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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 »

The Bacon Hall of Fame Top 5

The Bacon Hall of Fame. I should stop right there, really. But if you caught Monday’s missive, then you already know how excited I am about the upcoming festivities at COCHON555, the concert tour for cooks and farmers and roving celebration of all things good and just about the noble swine, so hopefully you’ll bear with me for one more post. That being said, nobody needs to hear me bang the table all over again about how much I love… Read More »

The Costco Report: Eating My (Cheesy) Words

I received some criticism for yesterday’s post – some silly (“Why do you even shop at Costco?”), and some quite fair (“Maybe it’s uneconomic for smaller local dairies to supply Costco.”). I like to think that I can take it as well as I can dish it out and, while I sometimes like to play rough, I also like to play fair, so here’s my mea culpa de fromage: While I may decry my inability to source local cheeses from the Santa Rosa Costco, and while I may now have to drive further and pay more to procure some of my favorite products as a result, that is not necessarily any fault of the Big C.… Read More »

New Year’s Eve: Serve This, Get Lucky

If you’ve already got Champagne and caviar lying about, then by all means, use it, and with neither apology nor reservation. But here is my contribution: Whatever you do, make sure you serve something that will get you lucky. As it happens – to nobody’s surprise, at least if they’re regular readers – we in the Proximal Kitchen are nothing if not opinionated, and we love most of all to pontificate about which foods and wines are most likely to earn you flirty looks and even messier sheets, and we’ve got just the ticket:… Read More »