook writer, at least not yet. In “Cooked: A Natural History of Transformation,” out Tuesday, he offers four detailed recipes, used as examples to explore how food is transformed: for Bolognese, pork shoulder, sauerkraut and bread, each an illustration, he says, of the fundamental principles of cooking.
Read the rest of this column here.