A Man and His Stove

David recounts his experience purchasing his first beloved Viking stove, which he affectionately nicknamed Thor, and after 20 years finds out the stove’s fate.

A Man and His Stove

UPDATE:

Since 2002, countless people have asked me how Thor was holding up. For the past 16 years, I wasn’t able to answer; we moved to the next town over in 2006.

Thor has often crossed my mind in the intervening time. The One and I have wondered out loud whether the current owners knew what a special, and, dare I add, famous stove they had.  So you can imagine my delight when this weekend I received the following email. It’s from Stephanya Bareham, the third owner of Thor. To know that he has blessed them as much as he blessed us was a gift. He was such an important part of my culinary growth and career (thanks to my anthropomorphizing tendencies) that I feel a wayward child has returned to the fold. Even if he is destined for the great Valhalla for cooking warriors.–David Leite

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How to Tell if a Tomato is Perfectly Ripe

How to tell if a tomato is perfectly ripe is a skill that we should all know, especially those of us that love to cook and consume them. Sit back and read David’s tips for always picking the best of the best.

A wooden table filled with assorted tomatoes, a cloth napkin, spoons, and forks, and a person gently squeezing a tomato to check if it is perfectly ripe.
: Edgar Castrejon

So you find yourself standing, motionless, in the produce department of your local grocery store or at the farmstand befuddled by the mounds of Big Boys, Early Girl mortgage lifters, bunches of Romas with their tangles of green vines. And you wonder, “How in the hell do I know which is a perfectly ripe tomato?”

You’ve come to the right guy because I have a long and checkered relationship with tomatoes. How can a person have a relationship with a tomato, checkered or otherwise, you ask? Easy.

When I was a maudlin 14 year old, my dad, a plain-talking, straightforward kind of man, believed that a lot of hard farm work, sunshine, and a few cases of poison ivy would lift my mood in no time. Bless his heart. Of course, he was wrong. No amount of sunshine, sore muscles, or bouts of an itchy ass were a match for bipolar disorder.

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How To Grill Salmon

To learn how to grill salmon so that it’s flaky and tender yet doesn’t fall through the grill, David Leite turned to grilling guru Jamie Purviance for simple, accessible, foolproof tips and tricks that you can take to your backyard.

A piece of grilled salmon on an open grill to how how to grill salmon.

The third and final installment of my great afternoon of grilling with Jamie Purviance triptych, which began with me learning how to grill steak and continued with how to make rotisserie chicken, was the one I was looking forward to the least.

Not because I was tired of Jamie. But, boy, was I tired—just look at what 10 hours of shooting can do to a guy’s hair and the bags under his eyes. [Editor’s Note: That’s David begging for you to tell him how dashing he still looks. Don’t encourage this behavior.] No, I was dreading it because the subject matter is the bane of almost every skilled griller I know: fish.

Historically, whenever I’ve grilled fish, most of it ended up dropping through the grates and getting incinerated, each piece slowly shriveling as it turned a darker shade of charred.

After these moments grew too numerous—I mean how many backyard autos-da-fé must a man witness before he gets the hint as to his lack of affinity to fire and fish?—I simply walked away from anything aquatic. I figured if I were to singe anything, at least let it be something solid that I could chase around the grill with a pair of tongs, like grilled steak or rotisserie chicken.

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