Archive for the ‘The New York Times’ Tag

Free-form Cooking   Leave a comment

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The New York Times Cooking No-Recipes Cookbook might sound like an oxymoron, but it promotes a fun approach to preparing food. Sam Sifton who founded the Times Cooking section offers non-recipes with the barest suggestions for ingredients and the loosest of instructions.

Yet, even with unembellished directions, Sifton’s creative ideas, humor and confidence inspire readers’ abilities to rise to the challenge. Not wanting to let him down, I tried several no-recipes with, what I consider, great success.

Main dishes, ranging from tacos to fish, pasta to  chowder are among the (non)recipes included. For example, the Curry Beef begins includes such vague guidelines as “Chop a bunch of garlic and ginger and onion into the finest sort of dice…” Who needs exacts amount, it’s all about taste. It’s clear if you’re not a fan of any of these three items, skip or reduce them. It’s that easy.

Or how about this for the Crispy Pork Sandwiches with Spicy Mayo and Scallions: “Get some pork belly if you can or some fatty pork chops if you can’t.” that’s precise, hah!

Among my favorites, though, is Pasta with Sausage and Parm. With orecchiette and you can probably guess the other ingredients, although you might not think about including sage. Sifton wraps up his directive for this with “ … grate a lot of parmesan over the top, and let me know how it goes.”

On the page featuring Terriyaki Salmon with Mixed Greens, Sifton writes, “Cooking’s not difficult. It just takes practice.”

The New York Times Cooking No Recipes Cookbook

Five Bookmarks

Ten Speed Press, 2021

256 pages

Cooking, Camaraderie and Courtship   Leave a comment

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Give me a well-written book about food with recipes and I’m a happy reader. Cooking for Mr. Latte is Amanda Hesser’s account of how she met her husband, meals with family and friends and writing about food for The New York Times.

I’m no fan of the cover, but this is enjoyable. Hesser’s sense of humor is self-deprecating, but insightful. Her food knowledge is impressive and many of the recipes included at the end of the chapters are ones I want to try. Although some are more daunting than I’m willing to venture, most are enticing without being too challenging.

Mr. Latte is the name the author ascribes to her now husband. Their ideas about food are not at all on the same plate when they first meet. As the relationship grows, each makes concessions as their palates and dining encounters expand.

Hesser describes meals – those in restaurants and those at home – along with the role they have in creating and maintaining close friendships.

The courtship between the author and Mr. Latte is the main thread of the narrative with each chapter a vignette of her life as a writer, single female and foodie in New York City. Visits to her grandmother on the Chesapeake Bay illustrate the importance of family and the comfort of family meals. Her meeting with her future in-laws includes the combination of excitement and angst many can connect with. This isn’t quite a diary, but close. These aren’t private thoughts Hesser shares, but relatable experiences.

Cooking for Mr. Latte
Four Bookmarks
W.W. Norton & Co., 2003
336 pages (includes index)