Entries Tagged as 'Uncategorized'
What I resolve to do more of in 2013: Read fiction; pickle new stuff (jalapeno eggs, here I come); eat a proper breakfast – or least one that does not consist what is left of Phoebe’s everything bagel with cream cheese; generally make more of an effort to take a moment and appreciate what I have and not be so quick to complain about the dread of this or the nightmare of that, which is usually neither dreadful nor nightmarish; see Monsters University (“I love college”); get a Vitmax blender (see above re: healthy breakfast); deploy the phrase “the information superhighway” in conversation; sleep.
What I resolve to do less of: Edit in bed; be unfun, i.e., get all grumpy with the kids when they a) leave the house dressed like Tanner from Bad News Bears b) roll their new clothes into balls before inserting them into their drawers c) respond when challenged on something that is demonstrably false by saying “you can’t judge my opinion, Dad;” eat five Trader Joe’s fruit jellies every night after eating five handfuls of Trader Joe’s dark-chocolate-with-sea-salt almonds every night; resent things, to no good end; stare catatonically into my phone when the kids are around.
What I resolve not to say to my spouse: “Three-quarters of a pound of chicken for four of us?” And: “Wow, you looked so young back then!”
What I resolve not to say to my children: “Did you brush your teeth yet did you tie your shoes did you put your lunch in your backpack did you put your clothes away did you walk the dog did you put your green jersey in your soccer bag do you remember where you put your gloves the ones we just bought you?” And: “What do you want for your lunch tomorrow?” (Because 2013 is the year I’M GOING TO TEACH THEM TO MAKE THEIR OWN LUNCHES, SO HELP ME.)
What I resolve to eat less of: Raw spinach; the leftover frozen pizza on the kids’ plates; coconut M&Ms, which I really enjoy despite the fact that they taste an awful lot like Hawaiian tropic deep tanning oil; gratuitous pork (i.e. the “just a little bit of bacon” we seem to put in everything).
What I resolve to eat more of: Barley salads; cold, crunchy slaws (Asian red cabbage slaw, apple and fennel slaw with sunflower seeds, etc.); the four giant packages of Benton’s country ham that Jenny bought me for Christmas; gin.
What I resolve to learn how to cook: The seared bluefin tuna with grated radish and ponzu sauce that I ordered recently at Sushi Zen on 44th Street; a real Carbonara sauce that doesn’t taste like a Salmonella Special; a chutney, because I like a chutney, damn it.
What non-required reading I resolve to attend to: Dead Souls, by Gogol; Wild, by Cheryl Strayed; The Signal and the Noise, by Nate Silver; Life After Life, by Kate Atkinson, which is not out yet but which I hear is awesome; Jenny’s new book proposal.
What I resolve to convince my spouse to read: Orphan Master’s Son by Adam Johnson.
Restaurant I want to try: Mission Chinese.
Restaurant I want to return to: Woody’s All-Natural in Cornwall, NY, for the cheddar burger and the hand-cut fries with malt vinegar and the Mr. Pibb; Husk in Charleston, SC, for the ribs with mustard glaze and peanuts; ABC Kitchen in New York City, for literally everything on the menu; Jane in San Francisco, for the coffee and granola; Waffle House in Lumberton, NC, for the egg and cheese biscuit.
I resolve to finally try: To figure out a way – possibly even using some of those power tools that are in our basement, still in their box — to cover the wall behind Abby’s bed with corkboard. For real this time, I swear; to brine a bird; to run a marathon.
I resolve to teach my kids: That the Jets play football and the Yankees play baseball, and that backseats of cars, unlike ovens, are not self-cleaning; to body-surf; that it’s not okay to ask for “a glass of water on the rocks.”
I resolve to spend less money on: Data plans for devices I’m not even sure we have anymore; bourbon; the enrichment of Jeff Bezos.
I resolve to get Zen about: The hoodie and leggings situation. By which I mean, the fact that both daughters now refuse to leave the house in anything other than hoodies and leggings with holes in the knee. Makes me long for the Princess days. [Deeeeep breath.]
What I resolve to accomplish professionally: Have George Saunders recognized as one of America’s Greatest Living Writers. (Oh wait, that just happened!); stay employed; get home in time for dinner.
What I resolve to do in 2013: Have more confidence when using miso; Learn to cook vegetarian entrees that can be described as “enticing”; Make more green juices (related: somehow acquire Huron juicer that I didn’t get for Christmas in spite of heavy hint-dropping); Be a better friend, not get annoyed so easily, start mother-daughter book club, sign up for yoga, master fondant, teach self how to knit or make jam or some hobby that requires patience, sitting still, taking in the moment.
What I resolve to do less of in 2013: Sitting still and not being so lazy — must finish d@#m book proposal already!; think of retweeting Andy as a “romantic gesture;” mindless, time-sucking twitter and facebook trolling; repeating myself; texting instead of calling friends for check-in; shoveling handfuls of Abby’s cinnamon crunch cereal into mouth and justifying action by saying to self “at least it’s organic.”
What I resolve to not say to my spouse: “Are you running in the morning?” (Passive-aggressive married person code for: Are you going to wake me up and rob me of 45 minutes of weekday sleep-in time again?); “Huh. Couldn’t break the 7-minute mile this time?”
What I resolve not to say to my children: “Are you done with those fries?”
What I resolve to eat less of: French fries
What I resolve to eat more of: Water
What I resolve to learn how to cook: Bright, colorful blender sauces; large hunks of meat to perfect doneness; firm yet fluffy barley; a proper lasagna with homemade noodles and béchamel; that crazy-ass Nigella roast chicken with brandy and bacon; authentic Pad Thai; a new go-to showstopper for entertaining (suggestions welcome); brandade.
What non-required reading I resolve to tackle: IQ84, Wild, Wonder, Tenth of December, and The Hobbit, which is currently Phoebe’s favorite book and which I’d earn major Fun Mom points for discussing with her.
Restaurant I want to try: At least one of the following I’ve yet to check off the Life List: Masa, Lantern, Blackberry Farm, Lucques, Alinea, Noma, Chez Panisse, In-n-Out
Restaurant I want to return to: That seafood shack with the lobster rolls in Block Island right off the Ferry to the left; Prune, if only for the peas with horseradish and honey; Woody’s All-Natural in Cornwall, NY; Husk in Charleston; The plastic picnic table on Maenam Beach in Koh Samui, Thailand where we ate Pad Thai the way it’s supposed to be eaten (I can’t be too precise about the preparation, but I will say that having your toes in the sand ups the authenticity factor tremendously); Joe’s Café in Northampton, Mass with my girls; Oyster Bar counter in Grand Central with my Dad.
I resolve to finally try: Carrying a purse, moisturizing, administering eye make-up and “everyday” lipstick, scheduling regular haircuts instead of waiting until situation has reached dire status, and generally trying to do things that most grown women have been doing since they were 16; pay attention to poundage of meat at the butcher so we don’t end up with one silver dollar-size chicken thigh per diner.
I resolve to teach my kids: To cook one full dinner from start to finish all by themselves; topspin backhands
I resolve to spend less money on: Fancy BPA-free water bottles that I am convinced every time will get me to drink more water. (Ditto the ginger extract and Echinacea that I spent a week eye-dropping into the fancy bottle.)
I resolve to get Zen about: The hoodie and leggings situation.
What I resolve to accomplish professionally: Write another book; create a DALS App; Fill out the rest of that post that has been sitting in my queue for two years titled “One-Sentence Recipes;” Learn how to use more than the “food” setting on my camera (or at least figure out how to make the background of my food shots all blurry and cool looking); Get home in time for dinner.
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Tags:new year's resolutions
Another year, another 200 posts! As we head into 2013, we thought we’d leave you with a round-up of some of our favorites from 2012. Some of these we picked for the recipes, some for the stories — but most we picked for both. Good luck, eat well, and happy holidays.
Jenny’s Most Favorite Post by Andy: Chicken and Barley Soup
Andy’s Most Favorite Post by Jenny: Bringing Home the Bread
Most DALSian recipe that didn’t come from DALS: Korean Short Ribs
Most Viral DALS recipe on Pinterest: Chicken Parm Meatballs
Best Salad That’s Not Another Boring Salad
Easiest Pasta: Spaghetti with Pecorino and Vegetables
Best Starter Kit Recipe, which I’m guessing would work just as well with apples as berries: Emily’s Cobbler
Most Shameless Piece of Self-Promotion that I didn’t write Myself: What Jenny Won’t Tell You About Her Book
My Most Favorite Book Chapter: Andy: My Drill Sergeant of Leisure
Best Dinner Pep Talk Post: Eating Chicken, Solving Problems
The Most Perfect Starter Plate
Best Skillet Dinner: Chicken with Artichokes and Tomatoes
Nearest and Dearest to My Heart: Summer of Self-Sufficiency
Funniest: Figuring It Out As We Go Along
Best Childrens’ Book Post: William Steig Round-up
Dish Most Likely to Show Up on Your New Year’s Resolution Table: Redemption Salad
Most Popular Weeknight Dinner: Salmon with Brussels Sprouts
Most Popular Recipe for First-Time Entertainers: Marcella’s Bolognese
Most Practical: How to Shop for the Week
Best Guest Post that Had Nothing to Do with Food: How to Nurture Talent
I Just Really Like this One: Not My Thing
Biggest Tearjerker: Sense Memories
The winner of the free copy of Dinner: A Love Story is Jamie. Thanks for playing and see you in 2013!
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I don’t know about you, but this is the time when I suddenly look at the calendar, and then at the list of things I’ve bought for family and friends so far, and then at the list of things I still have to buy, and think, “Rut-roh.” How’s it all gonna get done? And how did I let this happen? In an effort to help make things a little easier, I thought I’d offer up a few suggestions for last-minute gifts here. Satisfaction guaranteed! – Andy
For the teacher who is dedicating him/herself, day in and day out, to the betterment of your child: Dinner: A Love Story.
For the patient cello teacher who — in just three months — has already made your life, and your ear drums, so much happier: Dinner: A Love Story.
For the soccer coach who not only volunteers her time three times a week to guru your kid, but also — true miracle — teaches her what off-sides means: Dinner: A Love Story.
For the mother-in-law who you love dearly but who could also use a little help in the expansion of repertoire department: Dinner: A Love Story.
For the 23-year-old niece, who was weaned on The Food Network and can tell her rutabaga from her kohlrabi: Dinner: A Love Story.
For the 23-year-old nephew, who still claims to hate tomatoes, prompting you to remind him — a 23 year old, grown-ass man — that pizza sauce CONTAINS TOMATOES: Dinner: A Love Story.
For the newlyweds, who want to learn how to make breaded pork chops together: Dinner: A Love Story.
For the lover of long walks, double rainbows, and three-alarm chili: Dinner: A Love Story.
For the guy who doesn’t know what else to get his girlfriend: Dinner: A Love Story.
For the wife, who is an amazing, loving mother and who works full-time and has recently begun talking about starting her own food blog: Dinner: A Love Story.
For the husband, who’s man enough to own a book called Dinner: A Love Story and who would appreciate knowing how to make a proper Manhattan: Dinner: A Love Story.
For the clueless bachelor guy, who should know better by now: Dinner: A Love Story.
For the new mom, who will relate to the chapter on new motherhood and then feel empowered and then just go off and make the Lazy Bolognese, only to be empowered further: Dinner: A Love Story.
For the desperate parents of picky eaters, who are secretly googling “can you survive on pasta alone” after the kids go to bed: Dinner: A Love Story.
For the holiday party host, who would appreciate how much cooler a present this book is when compared to another bottle of Yellow Tail Shiraz in a velvet bag: Dinner: A Love Story.
For the dog lovers, who whose faces will melt upon seeing the picture on page 51: Dinner: A Love Story.
For the person who has twenty bucks positively burning a hole in her pocket: Dinner: A Love Story.
For the Powerball winner who is looking to fill some shelf space in the new, 53-room mansion she just bought: 20 copies of Dinner: A Love Story.
For the committed Buddhist who, while not needing much in the way of material possessions, could still use a copy of this book, for real: Dinner: A Love Story.
For the new homeowner who’s definitely not a Buddhist and is looking for an excuse to fire up her huge, practically virgin, seventeen burner Viking: Dinner: A Love Story.
For the lover of fine food photography: Dinner: A Love Story.
For the cookbook collector: Dinner: A Love Story.
For the principled supporter of the book industry, who holds a special place in our hearts: Dinner: A Love Story.
For the outdoorsman: Dinner: A Love Story.
For the indoorsman: Dinner: A Love Story.
For the ombudsman: Dinner: A Love Story.
For the person who has resolved to stop stuffing face with jalapeno poppers when drunk: Dinner: A Love Story.
For the amateur sleuth: Dinner: A Love Story.
For the tool-and-die man, whatever that is: Dinner: A Love Story.
For the person who, as our 9-year-old just said, “draws pictures of turtles eating tomatoes”: Dinner: A Love Story.
For the person who reads the following sentence — “This book is for anyone interested in learning how to execute a meal to be shared with someone they love and discovering how so many good, happy things can trickle down from doing so” — and thinks, Dang, dogg, that hits me right where I live: Dinner: A Love Story.
For the thoughtful gift-giver who wants to buy a book and then have the author — like, I don’t know, Jenny Rosenstrach — sign a bookplate for said book and then give it to a good friend or relative and say, “Look, I got you a signed book for Christmas!”: Dinner: A Love Story. (Email her TODAY jenny AT dinneralovestory DOT com with subject line “Bookplate Request”; after 12/20, she can’t guarantee they’ll be sent in time for Christmas.)
For our slightly less ridiculous Gift Guide, click here.
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Tags:jenny rosenstrach·jenny rosenstrach book
Like Santa Claus, my mom never shows up empty-handed. When she visits, the kids gather at the door, waiting to see how lucky they’ll be this time. Will it be the new Lemony Snicket book? That turtleneck Abby had circled — hint, hint — in the Land’s End catalog a few months ago? A pair of earrings for Phoebe’s recently pierced ears? If a grandmother’s job is to shower love and affection (and presents), my mom is in the running for Awesomest Grandmother of All Time. She also brings things for me, however. Not presents, exactly. Things she has saved. Things that have lived in the boxes that sit in her
compulsively incredibly well-curated basement for thirty years — her version of what Jenny and I call “the treasure chest,” the stuff from your life that you can’t bear to picture in a landfill somewhere — which she is now parceling out, bit by bit. Little dolls from her childhood, my old soccer jacket with all the patches sewn on the back, the mimeographed newspaper from my elementary school containing a story I wrote, in second grade, about Arbor Day, the light blue cable-knit outfit I wore on my first birthday, photos of my eighth grade dinner dance (I wore my dad’s tie and WHITE PLEATED PANTS), my old Looney Tunes T-shirt with Tweety Bird on the back and “Rent-a-Kid-Cheap” on the front, an old Wilson A2000 baseball mitt, my freshman course guide and assorted college detritus, and once, I crap you not, an Easter bonnet I made in pre-school out of a paper plate, some plastic flowers, and a light blue ribbon. (Me: “Mom, come on, what am I going to do with this thing?” Mom, actually attempting to tie the bonnet on my head while simultaneously applying the guilt: “But you… made it.”)
As you see, there are upsides and downsides to her role as family archivist.
Not too long ago, though, she showed up at our door carrying an old cardboard box, and when I say “old,” I don’t mean, like, six months old. I don’t even mean thirty years old. I mean, the cardboard on this box had that kind of waxy sheen that truly old cardboard gets, as if it has been holding fried dough and candles for a few thousand years. Stuck to the top of it was a mailing label that had my mom’s maiden name on it, and the mailing address of the house she moved out of more than fifty years ago. And inside, she announced, was a special present for Phoebe. Inside, as Phoebe soon discovered, was my mother’s comic book collection from her childhood, preserved here, as if in amber. Scrooge McDuck, Donald Duck, Mickey Mouse, Bugs Bunny, Kit Carson, Hiawatha, all in various states of parchmenty disrepair, motes of dust rising from the box, the pages literally falling apart as Phoebe turned them. Our oldest daughter is a well-documented comic book enthusiast, but man, I haven’t seen her sucked in so completely, so deeply in a long time. (“Sometimes when I’m reading them, I imagine that I’m grandma, sitting in her room when she was little,” is how she put it.) She spent a couple weeks reading and rereading them, and I joined in, too. The slightly fuzzy, saturated colors of that old ink are so satisfying and the writing — and yes, I realize I am talking about Donald Duck comic books here — is kind of amazing. Scrooge McDuck: Wait, that guy is a metaphor! There’s stuff going on here! These comics are saying something!
Given that they were written in the 40s and 50s, they occasionally veer into uncomfortable, not-very-sensitive cultural observations, but as with TinTin, you can turn that to your advantage. Think of it as an opportunity to talk about how dumb we used to be and how much we have learned and how times have changed, mostly, and for the better. Phoebe loved them so much, we secured another, more pristine shipment, each copy wrapped in plastic, and she currently keeps them all under her bed, stacked nearly in that old cardboard box. Sometimes I’ll be upstairs, on a quiet weekend afternoon, and I’ll peek in and see her there, laying on her floor, propped up on her elbows, reading them. Get to the end, put it back neatly, reach in and pick up the next one. The good news is, you don’t need to have a gift-dispensing mom who doubles as an obsessive family archivist to give this stuff a shot; old comics are practically what ebay was made for. They’re not hard to find — but even if they were, they’d be worth it. – Andy
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Sick of hearing about my family? How ’bout you tell me a little about yours? Share your favorite food-and-family-related photograph on the Dinner: A Love Story facebook page, tell me a little about what I see, and be eligible to win a DALS Holiday Prize Pack, which includes a Bodum Hand-Mixer, a $50 gift certificate to Williams-Sonoma, and a signed copy of my book. You only have until Wednesday, December 12 to enter, so do it soon! Not interested in submitting? Check out the gallery of photos anyway and vote for your favorite. I’ll choose a winner from the top five vote-getters.
Thanks to our first group of entrants above — submitted by by Phyllis, Emily, and Nina. Reminder: The entry can be any subject relating to food and family. Not just kids in the kitchen! So if you have a vintage shot of your mom serving Hamburger Helper in 1982 or a favorite photo of you and your spouse celebrating your first holiday together as newlyweds, or a particularly funny moment in the kitchen (think Woody Allen/Lobsters!), or just a beautiful picture of your family’s recipe for potato latkes! — those all count too. I know it’s probably a little intimidating when the competition is as adorable as it is above, but I want the full range!
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As excited as I was by the arrival of my Smitten Kitchen Cookbook, I immediately handed it over to Abby. “Pick what looks good,” I told her. The book was written by Deb Perelman, grande dame of food bloggers, Olympian baker, DALS honorary guest, and shutterbug extraordinaire. This last part of her bio was crucial for me. If I’ve learned anything from this whole cooking-for-kids thing, it’s that the easiest way to convince someone under four feet tall that something is delicious is to show them a photograph of that something looking delicious. And when there are pages and pages of photographs showing things like Tomato Shortcakes with Whipped Goat Cheese and Balsamic and Beer-braised Short Ribs with Parsnip Puree and Apple Cider Caramels? Well, I know I’ve hit the jackpot. Almost an hour after giving Abby the book — an hour filled with ohmygodMOMs and wows – she handed it back to me the way you see above. It shouldn’t have come as too much of a surprise that the pages she tagged were Gooey Cinnamon Squares and Chocolate Raspberry Rugelach and Peach Dumplings With Bourbon and Hard Sauce and Deepest Dish Apple Pie. Perelman’s famous for her baked goods, each one of which just feels definitive — either the only one you’ll ever need or the only one that actually exists in the world (Buttered Popcorn Cookies!). Her recipes are not always easy, but they deliver in a big showstopping way, which is why she’s my go-to for holiday entertaining. As she says in the introduction, ”I don’t really care if a meal is going to take more than thirty minutes to cook or if I’ll have to chop three different vegetables. All I need to know is that a soup that may take a little longer and may be a little more involved will actually taste better than what I’m used to.”
Of all recipes tagged with Abby’s post-its, naturally, I honed in on what looks the most manageable for a weeknight dinner. It’s pork, it’s apples, and you know it’s going to be good. Deb was nice enough to let us run it below.
PS: I’m giving away one free copy of The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook to a commenter selected at random. Winner announced Thursday morning (and must live in the 48 contiguous states). Good luck!
Update: Megan (#26) is the lucky winner. Thanks everyone and look out for some more giveaways as we head into the holidays.
Pork Chops with Cider, Horseradish, and Dill
From The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook, by Deb Perelman
Serves 2 to 4
1/2 cup (120 ml) cider vinegar
1/2 cup (120 ml) hard or pressed apple cider
2 tablespoons (30 grams) freshly grated horseradish
1/2 teaspoon salt
pinch of cayenne pepper
4 bone-in loin pork chops, 1/2 inch thick (1 1/2 pounds/680 grams total), room temperature
salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon chopped fresh dill
Whisk the glaze ingredients together in a small dish, and set aside.
Trim any excess fat around chops until it is but a thin ribbon, no more than 1/8 inch thick. Pat chops dry with a paper towel, and generously season with salt and pepper. Heat oil in a heavy 12-inch skillet over medium-high heat until the oil starts to smoke. Add the pork chops to the skillet, and cook them until they are well browned, about 3 minutes. Turn the chops, and cook 1 minute longer; then transfer chops to a plate and pour off any fat in skillet.
Pour glaze mixture into the emptied skillet. Bring it to a simmer, and cook until mixture thickens enough so your spatula leaves a trail when scraped across the pan, about 2 to 4 minutes. Return the chops and any accumulated juices from their plate to skillet; turn to coat both sides with glaze. Cook them over medium heat in the glaze until the center of the chops registers 140°F on an instant-read thermometer, about 5 minutes. Adjust seasonings to taste. Transfer the chops to a serving platter and pour the glaze from the pan over them. Sprinkle with dill, and eat immediately. (more…)
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Tags:deb perelman·pork chops with dill horseradish·smitten kitchen·smitten kitchen cookbook
Imagine your average everyday office cubicle space. But instead of an inbox, you have a 4-burner gas range and a 2-compartment sink. And instead of a cup of ballpoints, you have a crock filled with wooden spoons. And instead of bearing down on P&L statements from 9 to 5, it is your job to make sure the Rib-Eye Roast recipe that landed on your desk this morning (plus up to five more dishes that day, and twenty each week) tastes about as good as any Rib-Eye Roast recipe that has ever existed. This is the life of a staffer in the Bon Appetit test kitchen. As a contributor to BA, I am lucky enough to have access to them, which comes in very handy when I’m in the office working on a story, but even more so when I’m home in my own kitchen only an email away from figuring out why my barley is turning out gummy (“Never skip the rinsing!”), or what I should do with fish sauce (“Use it like soy sauce”) or what to add to my chicken meatballs to make them taste flavorful (“Beef!”) If I could just move in with them, I think I would.
This is all a long way of saying, I don’t think I’ve ever had as much fun working on a story as I had working on The BA Seal of Approval, which is an award the magazine is giving to products that the test kitchen stocks on their shelves because they rely on them day in and day out to make the flakiest pie crusts, the butteriest shortbread, the tomatoey-est marinaras the smokiest Sunday bacon. I got to sit down with each staffer — Mary-Frances, Alison, Chris, Brad, Allie, Janet — and download why they loved these ingredients so much. You can pick up the issue on the newsstand for more details, but let me just say, they know from whence they speak.
When the award for Best Product in Category wasn’t such a no-brainer, there were throwdowns (who knew people felt so strongly about frozen peas?) and so the staff went round after round to taste all the competitors side by side to see which brand tasted freshest, offered the most bang for the buck, and was most deserving of the Bon Appetit Seal of Approval. The result? This list of 50 Products We Can’t Live Without and I’m dying to hear what you guys think of the picks. The eight you see here are a sneak peak, but there are 42 more that we guarantee will upgrade every aspect of your everyday cooking life.
There’s an entire section devoted to The Baking Arsenal (shown here, Scharffen Berger Chocolate and Cocoa; King Arthur All-Purpose Flour), just in time for yule logs and Chanukah doughnuts, and this brownie recipe, which yielded maybe the best batch I’ve ever eaten. The woman who developed the recipe is Alison Roman, below. I’m on the left.
Product photos by Tom Schierlitz; bottom photo by Matt Duckor.
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Tags:bon appetit seal of approval
Given that I woke up yesterday at 3am worrying about how early I need to leave work on the day before Thanksgiving to make sure I get my pumpkin pie made in time for a seamless departure the next morning, now seems like the perfect time for the last installment of our series featuring Sam Sifton and his new book, Thanksgiving. As we head into the final weekend before the feast, we asked him for advice on planning ahead — more specifically, we asked him what three things he takes care of in advance to make the big day a little less stressful. In his (elegant, reassuring) words:
Make Cranberry Sauce.
I do this on the weekend in front of Thanksgiving, usually on Saturday night, as a way to say to myself: This thing is starting now. I dump a bag of berries into a pot with some sugar and orange juice. I get that cooking and wait for the berries to start to pop and bubble. It’s the culinary equivalent of priming a pump. It gets me started. As the sauce cooks, I sit in the kitchen and make lists I should have made days and days before. I make lists of dishes, ingredients, guests, needs, wants and, crucially, jobs. By the time the sauce is done — and that, by the way, is when a goodly portion of the berries have popped and released the pectin that binds the dish together — I have a pretty good idea of what I need to get done in the next couple of days. I dump the sauce into a serving bowl, let it cool off and put it in the fridge under some aluminum foil. There’s that job, DONE. I cross cranberry sauce off my list.
Try a Brine.
Too many people come to the idea that they’re going to brine their turkey on Wednesday morning (even Thursday morning!) and that is a little late in the game. Better to make the brine on Monday night, tip the bird into it when it’s good and cool, and then remove it on Wednesday morning so you can dry it, first with paper towel and then in the cool air of the refrigerator. That way, when you do cook it on Thursday the skin of the bird is really and truly *dry*, important because then the heat of the oven won’t have to evaporate anything before it gets to work tanning and crisping the bird. Science! It’s a Thanksgiving secret weapon.
Make Some Pies.
Or ensure that someone is making them. It’s hard enough dealing with all the stress of cooking the savory side of the meal on Thursday when you’re also trying to bake sweets. That’s why pastry chefs get to work at three in the morning. The kitchen isn’t as hot as it is when the line cooks are in there, and the butter and lard in their dough doesn’t melt until it should. Make pies on Tuesday night. Make them on Wednesday. They’ll be better for your thinking ahead, and you’ll have more things crossed off your list on Thursday morning besides.
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Tags:thanksgiving sam sfiton
In other news, I’m so freaking psyched to announce that GoodReads, the ever-reliable social network for book lovers has nominated Dinner: A Love Story for a 2012 GoodReads Choice Award in the Food and Cooking category (and it’s in excellent company with books by Alana and Luisa). I’m a big fan of this one because there are no politics involved — the winners are decided by readers (you guys!) — which makes it all the more meaningful. If you have a sec to vote, make sure you check out the rest of the categories, too. There are many, many solid recommendations for what to read and what to give this holiday season.
As always, thanks for the support.
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It’s hard to believe that less than 48 hours ago I was in Santa Monica wondering if I’d ever be able to recognize a cloud again. I’ll report on that trip later in the week, but for now, we’re hunkering down, queuing up the first season of Homeland (finally!) loading up on our peanut butter and bread (I wasn’t as smart as some of you guys from facebook who loaded up on Short Ribs), and prepping for Hurricane Sandy with this song on repeat in my brain. Stay safe Mid-Atlantic friends — back atcha in a few days.
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I was talking to another mom on the soccer sidelines last week, and when she got wind of my book and blog, she asked what everyone asks: What’s for dinner tonight? I wasn’t going to walk in the door that night until almost 7:00 so I had planned my come-together-fast Fettucini with Pre-Shredded Brussels Sprouts. I told her that, and then she told me she was going vegetarian also with “a big fresh salad.” She then added, “Remember how our mothers used to think about dinner? A protein, a vegetable, and a starch?” Ha ha ha ha ha! I can’t remember exactly what she said next but it was something like this “Remember how charming and silly that was?”
If I’m making her out to be an ogre, I’m sorry, that is absolutely not the case — the woman is a saint — it’s only that I was kind of embarrassed. Apparently, the person who’s supposedly in love with dinner (me) is still thinking about dinner the way our mothers do. I mean, we’re big on Meatless Mondays in my house, and for a while there during the Atkins craze we made a big effort to replace the starch with a second vegetable. But for the most part, I have to say, the meat-starch-veg template is my default mode. When I’m thinking up dinner ideas, the plate is still a puzzle with three fill-in-the-blank pieces.
I will say, however, that I’ve updated that three-piece model a tiny bit with what I call my Two-for-One strategy. This means I try whenever possible to make a single dish that combines two food groups so I don’t feel like I’m making three separate dishes. For whatever self-delusional reason, it feels like less work and it makes dinner come together faster. Here are some of my favorites:
White Beans with Onions and Spinach (Protein + Veg, shown above)
Saute a halved garlic clove in a few glugs of olive oil to a skillet. Let it infuse the oil for a minute, then remove. Add 2 tablespoons chopped onions (or shallots or scallions), a shake of red pepper flakes, and cook until soft, about 2 minutes. Add one can of rinsed and drained white beans (such as Great Northerns or Cannellini), stir. Add a handful of frozen spinach (it’s best if it’s thaws, but works fine if it’s not). Add salt and pepper, and stir. Serve with grated Parm. (more…)
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Universal law of childhood eating, #217: Kids like to dip stuff in stuff. At least, our kids do. They dip roasted potatoes in ketchup. They dip baby carrots in ginger dressing. They dip sausages in yellow mustard, cookies in milk, and breaded chicken in ketchup. They dip salmon in Soyaki, grape tomatoes in ketchup (not sh*tting you!), burritos in salsa, apples in Nutella, bacon strips in maple syrup, Hershey’s kisses in peanut butter, ketchup in ketchup in ketchup in ketchup. I’m not sure what evolutionary quirk is playing out here re: the dipping impulse, but as long as the food goes down, it is all good in the hood, right? A couple of weeks ago, I added another one to the rotation. It was Sunday night and we had grilled a couple of tuna steaks and I was standing in the kitchen, trying to think of something to help seal the deal with the kids. Tuna is not always easy. What goes well with it? Spicy mayo! So I made one, using Hellmann’s and Sriracha. (About 1 teaspoon Sriracha to every 3 tablespoons mayo.) It had a beautiful, peachy color. It had some serious umami action, without being too spicy. It went over huge. Not only that, I’ve since discovered it’s a pretty versatile tool. It’s not just for dipping, in other words. You can use this on turkey sandwiches, in canned tuna salad, in potato salad, in slaws, and, maybe best of all, with – yeah, you heard me Henry John Heinz – Tater Tots. – Andy
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Tags:dips for kids
What we like this week:
We’re getting to be a broken record on this John Jeremiah Sullivan character, but man, there is some really really nice writing in here about Cuba.
Check out Top Graphic Novels Starring Mighty Girls. Reader Susan recommended this site to us and it’s awesome!
Speaking of books, this is deep nerd territory, but I could look at this stuff forever.
Our Provider’s column this month in Bon Appetit: Why the Kids’ Table is a Good Idea. (Includes yet another ode to Marcella’s Milk-braised pork loin, a family staple.)
Time to start thinking about pre-ordering the awesome new cookbook, Thanksgiving: How to Cook it Well, by Sam Sifton, former restaurant critic/current national editor at The New York Times. 50 essential recipes and festive drinks, plus lots of beautiful illustrations and, best of all, great, evocative writing. (Much more on this later, but if you can’t wait that long, here’s Sifton’s kind of amazing food diary on grubstreet. Your LDL will go up just by reading it.)
This is just a crazily entertaining piece by the great Burkhard Bilger, about the world’s strongest man. (Even if you do not spend your free time watching 400-pound dudes pull trucks with their teeth on cable television, trust me on this!).
For no reason at all, other than it is TOTALLY RADICAL, I had to go back and watch this opening sequence from The Limey, featuring the always badass Terence Stamp. When his face comes into focus? So good.
Finally, it is officially Chili Season, and I made my first batch last weekend.
20 Easy Casseroles I’m feeling the Shepherd’s Pie (above, photo by Penny De Los Santos)
A book by Susan Cain that has made me look at everything differently — my children, myself, even the Presidential debate.
Speaking of the Presidential Debate, I sent my 10-year-old here for the pre-game. (And will again — ahem, Claudia!)
An interview with Mindy Kaling which includes 15 things women like to wear that men just don’t care for — sequins,capris, wedge heels.
There are many books coming out from food bloggers in the next few months, but My Berlin Kitchen, by Luisa Weiss (otherwise known as the The Wednesday Chef) is the one you need to tuck into on a fall weekend while the soup simmers.
I will be at Chevalier’s Books in Los Angeles on October 26 at 3PM. Thank you DALS army for mobilizing to make that happen! I have a few other appearances coming up this fall, too. Please head over to my Events page for details.
Orangette had her baby! When I said that out loud in the car with a little too much glee, Andy said “I want you to think about what you just said.” OK, I’ll rephrase that: Molly Wizenberg, one of the originals, is now a mom, and as usual writes about it beautifully.
My mailbox was filled with all kinds of great things this week, including a poem (thanks Erin!) and a corn fritter recipe (thanks Nadja!) But my favorite note came from John just a few hours ago. This is what it said:
Today my wife and I celebrate our 10-year wedding anniversary. This morning we exchanged presents. Yes, unbeknownst to each other, we both purchased your amazing cookbook Of course, we are keeping both books. We will be away the weekend (sans children) and look forward to laying in bed and reading our own copies. Thank you for elevating an already very special weekend.
I mean, come on! How can it not be a great weekend when you start off on a note like that?
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Hey, I’m headed out to L.A. for a quick visit. Anybody up for a Dinner: A Love Story reading? The date that is wide open right now is Friday, October 26 and I am happy to talk or read at bookstores, school fairs, cafes, parent groups, PTA meetings, coffee shops, breakfasts, lunches, dinners, anything in between, and all of the above. Please shoot me an email jenny AT dinneralovestory DOT com (subject head “LA Event”) with any thoughts. Thanks all.
Update: I will be at Chevalier’s Books in Larchmont Village on October 26 from 3:00 to 5:00. Come say hi — and check out my Events page for other readings and signings this fall. Thanks everyone.
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Part of the joy of working with writers who are smarter and more knowledgable than you is that you learn stuff. They do the research and make sense of the material and then you get to absorb it, process it, and then go to dinner parties and act like you know what you’re talking about. I’ve just finished editing a book about bullying by the amazing journalist and Slate gabfest fixture Emily Bazelon – and, obviously, being the parents of two girls, this is a topic Jenny and I spend time thinking about. Emily’s book – Sticks and Stones, out in February — is about the phenomenon in general, how it works and why it happens and what can be done to alleviate it. One of the words that comes up in the book over and over again is empathy, in that it is a crucial trait for kids to possess – or learn, as the case may be – if we are to make strides in making kids less mean, and more forgiving. Since October is officially “Bullying Prevention Month,” and since our kids, for some reason, have been reading in and around this subject area a lot lately, I thought we’d highilght three books that help instill some empathy and might lead to some fruitful dinner table discussions on the idea of walking a mile in someone else’s shoes — always a good thing to think about. Apart from the subject matter, they also happen to be really excellent books. I now hand the mic to Abby and Phoebe. — Andy
Wonder by R.J. Palacio
What it’s about: ”A boy named August (they call him Auggie) who has a deformity on his face. I know that doesn’t sound nice, but his ears look like tiny fists and his eyes are too low and he has no eyebrows or eyelashes. I don’t know how to explain him. Auggie has been home-schooled until his parents decide that it’s time to send him to a real school, Beecher Prep, and Auggie is resistant at first. He’s afraid. But when his parents tell him that the principal’s name is Mr. Tushman, Auggie laughs and decides to go. The rest of the book is about his year at school and how he manages to survive bullies, ‘the plague’ — which is a mean game, kind of like cooties — and a jerk named Julian.”
The moment that hurts the heart: “When Auggie overhears his friend Jack saying bad things about him. Jack tells Julian that he had pretended to be friends with Auggie, and Auggie didn’t know that. Auggie overhears this and goes on the staircase and just starts crying. He trusted Jack and thought that he didn’t care about how he looked. When you read it, you can feel how sad he must be.”
The lesson it teaches: “Looks can be deceiving.”
Phoebe score: 10. “One of the best books I’ve ever read.”
Out of My Mind by Sharon Draper
What it’s about: “A girl named Melody who has cerebral palsy and is incredibly smart. I think she’s twelve. The thing is, she can’t speak because of the cerebral palsy, and so people misjudge her. A lot. She has one friend, beside her aide, named Rose. Rose believes in her and one day, Melody gets a special computer that allows her to finally communicate. When she types in a word, the computer says it out loud, so it’s like she can talk. This helps her prove that may be different, but she’s not stupid. This book is enough to make people cry.”
The moment that hurts the heart: “Melody’s school has a team of these super smart kids who go to compete against other schools in a trivia game that is on tv. Melody is on this team. One time, the team had to go to Washington to compete and Melody was a little bit late and they left her behind. One student thought that she wasn’t as important as the others. This made her realize again that, no matter what, people would always think of her as different.”
The lesson it teaches: After Phoebe read this book, she sent Sharon Draper an email. This is what it said:
I read Out Of My Mind on Thanksgiving weekend. I think that if everybody had a copy of that book, it would change the world. It completely changed the way I looked at people that have cerebral palsy and autism. Do you know any body with cerebral palsy? Did you write the book to make people look at people with cerebral palsy and autism differently?
That night, Sharon wrote back, and this is what she said:
Thanks so much for your kind letter. I’m so glad you enjoyed Out of my Mind. That book is very special to me. I tried very hard to capture the essence of what it means to be different. Melody is a song to me that will forever sing. Yes, I know lots of people with disabilities, and I hope the book helps people see them as real people.
Phoebe score: 9. “Soooo close to a 10, but not quite as good as Wonder. Still, a great book for people who want to look inside somebody’s mind.”
The Thing About Georgie by Lisa Graff
What it’s about: ”It’s about a boy named Georgie who has something called dwarfism, and what happens in his life. It’s not a book that has a lot of action, but it still makes you want to read on and read on and read on. A lot of the chapters end on cliffhangers and it makes you really think about how different people are in this world. This book is about friendship, too — and how it’s hard for kids like Georgie to find friends because people make fun of him for his height and the way he looks.”
The moment that hurts the heart: ”When you hear about all the times people stare at Georgie and make fun of him just because of how he looks. One time, he’s knocking on a door and a car drives past and the man in the car stares — like, eyes wide open — and I can imagine how hard it would be to deal with that every single day.”
The lesson it teaches: ”Everyone, no matter how they look or how they act, is always the same as you on the inside.”
Abby score: 10. “Ten. Ten!”
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Tags:bullying prevention awareness month·national bullying prevention center·out of my mind sharon draper·the thing about georgie lisa graff·wonder rj palacio
Jenny’s mom is an extremely nice person. She was raised right, is how I think about it: quick with a smile, asks questions about you and compliments you on your mashed potatoes, stops and chats with virtual strangers at the stationery store in town, and most impressive of all, consistently chooses not to say anything if she has nothing nice to say at all. She was elected May Queen in college, for crying out loud — and that doesn’t happen if you’re unkind to people. Which is not to say she is not discerning or without opinions, and strong ones, of her own; it’s just that she’s monk-like in her discipline and is somehow able, when called for, to keep these opinions to herself. She’d rather know how you are than tell you how she’s feeling; seriously, the woman is incapable of complaint.
If you know her, though, and listen carefully, there are ways to determine where she really stands on things. There is a word she uses that seems innocuous, but is, in fact, devastating. It is a hammer wrapped in velvet. When you hear it, you know you’re a goner. Interesting. As in:
When opening the box containing her birthday present, a sweater-dress you sensed was a little risky, fashion-wise, but went ahead and bought for her anyway because, hey, it’s cashmere and how could someone not love a cashmere sweater-dress: “Oh, it’s a sweater. Thank you. What a lovely color.”
But do you like it?
“Well,” folding it neatly back into the box, “it’s…innnteresting.”
After watching you toss a handful of red pepper flakes into the pot that will soon hold the sauce for the pasta: ”What is that you’re adding there?”
Red pepper flakes. Just a few.
After going to see Pulp Fiction, which you’d just seen and had been kind of blown away by and talked about to the point that she finally decided to go see it for herself: “I found the director’s style very…innnteresting.”
Her use of interesting had achieved the level of Family Lore long before I entered the picture. It was, apparently, a cherished Christmas morning ritual, the response to every new bathrobe or attempted slipper upgrade. Say it out loud at any family gathering, even today, and everyone cracks up: it has achieved that kind of shorthand power. Jenny had warned me about it before our first holiday we spent together, telling me to keep an eye on her mom as she unwrapped the latest set of pajamas her dad had picked out at Lord and Taylor, thinking that maybe, somehow, this would be the year when he would succeed, when his gift would not be deemed…innnnteresting.
The first time I encountered it for myself, though, was in 1994, in the kitchen of the brick row house I shared with three roommates in Brooklyn. I was a 22 year-old editorial assistant who wore pleated pants and spent a shameful amount of time watching the Yankees and drinking Heineken. Thinking maybe it was time to act like a grown-up, I invited Jenny and her parents to dine one Saturday night in my grime-encrusted living room as a thank you, I suppose, for being nice to me. Looking back on it now, this must have been the first time I’d ever entertained. I mopped and Dust-Bustered and lit candles, but when it came to planning a meal, my cupboard was pretty bare. I knew what my own mom did in these situations, and I had a shaky grasp on three or four meals, so I decided to approximate a dinner she might have put together at home: I’d start with cheese and some fancy water crackers, maybe a bunch of green grapes. For the main course, I decided to do a chicken barley soup, a salad dressed by Paul Newman, and a loaf of bread from the local Italian bakery. For dessert: rice pudding (with raisins) from The New York Times Cookbook.
We were sitting on the cratered couch, eating the cheese and crackers, when Jenny’s mom asked me what was on the menu.
“Chicken barley soup,” I said.
“Soup for dinner,” she said. “Innnteresting.”
Oooooof, that hurt. And, okay, so she was right. Soup at a dinner party is maybe not the best call, but I was 22 and it was either that or chili, so I went with what seemed the more sophisticated option. Plus, in my defense: the presence of barley raises this, Chunky-style, from a soup to a meal — or, at least that’s what I told myself. I ended up marrying Jenny, of course, so it couldn’t have been that bad. – Andy
Chicken Barley Soup
Few glugs olive oil
1 cup yellow onion, chopped
1 cup carrots, peeled and chopped
1 cup celery, chopped
1/2 cup red bell pepper, chopped
Salt and pepper, to taste
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 bay leaf
4 sprigs thyme
4 cups homemade chicken stock (if you have the book, see page 289) or store-bought chicken broth, plus more as needed
3-4 boneless chicken breasts
1/2 cup uncooked barley
Handful fresh parsley, for serving
In a large stockpot, warm olive oil and red pepper flakes over medium heat for 1-2 minutes. Add the onion, carrots, celery, salt and pepper and cook for 10 to 12 minutes, or until onion is soft. Add the stock, bay leaf, and thyme, and bring to a boil. Add the uncooked chicken and simmer, over medium-low heat, for 15-20 minutes. Remove chicken from pot and, using two forks, shred it. Return chicken back to pot, add barley, and simmer on low, covered, for approximately 20-25 minutes, or until barley is tender but not mushy. Add more stock, if necessary. Serve with parsley and a fat slice of good bread.
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Tags:chicken and barley soup
There’s a certain kind of writer that brings an inordinate amout of joy to an editor’s life. They’re a rare and beautiful species. I call them “total pros,” and they share four essential characteristics: (1) They do the work, by which I mean they go out and perform the (sometimes tedious, sometimes unpleasant) job of reporting, making the calls and reading the studies and boarding the flights and prepping for the interviews and transcribing the tapes; (2) They are able to take all that reporting, digest it, organize it, and then turn that vast swamp of ideas and information into a neatly-tended, clear and thoughtful draft; (3) They then take the editor’s inevitable, annoying notes on that draft, and perform the brutal task of opening that file up again and diving back into their story, pulling it apart and reworking it, turning it into something that is even better than the original, where every sentence is worried-over and cared-for; and (4) They are nice people.
Dan Coyle is a total pro.
Five years ago, Dan started visiting “talent hotbeds” all over the world to do research for a book called The Talent Code, which was published in 2009. He visited a tennis academy in Moscow that was turning out a scary number of Top 20 players, a music school in the Adirondacks where kids were absorbing a year’s worth of lessons in two months, an inner-city charter school whose kids were suddenly making a habit of acing the state tests, and so on. Along the way, and with help from leading neuroscientists and psychologists, Dan produced an inspiring exploration of how talent works, and how it can be nurtured. Now, three years later, he has published an elegant companion guide to that project called The Little Book of Talent. (You know Michael Pollan’s book, Food Rules? Picture that, but instead of telling you how to eat, this is a little workbook that tells you how to get better at stuff.) Inside are 52 simple rules that parents and kids can use to improve their skills in music, sports, art, writing, or school. It’s The Talent Code, distilled. (It has also been sitting on The New York Times bestseller list for the past two weeks, so big ups to Dan, who is undoubtedly spawning a new generation of Yo-Yo Mas and Agassis.) There’s a solid foundation of science and research underlying these rules, but Abby and Phoebe have both read it, and they didn’t have any trouble at all taking it in. We’ve also given it to our kids’ soccer coaches and our music teachers, so beware: you’re up next. Dan was kind enough to take time out of his busy schedule to share a few of those rules with us here. If you have any doubt re. their efficacy, check out this video of Dan putting them into action, which I’ve watched like twenty times. Like I said: a total pro.
PS: Dan has actually published two books in the last two weeks. The other is The Secret Race, which he wrote with Tyler Hamilton and which, if you are at all interested in the sport of cycling, is a must-read. This one has been blowin’ UP on the internets! – Andy
I am not the first to point this out, but let me say it anyway: when it comes to nurturing our kids’ talents, today’s parents today have it tough. Not because we know too little, but because we know too much. Way, way too much.
Nurturing talent used to be a fairly simple process, because it was mostly passive. Parents sat back and waited for the talent to show itself.
Now, parental talent-nurturing is an official industry, like organic food. Soccer, violin, chess, math, art — they all provide us with nicely constructed funnels down which we can pour endless amounts of money and time as we try to help our kids become their best selves. Tiger Mothers and Fathers stalk the landscape, carrying their superstar cubs in their mouths. Science has given us terrifyingly concrete concepts, like Critical Learning Periods, where if your kid doesn’t learn something by age X, the door of opportunity slams shut — forever! Being a parent has gone from feeling like a laid-back observer to feeling like a frantic gardener, racing around, trying to find the best way to help talent grow.
All of which creates a question: what’s the best way to navigate this new world?
I’ve spent the last five years visiting and studying talent hotbeds, and also being the dad of four kids (10-17). So over the last few years my wife Jen and I have done our best to navigate this, and have come up with a simple list of rules that have helped us around your house, a few of which I’d like to share.
Don’t: Praise kids for their abilities.
Do: Praise kids for their efforts.
Why: When you praise kids for their abilities, you diminish their willingness to take risk — after all, we’re status-oriented creatures, and why would anyone who’s been labeled “talented” risk their status?
When you praise kids for their efforts, on the other hand, you increase their willingness to take risk, to fail, and thus to learn. One useful phrase to use in praising kids is to say well done. It conveys appreciation, without calling anybody a genius.
Don’t: Fall for the Prodigy Myth.
Do: Reframe struggle as positive.
Why: Yes, different kids learn at different rates. Yes, some kids take off like rockets; others linger in the belly of the bell curve. The thing to remember: this isn’t a sprint.The majority of prodigies flame out, and the majority of successful people come from the anonymous ranks of average Joes and Josephines.
What helps is to understand that the moments of intense struggle are really the moments when learning happens fastest. Those moments aren’t pretty — it’s when a kid is reaching toward something new and missing — but they’re fantastically productive because it’s when the brain is making and honing new connections. Your job is to find ways to celebrate those moments of struggle.
Don’t: Pay attention to what you kid says
Do: Pay attention to what your kid stares at.
Why: Let’s do this one in the form of a scene, in which a kid returns from first soccer/piano/karate practice.
PARENT: So how was it? How did it go? Did you like your teacher? What did you do?
PARENT: Was it fun? Were you good at it? Do you think you’ll do it next week?
The point is, most kids are reliably inept at expressing their inner feelings. So don’t put pressure on them to express them, because it tends to speedily diminish whatever interest they might’ve felt.
Instead, pay attention to what they stare at. Staring is the most profound act of communication that kids perform. Staring is like a neon sign saying I LOVE THIS. Watch for the stare, and follow where it leads. One of our daughters got interested in violin because we went to a performance of a teenage bluegrass band. She stared. We didn’t say much. We bought her a violin, and took her to a lesson, and she was into it. That was five years ago; she’s still playing.
Don’t: Seek a coach or teacher who’s like a courteous waiter.
Do: Seek coaches and teachers who scare you a little.
Why: It’s easy to confuse pleasure and comfort with actual learning. But truly good coaches and teachers are about challenging you to get to the edge of your abilities, time and time again. Seek out coaches who are authoritative. Who know their stuff, and who take charge. A little scary is good.
Don’t: Celebrate victories.
Do: Celebrate repetition.
Why: Too many kids (and parents) judge their progress by the scoreboard, instead of by the amount they’ve learned. Victories are their own reward. They do not need any extra emphasis.
Celebrating repetition, on the other hand, is not done often enough, because repetition has a bad reputation. We frequently connote it with drudgery. In fact, repetition is awesome. It’s the single most powerful way the brain builds new skill circuits. So make it cool. Doing a hard task ten times in a row is great. Doing it a hundred times in a row is freaking heroic. So treat it that way.
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Tags:daniel coyle·little book of talent daniel coyle·the talent code
From the mailbox:
About a month ago we were having chili for dinner. Our son hates chili. All types. Tomato, white bean chicken, we have battled over it all. I have pushed, he has pursed (his lips tightly). I have threatened (which I know is not the way to promote healthy attitudes toward food), he has cried (I’m not proud of this). Anyway, he asked what we were having for dinner this night and I said, “Chili.” But instantly I recalled these words which I had read only hours before, “It’s all about marketing.” and so I quickly changed the title. “Actually, I mean, it’s soup. Two bean, ground beef, tomato soup…on a potato.” “Oh. It really looks like chilli.” he replied. “I know, crazy huh?” He then proceed to eat the. whole. bowl, asked for more and did not complain about it once. Yes, it really is all about marketing.
So, in closing, I’m so glad Amazon recommended your book and I’m so glad to have been introduced to your blog through it (aaaand books we love??! Oh man your blog was really made for me!) I love it.
Sincerely a very happy reader,
Thanks Katie! PS: Here’s the “two-bean, ground beef, tomato soup” that works in our house. And, incidentally fits right into my More Freezer Dinner School Year Resolution Plan. PPS: The photo above is from my book, which has a whole chapter devoted to my personal experience with my very own (recovered) picky eater. Do you have a marketing plan?
PLUS: Help for Lunch-Packing Dreaders! (To my knowledge, that includes all parents of all school-age children?) A back-to-school interview I did with Epicurious.
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