(illustration by Laurie Sandell) Rule 1: If you have a kid under 3, don’t bother. Tending to a toddler at the table — his milk spilling, his food dropping, his inability to articulate how multidimensional your marinara is — it all takes its toll on the rest of the diners’s satisfaction, especially the cook’s. You won’t be able to concentrate… Read more »

When The Spouse is Away…

…the other spouse will throw all dinner rules out the window. At least, that’s the experience in my house. For whatever reason, when my husband is on the road, our sacred mealtime routine doesn’t seem so sacred anymore. While my kids get take-out or a Trader Joe’s pizza from the freezer, I will get all Prousty with a mammoth bowl… Read more »

No-Knead Bread

Last fall, after probably the 10th person in as many weeks asked me if I’d tried Jim Lahey’s no-knead homemade bread yet, I finally decided to give it a go. I had never made my own bread before — in my mind bakers were as different a species from cooks as chemists were –  which was probably why I had… Read more »

Bake a Note

These alphabet cookie cutters from Fox Run Craftsmen (an awesome baking resource) were as fun a rainy-day activity as you’d think they’d be. Though Abby got slightly impatient with the methodical work of it and soon resorted to the classic gingerbread mold, my 7-year-old went to sleep dreaming of all the possibilities. We used a favorite sugar-cookie-dough mix from Martha Stewart’s… Read more »

In Praise of Dansk

For a good part of my life, my mother made dinner using her three-quart mustard yellow Dansk enamelware frying pan. To her, no other cookware could compare. It browned meat beautifully, it was responsive to heating and cooling, it moved from stove top to oven easily. Even when its signature wooden handle fell off in the mid-80s and she couldn’t… Read more »

    When we bought our house in 2003, the kitchen was terrible (think avocado counters, not of the charming retro variety), This was exciting to me for one reason: In a few years, when we could maybe afford to renovate, we could create the perfect family kitchen from scratch. Of course, as anyone who has lived through a renovation… Read more »

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