In which I screw up the bechamel.

Every so often I’ll go to cook something I’ve made many times before, and that I know how to make, and could make in my sleep, and I mess it up. I’ve made bechamel over and over again for macaroni and cheese, tuna noodle casserole*, and whatever else, but a few weeks ago I was … Continue reading

“You need to get a new banana bread recipe!”

That’s how Jay greeted me, without saying hello, as I walked in from yoga this afternoon. Before I left, I had mixed up a batch of Joanne Chang’s banana bread from Flour and left Jay in charge of testing it and taking it out of the oven. The recipe had rave reviews, so you can … Continue reading

Farewell to the Minimalist

Mark Bittman’s Minimalist column ends its run today. I’m sad, but I love his farewell column for its articulation of the Minimalist approach to recipes and cooking, and I’m glad he’ll be staying on at the Times and still writing about food. Also, what am I complaining for? I own two heavily used Mark Bittman … Continue reading

College cooking lessons

Barnard College graduation at Low Library, 1913, courtesy of the Library of Congress used under a Creative Commons license

I am an admissions volunteer for my alma mater, Barnard College, and on Saturday, I interviewed a student who is a food enthusiast–she has a food blog and writes restaurant reviews for her school newspaper. Barnard is a great place to be a food lover. It’s in New York, most students aren’t on a meal … Continue reading

A kitchen gadget I use every day

I’m not a fan of gimmicky kitchen gadgets and gizmos that do one thing and one thing only and take up shelf space and gather dust the rest of the time. Over the weekend I was at Macy’s and saw a mini donut maker. How often would you really use that? Right. I use my … Continue reading

Putting on my dinner rally cap

I came from behind to score a victory on dinner last night: Mark Bittman’s Chicken Provencale.* I was nearly defeated by giant olives that were impossible to pit because they didn’t really fit in the pitter contraption I got from my dad. Then I realized that I forgot to ask the butcher to split the … Continue reading

Deep thoughts, kitchen edition

Why is it that you never remember the stove getting really dirty, and suddenly it’s really %&*#$ dirty?!

Back-of-the-box cooking

Spaghettiville Bridge/Photo by Flickr user pag2525 used under a Creative Commons license

I have a soft spot for recipes from the back of the box. They tend to be earnest and straightforward—never anything too difficult or unconventional—and seem to me to represent a kind of cheerful, all-American “you can do it!” approach to cooking. Sort of like Rosie the Riveter, only in your kitchen, and lives are … Continue reading


I made a vat of chili for dinner tonight, and we already had three large containers of chili in the freezer from the last time I made it. If the apocalypse comes next week, we’ll be all set.

About that pear tarte tatin…

It was amazing. It was not perfect (the caramel sauce soaked through parts of the pastry), but it was amazing. I used frozen puff pastry and red pears. I used the amount of cinnamon specified and threw in an equal amount of ground ginger. We had to stop ourselves from finishing the whole tart tonight. … Continue reading