Recipes for Uncategorized

What We Talked About When We Talked About Food in 1991

November 4, 2017

Going through old files, I came upon this speech I wrote in 1991 when I was the food editor of the Los Angeles Times.  I’m not even sure where I gave the speech – it was obviously at some sort of conference – but from the vantage point of twenty-five years, it’s an interesting artifact.

Seems like such a long time ago. Looking at the paper it’s printed on  – we didn’t use Xerox in those days, but a machine that printed on sprocketed sheets – reminds me that we were still going down to the composing room every day just before the paper went to press. If you had to cut a few lines you took a knife and cut it to fit, then repasted with rubber cement.

In those days the food section of the Los Angeles Times was huge – 2 full sections, often running to sixty or more pages.  It was all about advertising, of course; supermarkets were still printing coupons.  But looking at these numbers – the section brought in $34 million! – is a stark reminder of how much things have changed.

So, as you will see, has the audience.




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Two Meals for Great Causes

October 29, 2017

Been traveling a lot lately….

Last week I was in Los Angeles, to give Nancy Silverton an award for all the work she does for children.  The party, at the rather astonishing Greenacres, former home of Harold Lloyd, was a dazzling evening of great food and wonderful people, a fund raiser for No Kid Hungry  that raised a serious lot of money. Here’s the menu:

This week it was off to DC, to honor Danny Meyer at the Julia Child Awards at The Smithsonian. Another fantastic evening of great people and delicious food. –

The Smithsonian followed the Gala with a weekend of programming, and I have to say that the roundtables were both illuminating and utterly fascinating.  Here’s the schedule.  I was so impressed by the people on the panels that I’m buying virtually ALL of their books.

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Pink Eggs for a Hot Day

June 12, 2017


Before you begin, steaming is the best way to hard-boil new-laid eggs.  Directions are here.

Pink Deviled Eggs

6 eggs, hard-boiled and shelled

1 jar pickled beet juice, or if you can’t find it pickled, you can use a bottle of plain beet juice, enough to cover the eggs.

1 teaspoon mustard

¼ cup mayonnaise

¼ teaspoon sea salt

a few grinds of freshly ground pepper

2 teaspoons Sriracha sauce

fresh herbs

1.  Put the eggs into a pot of cold water and bring to a boil.

2.  After boiling for 30 seconds, remove the pot from the stove and let the eggs sit for 15 minutes in the hot water.

3.  Run the eggs under cold water and carefully peel the shells.

4.  Arrange the eggs in a bowl just large enough to accommodate them and pour in enough beet juice to cover. If there is not enough juice, add a little water.

5.  Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 18 hours.

6.   Cut the eggs in half lengthwise and scoop out the yolk.

7.  Combine the yolk with mayonnaise, salt, pepper, and Sriracha sauce.

8.  Fill the eggs with about 1 teaspoon each of the yolk mixture.

9.  Top with fresh dill or pea shoot leaves (or a triangle of sweet pickle, a bit of red chile……)

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Tonight’s Talk….

June 6, 2017

The Association for Psychoanalytic Medicine

the collaborating society of the 

Columbia University Center for Psychoanalytic Training and Research


Tuesday, June 6, 2017 at 8:00 p.m. 

New York Academy of Medicine, 2 East 103rd Street at Fifth Avenue

Open to all • No advanced registration required


Orality Revisited: 

A Gustatory Journey with Chef, Food Critic, and Memoirist Ruth Reichl

in conversation with Dr. Susan Scheftel 


Chef and food writer Ruth Reichl’s acclaimed memoirs touch on her relationship with her brilliant, ambitious mother, a woman limited by both bipolar illness and pressure to conform with societal ideals of feminine domesticity.  Raised in Greenwich Village, the young Ruth ventured through communes in Berkeley and the sexism of the restaurant world to become food critic for the New York Times, editor-in-chief of Gourmet magazine, and winner of four James Beard awards.  Her works in include Tender at the Bone: Growing Up at the TableGarlic and Sapphires: The Secret Life of a Critic in Disguise, and My Kitchen Year: 136 Recipes That Saved My Life.  In her later memoir (Not Becoming My Mother, renamed For You, Mom. Finally!) Reichl delves into a trove of her mother’s letters and diaries to poignantly reconsider this complex woman from the vantage point of experience and maturity.


Join us as Columbia University psychoanalyst Susan Scheftel, Ph.D. explores such themes as the role of food in Reichl’s relationship with her mother, the sublimatory power of cooking and writing, and Reichl’s overdetermined and serendipitous career.



Questions about the program can be addressed to:

Hillery Bosworth, MD

Chair, Program Committee

80 Fifth Avenue #1001

New York, New York 10011

(212) 604-9355

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The Original Mapo Tofu

April 5, 2017


I’ve never had the pleasure of encountering this incredible multi-volume Chinese Food Encyclopedia until today. And after I did, after I’d looked through the whole Sichuan volume page-by-page, I had no option but to walk outside, head a few blocks south, and into the first decent Chinese restaurant I encountered. What did I order when I got there? Mapo tofu and rice, of course. Here’s the dish from Grandma Cheng’s, in 1984: 

Though the whole encyclopedia was printed in Japan, this volume was written entirely by Sichuan writers. Each of the recipes comes from one of the best restaurants inthe province. This is Grandma Cheng’s, the institution credited for popularizing the dish:

And here’s the charming recipe: 

The factory where all of their tofu is made:

And the most astonishing knife skills I’ve seen in some time: 

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