What people are shouting

Common Sense Alert

Don’t lie to your kids. Choose whatever metaphor you like when it comes to the birds and the bee’s, but for goodness sake don’t lie to them about something a basic and delicious as food.

Jessica Seinfeld, the wife of comedian Jerry Seinfeld, has come out with a terrible sounding cookbook called “deceptively delicious” designed to sneak “healthy” foods into convenience foods and desserts. And shame on her and her publishers for selling her book as the antidote to rapidly expanding childhood obesity. Sticking pureed broccoli into brownies does not make fat kids thin. It is crime to brownies, broccoli, and the poor confused kids who have to eat them. Treats are treats, broccoli is damn good when well prepared and if you want your kids to eat well sit down and have a meal with them. After all they eat what we eat.

And most important - please don’t buy this book. If you want your kids to be healthy apply a little common sense, and don’t believe anything that sounds too cute to be true.

Common Sense Alert

Last night was our anniversary. We passed the seven year itch with barely a scratch.

To celebrate we cooked a special dinner with the kids. From the butcher we picked up a beautifully marbled aged ribeye which is as rich and buttery as it is pricey. The kids had great fun watching the flames of the grill leap to the melting fat. Meanwhile my wife made an Israeli Couscous and in the spirit of improvisation attempted a creamed spinach which didn’t quite work but was well appreciated. For dessert we whipped up some cream and sprinkled raspberries on top. The delight the kids took from whipping the cream was almost as great as their joy in eating the finished product. It was a magical night for all of us that exceed by far the sum of the mere ingredients that comprised the meal.

Forgive me… but it’s been more than a month since my last shout… (5 Bloody Mary’s and all is forgiven.)

Last night I had my first Chinese meal in an age. Peking Duck done well is one of the finest things, no? It is something I will never try re-creating at home as I know I will never do it as well. Sushi too. Does that make me a coward?

It occurs to me that there are three kinds of salads.

  1. Bad salads. You know these salads well. Think about salad bar salads, iceberg lettuce with bottled dressing salads, wilted lettuce with a random tasteless cherry tomato garnish salads.

  2. Salads that are delicious because they are filled with all kinds of yummie things. Think about the chopped salads, Cobb Salads and the like that so many restaurants are famous for. With these salads the lettuce is reduced to nothing more than a means to an end, a conveyance for toppings.

  3. Salads where the crisp fresh flavors of the lettuce jump out at you. Everything from butter to endive to spinach and through to rocket arugula and radicchio. Think about crisp, fresh picked organic salads with a simple vinaigrette where the flavors are balanced and the bite brightens in the mouth.

One of my favorite writers in food, Jeffery Steingarten, once wrote that any restaurant review is incomplete with out a proper discussion of the bread. The same holds true for the salad. Restaurants can be categorized by the same 3 listings. Guess which ones I like to eat in.

“No matter what the growers and the supermarkets would like you to believe, most harvested fruits do not ripen nearly as well as they would on a tree, vine, or bush, and some don’t ripen at all”

Jeffery Steigarten
from The Man Who Ate Everything

Test this precept for yourself. By a fresh peach, apple, orange, or pear at a farmers market. Then buy the same at your local big box grocer and do a blind taste test. Let me know the result. I bet you get better for cheaper dealing direct with the farmer.


You sound like a passionate vegetarian. I think will enjoy Kesang Renchen’s article Losing a bit of compassion. It is very moving.


Lawn update:

My madcap front yard after mulching to allay the fears of the natives…

“The garden that is finished is dead.”— H. E. Bates

I like them big, I like the small, I like them all
Give me sweet ones with fruit, hot ones with cream
Pour me strong ones, sour ones, bitter ones on the side
I like them, I mean I really like them, I like all kinds of cocktails
Mix them, shake them, bring me one right now
Give me cocktails, lots of cocktails, I ‘d like one with every meal!

Won’t you share you’re favorite cocktail with me.

Once again the New York Times has missed the message in their attempt to sensationalize a story. In the September 23 article Don’t Even Think of Touching That Cupcake by Sarah Kershaw, the writer focuses on inciting the cultural wars by highlghting the political correctness in baning cupcakes from classroom birthday parties. She pays only scant attention to the real problem which is the rapidly rising rate of child obesity in the United States. The NCHS (National Center for Health Statistics) reports from a study between 1999-2002 16 percent of children and adolescents ages 6-19 years are overweight.” This is represents a a whopping 45% increase over a similar study from 1988-1994.

Cupcakes are not the problem, they are merely a minor symptom of a much larger problem. As a nation we are not eating well and our children our suffering from our addiction to convenience foods. That does not bode well for our future and that’s the story.

The other day I was working on a chicken soup recipe using a clay pot from Chinatown. When I went to move the pot from the stove the bottom broke off spilling boiling water across my legs and feet. Fortunately my burns were only first degree and will heal. But that’s the last time I use a clay pot to make soup. If you have a similar pot I suggest you use it with care. It looks great and some believe that soup tastes better when it does not touch metal, but I now believe that chicken soup is supposed to heal not harm and the risk is not worth the benefit. I think about my daughters who were thankfully not in the kitchen. It was bad enough I had to rush to the emergency room in agony. It would have killed me if we had to take them too.