Tomato Harvest, Kind of

Tomato Harvest

Yesterday, before a crackingly good thunderstorm knocked out power in Roxbury, CT, for more than three hours, The One went out into the garden (well, the euphemistic garden because its no bigger than a toddler’s wadding pool) and gathered our first tomato harvest. A total of 18 cherry tomatoes; 20 if you count the two we ate. This is the fruits of our labor after weeks of carefully plucking off suckers; talking to the plants, telling them as Marlo Thomas told all of us, that they, too, were “free to be you and me”;  staking them; and generally doting on them as much as we do our two cats?

I know they’ll be more, but I remember when I was a kid and my father would bring in bushels of globe tomatoes every few days from the garden. (Not to mention corn, potatoes, peppers, kale, cabbage, peach, pears, and three kinds of apples.) There were so many tomatoes, I was instantly dispatched to bring bagfuls to my aunts and uncles, our neighbors—anyone, in fact, in a 10-mile radius who liked them. Read more »

Where Do I Sign?

New Portuguese Table by David Leite

After Clarkson Potter approached me several years ago to write The New Portuguese Table (yes, publishers do approach writers unbidden, so don’t give up hope), I remember running around the apartment screaming and suddenly slamming into the side of an opened closet door. No matter, this was Clarkson Potter, home to some of my favorite authors. Facial bruises disappear, but colophons are forever.

But that T-bone collision with the door turned out to be just the beginning of my own personal Lemony Snicket’s Series of Unfortunate Events that, at times, made me almost throw up my hands, return my advance, and become a dog walker. At least I knew how to handle that kind of crap. Read more »

Craig Claiborne and the Invention of Food Journalism

On June 11th, I had the pleasure and honor of being on a panel at The New School with some esteemed colleagues—John T. Edge, Anne Mendelson, Betty Fussell, and Molly O’Neill—to talk about one of the 20th century’s most important and controversal food journalists, Craig Claiborne.

Craig ClaiborneBecause I’ve been publishing Leite’s Culinaria for more than ten years, I was given the exciting and onerous task of discussing the future of food journalism, a topic about which if you ask 100 people you’ll get 125 responses. I was utterly terrified. To be in such company, who collectively have published enough about food to fill a library, was overwhelming enough. But then to grapple with a topic few people have a viable, concise answer to? (I had visions of suffering the same fate as many Elizabethan actors at the rotten-vegetable-filled hands of a displeased crowd.) After all, if people knew the future of journalism, they’d already be making money from it.

In my research I discovered that technology, with its Internet, mobile communications, computers, etc., is both an asset and liability to food writers. To tackle my topic, I chose to speak to leaders in the writing, publishing, and technology industries…aw, hell, it’d be so much easier, and you’d get so much more out of it, if you just watched the panel instead of listening to me blither on here.

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