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Tuesday, November 23, 2021

A Conversation with Julia Filmmakers, Julie Cohen and Betsy West

Julia is a new film based on Dearie: The Remarkable Life of Julia Child by Bob Spitz and inspired by My Life in France by Julia Child with Alex Prud’homme and The French Chef in America: Julia Child’s Second Act by Alex Prud’homme. Julia Child died in 2004, and yet our appetite for all things Julia hasn't waned.  I grew up watching Julia Child on TV and learning to cook the French classics from her books,   And while I never trained to be a chef, like Child I also transitioned into a career focused on food, a subject I have always found endlessly fascinating. I enjoyed the new film very much and while it didn’t break much new ground, it did add a layer of perspective that can only come with time. In particular, how Julia Child became a ubiquitous pop culture figure is addressed in a fresh way.  I reached out to the filmmakers,Julie Cohen and Betsy West to find out more about what inspired them and why Julia Child still holds our attention.  Julia Child died over 15 years ag...
Tuesday, October 05, 2021

Meet my Friend & Mentor: Rick Rodgers of the Online Cooking School Coffee & Cake

I met Rick Rodgers early in my career as a recipe developer and food writer when we were both contributors to the Epicurious blog. Not only is he a lot of fun to hang out with, but he has also been incredibly helpful to me and is usually the first person I call when I’m floundering with a project, client, or cooking quandary. His interpersonal skills, business experience, and cooking acumen explain why he’s been recognized as one of the top cooking instructors in America. Literally.  You built a career as a cooking instructor and cookbook author. How many cookbooks have you written?  I was asked recently to make an official count, and It looks like an even hundred. Many of those were collaborations with chefs, restaurants, celebrities, bakeries, and business entities, such as Tommy Bahama, Williams-Sonoma, and Nordstrom.  I made it known that I was available for collaboration work, and my phone literally rang off the hook for quite a few years with editors and agents looking for help ...
Sunday, August 15, 2021

All about Saffron and Saffron Scented Fennel & Chickpea Stew Recipe

Like so many people, when I’ve traveled to Spain, I’ve come back with packages of saffron. But recently I met Negar Ajayebi, whose company Baron Saffron is importing the most exquisite organic Persian saffron. The color is incredibly vibrant and the aroma intense and complex. Frankly, it was way better than anything I ever had before. I spoke with Ajayebi to learn more about this exquisite spice and how to use it.  How did you get into the saffron business? It was a hobby as we cook every day and we use saffron a lot. Persian people grow up with saffron. We came from a culture where daily cooking is the primary job of every family, and saffron is an important ingredient. The best saffron in the world grows in the Persian plateau, and we like to introduce it to people worldwide. What is something that most Americans don't know about saffron? Most Americans use the threads to add taste, but the point is that you should grind the threads and brew them! It has so many health ben...
Monday, June 14, 2021

News & Ways to Stay in Touch

Last year I became the editor of chief of two sites, the Cheese Professor and the Alcohol Professor . On each site you will find three new stories a week. There is also a weekly newsletter. Needless to say, I have not been blogging here as much as I did in the past. But there are still ways to keep in touch!  My old email subscription service Feedburner was discontinued, but you can sign up with Follow.it and then choose how you would like to be notified of new posts--in a feed, a direct email or otherwise. Simply click on this link to sign up  (or the "subscriber now" link in the side bar).  I do hope you will take a look at both the  Cheese Professor  and the  Alcohol Professor  and consider signing up for the weekly newsletters as well. I write the newsletters and also contribute to both sites. Check out the past newsletters for Cheese Professor and the past newsletters for Alcohol Professor to subscribe. As always, you can find pretty much all the stories I've writ...
Tuesday, May 18, 2021

Gnocchi alla Sorrentina Recipe & Contest

Just as Margherita pizza is symbolic of Naples, gnocchi alla Sorrentina is emblematic of Sorrento. Like the Margherita, it features the colors of the Italian flag thanks to tomato, mozzarella and basil.That trinity seems like the most classic of Italian ingredients, but is it? Basil is not native to the Mediterranean, it came to Italy from India via the spice routes.  Tomatoes came from the New World and didn't make their way to Italy until the 15th or 16th century, the same for potatoes, which are a key ingredient in gnocchi in many regions. I've read that potatoes were used because at one time the price of wheat was very high but I don't know if that's actually true or not.  My recipe for gnocchi alla Sorrentina is incredibly simple, but like all Italian recipes, it relies on excellent quality ingredients. There are lots of recipes out there for gnocchi alla Sorrentina. While they all have potato gnocchi topped with a sauce made from tomatoes along with basil, Parmigi...
Sunday, March 14, 2021

The Truffle Hunters

I got to meet people in the truffle business a few years ago when I was the blogger for the Napa Truffle Festival . I even blogged about truffle dogs . I am not a big fan of dogs but fell head over heels in love with the adorable Lagotto Romangnolos. Affectionate, smart and energetic, they were irresistible. The award winning documentary The Truffle Hunters  features not just truffle dogs, but the dog’s owners, and some truffle brokers.  This delightful and quiet documentary transports you to Piemonte in Italy and takes you into the hidden world of the truffle hunters, both the men and their dogs. But it also shares the dark side of the business.  The truffle business is notoriously shady. In some sections of the film you literally get a dog’s eye view of truffle hunting. But the real charm are the men themselves and their relationships with friends, clients and their undying love for their dogs. Like the film itself, they are quirky, eccentric, funny and intense.  Truffles are all...