Pimento Cheese

There is nothing about me that is remotely Southern. I can’t name the capital of Virginia. I have no idea whether Lee or Grant led the Confederate troops into battle (although I do know who won the war). And for the life of me, I simply don’t get the concept of boiled peanuts. For years my only primer to Southern society and mores was Gone With the Wind. And I’m not ashamed to admit that I have, when in a mischievous mood, borrowed from Scarlett O’Hara, that great icon of Southern strength and frivolity, when entertaining. See, our house in Connecticut has four ridiculous columns in front. It looks more like an antebellum home from the wrong side of the Mason-Dixon Line than anything remotely in keeping with the neighborhood. When we’re expecting guests known for their resilient senses of humor and hearty constitutions, I don my big floppy gardening hat, sit primly on the front stairs, and prattle on in my best Southern accent to no one in particular, peppering it with plenty of “fiddle-dee-dee”s. Vivien Leigh won an Oscar for her flibbertigibbet ways. I’m usually awarded a chorus line of shaking heads and pitiful looks as everyone steps over me on their way inside. Read more »

Fresh Ham and Cheese Croissants

Croissants. Not just any croissants. Freshly baked ham and cheese croissants. And not “croy-santz,” but true, honest-to-god, homemade “krwa-sawhn.” That’s what I’m talking about.

I don’t make croissants nearly as often as I should. For the longest time, I’ve relied upon my dear friend Cindi Kruth. Cindi is one of our recipe testers as well as one hell of a baker. The One and I went over to her and her husband Martin’s home one Saturday morning last autumn, and what awaited us? These croissants. About two dozen of them, fresh out of the oven. As soon as we walked in the door, she swung around with a rack of these in her hands. I’m not ashamed to admit I ate about six myself. How could I not?

Yes, yes, I can imagine what you’re thinking now as you looked below for a recipe and didn’t find one. How much ham and cheese are we supposed to use, David? Why haven’t you included the recipe, David? Are you trying to torture us, David? Read more »

Liar, Liar Apron on Fire

Lying Cook

This Thanksgiving I was betrayed. Deeply, inconsolably betrayed. What makes it worse is that I was undone by my own people. Culinistas.

During the two decades that The One and I have been cooking Thanksgiving dinner together, food authors, editors, and writers have been chirping the same saccharine, Pollyanna mantra: “Prep, and all will be well!” Each year, beginning in September, they hammer away their make-ahead message in books, blogs, newspapers, magazines, and on TV, like Glinda the Good Witch repeating, “There’s no place like home! There’s no place like home!” to Dorothy in that helium-infused bleat of hers. And each year, even though The One and I wanted to believe what they said, we were never organized enough—or, to be honest, humble enough—to think their message applied to us. Read more »

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