Life

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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. …


This anti-feast can be more fun, no matter what it is

Sausage and bowties in a pan
Sausage and bowties in a pan
Photo: Robin Gentry/EyeEm/Getty Images

It’s the night before Thanksgiving and the last thing most of us want to do is cook dinner. In any year besides 2020, the Wednesday before the holiday is one of the biggest bar nights of the year, which means wings, burgers, tacos, and drinking snacks.

Since the sensible among us won’t be hitting bars, it’s an opportunity to get creative, whether it’s a takeout spread or any dish that’s a Thanksgiving antithesis. By virtue of the fact that it sidles up to the turkey feast, tonight’s dinner is an underdog meal that’s more casual and just as celebratory. Whether…


And how to prevent it

A row of freezers in the grocery store.
A row of freezers in the grocery store.
Photo: ElasticComputeFarm via Pixabay

If you’re prone to forgetting what food you have in the freezer, you’re probably well acquainted with freezer burn.

I’m talking about those massive ice crystals that completely destroy the texture of food, like when you find that half-eaten container of ice cream just overrun with ice crystals.

Perhaps you’ve spotted some meat and poultry in the freezer that’s turned an odd color with a shriveled, dry surface? That’s caused by freezer burn, too.

And while I’m all for complaining about freezer burn, I figure a better use of our time might be figuring out what it is and how…


The most peaceful season in Japan

Illustrations: Kaki Okumura

While some people might think the rainy season evokes feelings of gloom, it actually carries my most peaceful and quiet memories. The popular travel destinations are much less crowded, and the streets are less rowdy — a grace period after cherry blossom season and before the onset of summer vacationers, the weather seemingly slows down the city.

If you visit the mountains in Japan during this time, nature also takes on a different, beautiful form. The humidity and rain allow the moss to thicken and turn a brighter green, covering the tree bark and forest floor in a luscious, soft…


Japanese vegetables helped me pick better ones in the U.S.

Illustration of a hanging basket with 3 tomatoes and 3 cucumbers in it, surrounded by plants.

When I was young and lived in the U.S., I really disliked vegetables. I thought they were either bitter, sour, or bland, and compared their consumption to taking medicine. I would always force them down by covering them in ranch, or refusing them unless they were steamed into mush and covered with butter and salt. So it seemed odd to me when I was watching Ghibli’s My Neighbor Totoro that there was a scene where the main characters sat down to eat some raw cucumbers, seasoned with nothing, and snacked on them like they were chips.

It was just an…


Oyakodon with chicken, eggs, and onions

Photo: Brian Ferrell/Moment/Getty Images

When I moved from Japan to go to college in the U.S., I was excited to start my new adventure and to meet new people. Going to orientation and participating in events, somewhere I thought I would quickly find a group of friends and feel instantly at home. But as the initial excitement subsided, and the celebration of orientation was replaced with the repetitiveness of class, I began to feel a deep loneliness — was it always this hard to make close friends?

Yearning for comfort, I would find myself scrolling through old videos on my phone, and printing out…


Even in the hardest, strangest times, they’re there

Photo: Lucas Ninno/Moment/Getty Images

In Nilesh Patel’s documentary film, A Love Supreme, his mother’s fingers dance with the elegance of a silver screen star. Her hands cradle an onion, her nails tracing the edges of its papery skin and disrobing it in one deft movement. We see a flash of henna-stained palms as delicate fingers pop peas from their pods or juice a plump lemon. Fingers fix into a claw shape to whisk flour with water; later, they cup softly around samosa skins as they are filled. With the rhythms of cooking drummed into her muscle memory, every movement is performed by heart.

As…


‘It’s just the care, even the idea of doing one thing your whole life’

Photos: Greg Proechel via Instagram

Greg Proechel has a crazy big beard and a long octopus tattoo running up the length of his arm, but underneath his guise of being a wild artist, there’s a disciplined and meticulous man who is unafraid of hard and demanding work.

Graduating from Wesleyan University with a bachelor’s in economics, Proechel first went into finance before making the switch into professional kitchens. He’s worked at Eleven Madison Park, as well as at the Michelin-starred New York City restaurant Blanca as sous chef. He then moved on to work as executive chef at Le Turtle in NYC, and then opened…


What I learned from avocado and papaya

Photo: Sakari37/iStock/Getty Images Plus

One taught me planning
One taught me patience
And one taught me…. No, no.

This is starting to sound like an Ariana Grande song of boyfriends past. If I were to remix the track, my chorus would repeat, “Thank you, may I please have more?”

My family recently played a game at dinner in which each member had to disclose their favorite color of produce.

The rules were: If you could only eat one group of produce for the rest of your life, and that group was organized by color, which would you choose?

This is clearly a complete hypothetical…


Why is gluten intolerance so hard for people to accept?

Photo: Francesco Carta fotografo for Getty

More than 3 million Americans lead a gluten-free lifestyle, but there’s still plenty of misinformation floating around about wheat and other grains. If you’re reading this and going, “Huh? What is gluten?”, I’ll give you a quick rundown.

Gluten refers to the proteins found in many popular grains, including wheat, barley, rye, oat, and spelt. These proteins are safe for some people, but they trigger unpleasant — and sometimes even fatal — reactions in others.

Here are some common issues associated with gluten intolerance/sensitivity:

• Gastrointestinal distress
• Brain fog
• Joint pain
• Neurological issues
• Fatigue

Gluten doesn’t…

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Food from every angle: From Medium x Mark Bittman

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