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A Press Democrat Blog

Proximal Kitchen

Cooking locally, with really sharp knives

Summer’s Last Kiss

Late summer occupies one of those special places along time’s ecliptic, a season rich in the shared history and anticipatory potential of generations of American children: sand in your toes, or maybe they were splinters, from bare feet on the boardwalk; some patient city’s turn at this year’s pennant race for the ages; that delicate ballast between boredom and promise, between idle time and the first day of school. [youtube tF1628qACPM] I remember the late-summer blur of my childhood Augusts… Read More »

The Jet Lag Theory

I used to fly a lot of long-haul for work in a previous life, and my general and extensively tested policy, to which I still firmly subscribe, is always to behave as if I had already landed, particularly when traversing significant longitudinal slices of our little planet: set the watch ahead or back; go to sleep or stay awake; eat or don’t eat; whatever it is, you want to get your melon out of where ever it is that you’re… Read More »

…and somewhere along the London-Healdsburg axis

Today is shaping up as a particularly good day, because tomorrow I’m flying home from London, and – for 3 weeks, at any rate – I’ll get to kiss my wife and kids, eat at my favorite taquerias, and fill my kitchen with the all the symphony of colors, sounds and smells of mid-summer Sonoma County markets. I really miss the lot of them, most especially the wife and kids, but also the whole of my left-behind life in the… Read More »

Meat Fruit, c.15th century England

The problem with conventional wisdom is that it tends to be boring, and it tends to be wrong. I’m sure we could go on for ages about the Mariana-like depths to which we collectively submerge our independent judgment, those tempting soundbites of talk-show zeitgeist whose value exists in roughly inverse proportion to the volume of their proponents, including, inter alia: Water boils more quickly when salted; Cutting taxes reduces the size of government; Guns don’t kill people, people do; Traditional… Read More »

May I have some more butter with that mayo?

Finally! My family lands this morning. I hate even to think about what it must have been like for J, my brave and stolid spouse, suffering, as I write, the indignities of cattle-class air travel for 12 hours with three small children, but I’ve nevertheless been anticipating their arrival like a fat kid in line for cake. (Yes, I know that’s not appropriate. It’s also not my line. Sue me, and 50 Cent while you’re at it.) The thing of… Read More »

Healdsburg-London: Keep Calm and Carry On

London’s Heathrow Airport. Very early morning Greenwich Mean Time, and some unknowable hour in the middle of the Sonoma County night. Unknowable, at least according to my topsy-turvy body clock, befuddled as it is by the incongruity of angular morning light streaming violently through the window shades of UA Flight 954, and what feels distinctly like bedtime. We actually left SFO on time, which, in the perverse calculus of commercial air travel, means we’ve landed early, which means we’re sitting… Read More »

3 Ingredients, 30 Minutes: Hawaiian Sausage, Eggs & Rice

When I was much younger, and still living with hippies, my best friend moved to Hawai’i. For a child, growing up on a commune can feel a lot like quarantine – albeit with more space, and dirtier – so losing my friend was a big deal. But whatever the logical link between our Mendocino commune and my friend’s new home in the cane fields (it still eludes me), it meant that we would visit, and for that I’m thankful: I still remember the feeling of gravelly black sand between my toes, the thrill of getting caught in a sudden tropical shower, and the snot-like sensation of eating poi.… Read More »

Sweet, Salty, Cauliflower Love

I love that my kids are interested in things like music, gymnastics, and horses, but let’s be honest, careening from one activity to the next like a life-size game of pinball can get as old as bingo in Florida, and gas north of 4 bones/gallon ain’t helping. But still, I try to cherish the time together these errands offer, because I know that all that stands between me and a perpetual string of lonely afternoons is a few years and a driver’s license, and I’d like always to remember what it feels like to earn the unquestioning dependence of a child.… Read More »

Food Porn as Art

Beautiful food, beautifully photographed: Depending upon where you stand on the cultural battlefield, the media we call food porn is either an artist’s glimpse of the otherwise unobtainable, a vicarious bite of somebody else’s meal; or, like a fat forkful of Marie Antoinette’s gateau, a gluttonous invitation to some karmic foodie apocalypse. Is good food fine art, obscene luxury, or moral imperative? Food porn is a provocative term variously applied to a spectacular visual presentation of cooking or eating that… Read More »