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It was summer of 2005 when I wrote my first story for NPR’s Kitchen Window, a then-brand-new series on the NPR website. It was my first time working with NPR in any capacity, and I was beyond thrilled.
In the 9 years since the series launch, I’ve written regularly for Kitchen Window, most of it under the sage guidance of editor Bonny Wolf and producer Amy Morgan. For me, it’s been 62 stories in all. I’ve written about octopus, egg yolks, squash blossoms, edible weeds, and mint ice cream (I finished that one the day before my second child was born). I’ve baked my way through Halloween (soul cakes), Valentine’s (iced heart cookies), Easter (egg breads), and Mother’s Day (waffles and scones). I’ve enjoyed heartwarming praise and endured withering critiques from hundreds of readers. And the kind of stories I learned to tell here formed the basis for my book, A Spoonful of Promises.
Next month, the series will conclude. This story, about the sous vide revolution lapping at the thresholds of home kitchens, will be my last Kitchen Window contribution. My first piece, Garden in a Glass, was a nostalgic reverie about the medieval art of herbal concoctions. It seems somehow fitting that my last should be such a modernist, future-forward piece, complete with thermocouples and vacuum sealers. We’ve come a long way in 9 years, both the food world and I.
NPR continues to provide excellent food coverage through The Salt blog, especially when it comes to food science, food sourcing, and food trends. But I hope that NPR will someday once again have a place for the thoughtful rumination on food – the essay that takes us out of time and place and into a moment of pure sensibility.
As the immortal M.F.K. Fisher once wrote, “When I write of hunger, I am really writing about love and the hunger for it…” We live in a world frantic for connection, and sometimes it’s only food – primal, comforting, sustaining – that has the power to stop us in our tracks; to taste, to remember, to feel.
This story features a pork belly recipe from Nathan Myhrvold’s and Maxime Bilet’s Modernist Cuisine at Home. You can read more about this book – and over 250 other cookbooks worth getting or giving – on my cookbook-rating app, Cookbook Finder. Available for both iPhone/iPad and Android devices and updated regularly.
Sure, I like eating oranges by themselves. But there’s just something about the taste of orange as a flavoring in other dishes that I can’t get enough of. Orange zest, dried tangerine peel, clementine juice – as far as I’m concerned, they’re simply most adorable when they’re hiding in plain sight.
The couscous recipe from Kathy Brennan and Caroline Campion’s Keepers is featured in this story. You can read more about this book – and over 250+ cookbooks worth giving this holiday! – on my cookbook-rating app, Cookbook Finder. Available for both iPhone/iPad and Android devices and updated regularly.
This year’s Best Books feature on NPR is a bit different. It’s not subject-sorted lists anymore, but an interactive “concierge” which pools together the choices of many different experts and tags them so that you can filter across all the subjects.
My choices are in the “Cookbooks and Food” section – I’ve chosen just 5. [The choice of Ottolenghi is not mine, by the way. I felt the book, sadly, wasn’t tested up to the standard of Plenty and Jerusalem.
Click here to visit “Cookbooks and Food” on NPR’s Best Books of 2013 feature.
You can find out more about all the cookbooks featured on the NPR special on my app, CookShelf, with write-ups of 250+ of the latest cookbooks and regular cookbook news. CookShelf is your guide to the best cookbooks to give and to get – just 99¢ this week only!
Know someone who loves cookbooks? CookShelf makes the perfect virtual stocking stuffer! Just gift it to your favorite cook from your iPhone/iPad or Android device and start inviting yourself over for supper.
The time has come! My top 10 picks for the best cookbooks of2013 have been released, on CookShelf, the cookbook-ratings app! on sale for one week starting today for just 99¢!
If you’re starting your holiday shopping this week – and who isn’t? – CookShelf, will guide to not only my top 10 picks for 2013, but over 250+ other great cookbooks worth getting or giving, along with analysis that looks at skill requirements, recipe listings, and design. And in-app purchase links make it easy to do all your cookbook shopping with one click.
Who needs CookShelf? You do!
Next week here on the blog: the honorable mentions list – a long one! Click here for last year’s honorable mentions shortlist.
Exciting news! This year, I will be releasing my choices for the top 10 cookbooks of 2013 on my app, CookShelf! It’s happening this Friday, Nov. 29th - the day after Thanksgiving.
You know you don’t want to get squashed in the Black Friday crowds. You know you want to rest your poor, turkey-stuffed self in the comfiest chair in the house and start ordering gifts for your cookbook-loving friends and family online.
On CookShelf, you’ll find not only my top 10 picks for 2013, but over 250+ other great cookbooks worth getting or giving, along with analysis that looks at skill requirements, recipe listings, and design – everything you need to decide that all-important question: which cookbook to buy. And in-app purchase links make it easy to do all your cookbook shopping with one click.
Who needs CookShelf? You do!
Celery root – or celeriac, if you want to be all proper about it – is no beauty! But at this time of year, it’s a root worth digging deep for – all buttery, earthy taste and satin texture.
I had a rumpus of a time writing this story! – except for one part: standing on the freezing porch trying to take a glamorous photograph of rapidly cooling lentils. Yeah, that part.
Recipes from Gourmet Today and Plenty are featured in this story. You can read more about those books – and over 250+ cookbooks worth giving this holiday! – on my cookbook-rating app, CookShelf. Available for both iPhone/iPad and Android devices and updated regularly.