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Photo: Erica Lovelace Cooks

Come with me on this spicy journey into the Chinese pantry

When I was a kid, my favorite thing to do with my grandmother was to visit the local Asian grocery store. While she shopped, we’d trot past aisles and aisles of colorful labels we couldn’t read, vacuum-sealed bags full of mysterious fungi or cartons adorned with neon, bug-eyed characters. Fast-forward 20 years, trips to the Asian grocery store are key to keeping my pantry well-stocked with things like dark soy sauce, rock sugar, hot pot fixings, hard-to-get vegetables, and frozen dumplings.

If you’re lucky enough to have an Asian grocery store in your backyard — whether a local shop or…

Because I’m also preparing it for post-pandemic life

A neat farmhouse kitchen. The well-stocked pantry door is open.
A neat farmhouse kitchen. The well-stocked pantry door is open.
Photo: Annie Spratt via Unsplash

Lately, I’ve had an unsettling feeling as the realization that neither a new year nor a new administration likely means any significant changes to our daily lives, at least for several more months.

I can’t help but think of this time a year ago when I was looking forward to a party we’d planned. I didn’t know it was the last one we’d host for so long. When I look back at what I cherish and miss the most about what we did during pre-pandemic life, gatherings small and large are high on the list.

My kitchen still sees a…

It depends on your level of commitment

A person with short salt-and-pepper gray hair + matching facial hair and glasses talking, holding a glass bottle.
A person with short salt-and-pepper gray hair + matching facial hair and glasses talking, holding a glass bottle.
Mossimo Bottura. Photo: MasterClass

While the online learning industry was booming before Covid-19, it has now become a central part of our lives. More Americans are taking online classes — even when it comes to cooking.

While many classes are free, MasterClass, the Rolls-Royce of online education platforms, is one of the first to partner with iconic celebrity chefs such as Gordon Ramsay, Alice Waters, Aaron Franklin, and Thomas Keller. The movie-like trailers showcase famous chefs sharing moments of culinary clarity and inviting us to join them for the ride.

Membership to the platform is $90 per class, with an option for an all-access…

Turns out, they’re inspiring, too

A handwritten list of “Culinary Desires” and a pen on a woven rug next to a calendar turned to the January page.

In 2021, I’m looking forward to a tentative trip to Italy in July. Or maybe a birthday party with more than one guest in March. I guess just a martini at home next Friday.

Though we’re nowhere near close to being able to make post-Covid plans, What I can do is march purposefully into the kitchen and make an amaretti crumble with mascarpone cream. Or stir-fried celery with peanuts and bacon or something with the ‘nduja I bought on sale.

These are my only plans for the foreseeable future. I am so excited by them (and by my ability to…

Shit! What’s For Dinner?

Dishes to look forward to this week

A drawing of a grain bowl.
A drawing of a grain bowl.
Illustration: Elsma Ramirez

While tomorrow is a day many of us are looking forward to (and are downright relieved about), we can’t help but feel anxious post-insurrection, as we approach a staggering 400,000 lives lost since March, and a litany of other things that provoke worry. Let’s hold onto hope and find strength for the work that’s cut out for us.

Meanwhile, we still have to eat. This week, we’ve got make your own grain bowls, macaroni and cheese, and of these roasted chicken ideas, we’re into the cumin, honey, and orange option.

Grain Bowls

Makes: 6–8 servings
Time: 10 minutes to more than an hour…

Win a print until Feb. 2: Otherwise, consider 1. and 3.

A drawing of a hamburger castle.

First off, here’s a special pre-order offer for you: A chance to win a framed, limited edition print, made just for us by the wonderful Alex Testere. Three lucky winners who pre-order my upcoming book, Animal, Vegetable, Junk, and fill out this form by February 2nd will receive a print (check them out below). Everyone who enters will receive a special postcard.

Good luck, and, as always, thank you.

I should have seen this coming

Photo of a kitchen waiting to be used.
Photo of a kitchen waiting to be used.
Photo: Michael Browning via Unsplash

I did think of it as “my” kitchen: It had been one of the reasons we’d chosen to buy our home 12 years ago. The previous owners had remodeled it three years prior, moving the old kitchen cabinets (and even a working sink) out into the garage for storage.

It had been a significant upgrade. The kitchen, in fitting with the decor of the rest of the house, was neutrally colored. Cream cabinets, sandy brown speckled granite countertops, and a travertine tile backsplash with a few subtle accents. …

Shit! What’s For Dinner?

Quick and easy winter dishes

A bowl of mussels
A bowl of mussels
Photo: Shyman/iStock/Getty Images Plus

Winter is always “the darkest season,” but this one more than most. While what we decide to cook and eat usually can’t make our problems disappear, it can soothe us, center us, fortify us, or consume our attention in welcome ways, even if only for a few minutes. For anyone in need of something to cook this week or beyond, here are five ideas that have been bouncing around my head (and my stove). For the most part, they’re simple, quick to make, don’t require any exotic or supremely expensive ingredients, and are, most importantly for the dark days ahead…

Breathe some life into cooking routines

Bookshelves full of cookbooks.
Bookshelves full of cookbooks.
Photo: Melissa McCart

Raise your hand if you’re tired of cooking. I’m trying to pull inspiration from my colleagues Daniel, Kerri, and of course, Mark, but I have to say, like the rest of the cook-at-home universe, I’m fishing for how to recharge and to feel as committed about cooking at home as I was in March.

In some ways, this is timely, since I’m guessing, like you, I’d like to support our favorite restaurants as the government has left them for dead. But that’s for another post. …

Send off this abominable year with fancy, lazy, or vegan dishes

Black Board showing “(Bye) 2020, (hello) 2021” written on it by white chalk.
Black Board showing “(Bye) 2020, (hello) 2021” written on it by white chalk.
Photo: Carmen Martínez Torrón/Moment/Getty Images

We’re a few days away from officially ushering out one of the worst years many of us can ever remember. In theory, that’s cause for celebration, but it’s not as if any of this will go away when the clock strikes midnight. I guess that’s my way of saying that I really have no idea what kind of New Year’s Eve any of you are up for this year.

What I do know is that, one way or another, you’re going to have to eat something. Maybe you want to channel a whole bunch of anxious energy into cooking for…


Food from every angle: From Medium x Mark Bittman

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