Corned Beef Hash-It-Out

Corned Beef Hash Recipe

As part of his wooing ritual, The One lured me up to his country house, in Barryville, New York, one weekend. The blush was very much on the rose back then. It was a time when I learned something new about my inamorato almost daily—such as how, on Saturdays, he would sun himself until he was the color of a number-two eraser (a practice cut short by skin cancer); how he’s constitutionally unable to lie; and how he simply must drive whenever he’s in a car, no matter whose it is. (Control issues, anyone?)

One Sunday morning, as I sat cross-legged at the kitchen table, all moony-eyed as he prepared breakfast, The One rifled through the cupboard and pulled out a can. He cranked open the lid, wrapped both hands around the inverted can, and pumped it up and down over the skillet as if he were driving a wooden post into the ground. On the third try, it happened—the long, slow can fart as the contents loosened and plopped into the pan. There it sat, a giant plug of gelatinous substance, the tin can’s bands embossed around its middle. Read more “Corned Beef Hash-It-Out” »

For God’s Sake, Stop It!

Snow, Snow, Snow
Click me for a panorama of winter panic

I know, I know. This image looks familiar. You’re tired of seeing snow on my blahg. I’m tired of seeing snow out my window. It just doesn’t stop. I’m mad as hell, and I’m not going to take it anymore! And this is coming from a dyed-in-the-wet-wool-socks snow lover. If I were a kid again and my father were shoveling the walk and snow-blowing the driveway while I stood in the doorway, a cup of hot chocolate warming my hands, instructing him in the proper method of snow removal, everything would be fine. But now it’s me who has to shovel that son-of-a-bitch-ing walkway, knock snow off the huge yew bushes with a too-short broom, and worst of all, carry bags of seeping, malodorous trash over snowbanks at least as tall as me–not very successfully, I might add. (You try getting the stains and stenches of soured milk, rendered duck fat, and a moldering chicken from the back of the fridge out of your only winter jacket, and then look me in the eye and say, “But it’s so pretty outside, David.”) I don’t give a rat’s ass if it’s pretty and cozy and safe. My detestation of manual labor and laundering has far outstripped my love of the white stuff.  Read more “For God’s Sake, Stop It!” »

Someone’s in the Kitchen with Ina

Ina Garten's Lemon Chicken Recipe
Just about everyone who cooks has a Julia Child story. How she inspired them, how she entertained them, even how she got them pregnant! When it comes to Julia worship, people practically fainted in her presence with religious fervor. My own Julia story, yet to be revealed, talks about how she gave me great comfort in a time of great pain. But who—all these years after Julia first flickered on TV, instructing us with that warbly hoot-owl voice of hers—is her logical successor?

I’ll tell you who: Ina Garten.

Ina has touched, thrilled, even titillated (not that way!) legions of cooks for the past 14 years with her approachable recipes and her “How easy is that?” commentaries. And while I cook (fabulously, I might add) from a few of her many cookbooks—Barefoot Contessa Parties, Barefoot Contessa in Paris, and Barefoot Contessa at Home—what I hold most dear is a short conversation I had with her years ago, one I’m sure she forgot the next moment. But I replay it in my mind over and over again, like an old bootleg Betamax tape of Star Wars. Read more “Someone’s in the Kitchen with Ina” »