Reason For Not Eating Out #52: To Better Experience the Seasons

Not everyone in the city has the time or means to go apple-picking in the fall. I know this because I’ve been searching online the past few days for an apple orchard in some autumn rural bliss conveniently located within reasonable walking distance from a Metro-North transit stop, or perhaps the Long Island Railroad, or NJ Transit. My searches thus far have proven fruitless, as it were (and kind of ironic given we’re already in “the big apple”). Instead, my … Read More

Reason For Not Eating Out #51: To Be A “Home Cooking Advocate”

On Wednesday, a culinary legend passed away at the age of 90. She wasn’t a five-star restaurant chef, and didn’t graduate from a culinary school. She was Marion Cunningham, author of several cookbooks (including the revised Fannie Farmer Cookbook), cooking instructor, and cooking television show host. As the New York Times put it in the title of her obituary, she was a “home cooking advocate.”

Reason For Not Eating Out #50: To Do More Good

Last weekend was the deadline for an essay contest held by the New York Times, which asked readers to answer in 600 words, “Why it’s ethical to eat meat.” I didn’t enter the contest, because I couldn’t articulate the reasons I thought it was possible for meat-eating to be ethical, though not necessarily… (Just that sentence alone underscores the murkiness of the topic to me.) Then it came to me. And it goes in theory with my Reason For Not … Read More

Reason For Not Eating Out #49: Because Everyone Is the Best Chef of Something

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard this said in the last month or so. Last weekend, it was a friend who boasted of her hummus. A week ago, it was thirty people who made macaroni and cheese for a cook-off. Today, it was the founder of a startup based largely on that idea, called Kitchensurfing. I’ll wager that your mom cooks the best version of something on the planet. And that no one can touch you on … Read More

Reason For Not Eating Out #49: Getting Over Your Food Fears

I made unagi recently. And I didn’t produce the Japanese specialty by unwrapping a vacuum-packed fillet of fully prepared, barbecued eel — I went to a seafood market after having dim sum with friends in Chinatown, took home a sack of fresh eel, and prepared it from that. This was a huge step for me, because I love the taste of eel in sushi or with rice, but am terrified by the appearance of a fresh, uncooked eel.

Reason For Not Eating Out #48: To Eat With Purpose Every Time

Last week, I listened to a radio program about the need for more grocery stores in rural food deserts, as they are known. This, which occurs in dense inner-cities as well, can lead to a health crisis when the only food options are unhealthy restaurant meals or junk food. I’ve written before about this lack of “real” food, as many advocates are wont to describe fresh, organic, and unprocessed food such as from a farmers’ market. Yet these terms can … Read More

Reason For Not Eating Out #47: Because When You Do Eat Out, You’ll Feed Your Mind, Too

This post might double as a “Reason For Why I Haven’t Posted In More Than a Week,” and it has to do mostly with travel. Both alternate titles, that is. I’m currently in Taipei, Taiwan, eating a breakfast of warm soymilk with a savory doughnut stick, and plotting my next victims of rapacious culinary tourism in order to compile an excess of recipes for a book I plan to write. (Yes! More on that to come!)

Reason For Not Eating Out #46: Because You Can Make Foods You Never Knew Existed (Nor Were Intending To Make Exist)

What the heck did I make? The question I got from everyone who saw this concoction was the same one going through my mind. I’ll get into this Great Green Mystery next, but that’s a quandary with cooking that I hold dear. You can set out to do something in determination, follow the books, or wing it haphazardly, and still surprise yourself all the same. Trust me, I wouldn’t enjoy cooking as much if I could predict what I was … Read More

Reason For Not Eating Out #45: One In-Season Vegetable, Six Maddeningly Simple Dinners With Little Else

I’m tapping my fingers waiting for asparagus to arrive. It’s like the night before Christmas, or worse, the early morning hours when you’re not sure whether Santa’s come and gone, or might shuffle in yet. So while we’re waiting, I thought I’d rehash some of the simplest, most satisfying, no-nonsense ways to turn asparagus and other fresh produce that will soon arrive into meals. Because it’ll be too nice outside to worry about it too much.

Reason For Not Eating Out #44: Because Cooking Will Help Heat Your Home

Brrr! Two blizzards, about two feet of snow on the ground, and two straight nights of temperatures in the teens. Have you been staying indoors a lot this new year? I don’t blame you, and I’m not moving much either. Maybe ordering in some take-out sounds tempting, but after a couple nights of this, you might realize how much more often you’ll have to walk outside to get rid of the copious container-trash. Not fun! No, I find it much … Read More

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