Cobb Salad

The first avocado I ever had was at Scandia restaurant in Los Angeles and I hated it. The slippery little green cubes avoided my fork, until finally, I managed to spear one. Once I did, I swallowed it – reluctantly, then avoided the rest of them on my plate. I’m not sure how I came to eventually love avocados, but the city of Los Angeles is a little like that, too; You might not like it at first, but it definitely grows on you.

Half of my family is from there so I got to visit them, and the city, during Christmas vacations when I was a kid. Leaving the East Coast snow behind and stepping out of the plane into the 80º heat, and learning that people had actual swimming pools in their back yard, was a revelation.

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Crumpets

Decades ago, there was a fresh crumpet shop in San Francisco. I don’t remember the name of the shop* (in searching for it, I came across Crown & Crumpet, which opened a few years back), but it was out in the avenues and each half-dozen package of crumpets had a paper label tucked inside with the name of the shop on it. Once you collected enough labels…

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Whenever I mention “Chocolate Chip Cookies,” this recipe seems to come up in the conversation. I’ve been making chocolate chip cookies all of my life, and am always happy to add new ones to my repertoire. I’ve made them with various kinds of flours, different types (and sizes) of chocolate, some with nuts (or cocoa nibs), and others without. In some cases, the salt in…

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When I first arrived in France and enrolled at a French school, the teacher went around the room and asked us all, who came from various places around the world, what we missed about our home countries. We often did exercises like that because it was a way to get us to speak French about a subject we were passionate about. (Which is why another…

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Mokonuts

I often wonder where people will go when they tell me they want to dine somewhere “out-of-the-way” in Paris. Do they want to go to the outer reaches of the 20th or 15th arrondissements for lunch? And if they want to go somewhere where “only locals” eat, will they be happy with a standard plat du jour? Or do they want more creative cooking, with an accent…

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There are many types of kofta, and spellings, including (but not limited to), kofta, kafta, and kufta, cooked in various countries and regions around the world. An unverified report on Wikipedia stated that in Turkey alone, there are 291 different kinds of kefta, or kofta. I don’t know how many kinds or varieties are available in the United States, but I know that if something comes…

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The other day, I watched nuclear warheads being rolled into place. I was in New York and saw the news on a television at the gym, as people did their reps and stomped away on the treadmills around me. I looked around and realized that I was the only one watching, standing transfixed in front of the television, with my mouth slightly agape, because it’s something…

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During a recent trip to Iceland, I visited a number of bakeries which make what are considered to be in the Danish tradition. They’re yeasted, but get their flaky layers by either being rolled and folded several times, or made with a brioche-like dough, often with a moist, sweet marzipan filling. I met Uri Scheft, an Israeli baker whose parents emigrated from Denmark, at his bakery…

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Although I began my talk at the Iceland Writers Retreat telling the group that I disliked the word “humbled,” (and invited the group to call me out on it in the future, if I ever used that word again), I felt humbled being in the presence of such highly esteemed writers, who came from around the world. Being the only person who writes about food,…

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