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A Press Democrat Blog

Proximal Kitchen

Cooking locally, with really sharp knives

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 »

Making Peace with Whole Foods Butchers

For years, those three little words neatly summarized my feelings about Whole Foods, and made for a Flintstones-sized bone of contention between me and every food-snob I came across; where my friends and family chomped at the bit to feel good about parting with their paychecks, I saw only a business model predicated on sloughing-off expensive products of inconsistent quality, remarkably mediocre prepared foods, and egregiously priced dry goods encased in very clever branding.… Read More »

30 Minutes, 3 Ingredients, 1 Dinner

Sometimes, it’s fun to see how much we can do, with how little. I could list the underlying moral imperatives – saving money and time would presumably occupy the penthouse suite – but in the main, I just think it’s plain fun, a sort of Sudoku with pots and pans. Case in point: How do you feed 3 persnickety kids, using just 3 ingredients, in only 30 minutes? Why 3, 3, and 30? 3 kids, because I get my wife… Read More »

When Vegetarians Eat Meat

The Dalai Lama eats meat because his doctors tell him to. My wife was a lacto-ovo vegetarian for many years, until she got pregnant and we went to Paris for lunch; now, she’ll eat meat, but only from animals that she would kill with her own hands. My father’s wife will taste meat, but only very rarely, and even then with a whispered apology and a tear. And I’ve already told you how I made my eldest daughter cry over… Read More »

A Seasonal Twist on the Tuna Sandwich

Of the many things not to like about a crappy job market, working longer hours for less money has to be near the top of the list; worse still, however, are the all-too-inevitable hours spent working for nothing, the hours spent trying to secure employment instead of actually doing something productive, like riding your bike or cooking. I say this because neither cooks, writers, nor economists of merely mortal stature obtain any special immunity to recessions, which means I’ve spent… Read More »

“Parker House” Dinner Rolls

Somewhere, in a squat little cardboard tube, lies a row of Pillsbury dinner rolls, mashed into one another as if caught in some evil baker’s version of airline seats… and each of those rolls, as it pays its Karmic debt to the gods of flour and water, thinks of one thing only: Please, please let me come back as a Parker House roll, baked from scratch in somebody’s kitchen, pulled apart by the chubby little fingers of happy little children.… Read More »

Make-Up Bread

My eldest daughter is one of my very favorite people in the world. Really, that’s not just a parent talking: The child has an innate happiness, a fullness of heart, and a spontaneous grace that simply disarms everyone she meets. Like her good looks, I take very little credit for any of that, but I cannot abdicate her Mr Hyde self, so we have to find ways to make up with one another, and this is what we’ve found: There is no better splint for fractured family love than the baking together of fresh bread. Read More »

Eat Pig, Drink Pinot, Save Our Schools

I have mixed feelings about school fund-raisers: On the one hand, like most parents, I have kids in public schools that fall chronically short of financial resources; on the other, I believe that I already pay more than enough in taxes to expect a properly funded system of public education, that the root of the problem is not the quantity of money available, but rather the means by which it is allocated. In any case, on the morning after our Pigs ‘n Pinot fund-raising dinner, I am hungover, fat, and happy all the same.
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Sunny Eggs, Crispy Polenta & Creamy Mushrooms

sunny-side up eggs, crispy polenta cake, creamy sauteed mushroomsThe culinary leaders of the free world – and on this the kitchens of both Republican and Democratic White Houses agree, so who am I to argue – particularly enjoy pairing their big, rich Chards with either corn or scallops. I know this because, as I explained in yesterday’s post, one of my favorite vintners of kick-ass Chard supplies the very same wine that I buy to the White House Ombudsman. … Read More »