Write Your, um, Our Own Cookbook

Gougeres

Blame it on Facebook. A few weeks ago, I posted this picture to this on my profile page. I was noodling around with the new iPhone app Instagr.am, to which I’m becoming pathologically addicted, and wanted to see if all this brouhaha over one-button photo publishing really worked. (Yes, it does, and, yes, David Lebovitz, Ree Drummond, and Deb Perelman, I’m still in the Dark Ages when it comes to mobile technology.)

These particularly sublime lovelies are gougères–small cheese puffs, my version filled with prosciutto and herbs. They’re scheduled to appear in the glossy, full-color pages of my next book–a Leite’s Culinaria cookbook–of which I’m only in the proposal-writing stage. ‘Tis true, I’m one of those writers who takes a millennium to put together a book. All I can say is bless the hearts of those writers who can knock out one terrific tome after another.

Now, what I didn’t expect from my expérience sociale was the reaction of readers. Within seconds of posting, I started getting everything from requests for the recipe (can’t give it out just yet, folks) to some serious wrist slapping for not having started the proposal sooner. Read more »

What I Miss About Portugal

Portuguese Saleswoman

I’m often asked at signings or lectures what I miss most about my near-yearlong stay in Portugal while I researched my cookbook. Honestly, the answer changes. It’s not that I’m being capricious or anything (although I can be—a lot). My response is tied to the calendar.

Ask me in October, and it’s São Jorge, one of the nine Azores Islands. It was there that my friend, Portuguese food scholar Janet Boileau, and I scoured the island in search of the finest sample of its namesake cheese: queijo São Jorge.

Ask me in March, and it’ll be the still-green undulating plains of the Alentejo, the great swath of land that cuts through the midsection of the country. In spring a riot of flowers speckle the landscape, almost in defiance of the sun that will pelt all of it into a tawny brown. The One and I spent three glorious weeks there, crawling on our bellies and eating, it seems, every living creature in sight. Read more »

Macolytes vs. PC-Lovers: What Do You Eat?

Mac vs. PC

Ever since the dawn of personal computing, which can be irrefutably carbon-dated to the mid-1980s, there’s been a fierce Us vs. Them tribal mentality to Mac and PC folks. I’d like it to be known that from the bulky-beige-box beginning, I’ve been an out and proud Macolyte. The very first computer I ever worked on? An original Macintosh 128K with a vision-destroying 9-inch monochrome monitor. (Embarrassingly, I learned how to use it from a trio of kids—all under the age of 10.)

We Macolytes were set to dominate the world, as the famous “Why 1984 won’t be like ‘1984’” commercial promised. Then financial shenanigans, treachery, and corporate greed in the computer industry hobbled Macintosh, and we followers—always devout, ever iconoclastic—were marginalized to design firms and ad agencies’ art departments by a sniggering rabble of front-office PC users. Read more »

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