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Recipes and Stories

20 December 2022: Continuing Education in the Kitchen and Potted Ham

Deviled or Potted Ham


One of the most challenging and irksome things about writing recipes is that they, like their authors, are imperfect. But unlike their authors, once they hit print, they're static. We humans aren't: We're constantly learning and evolving—and that includes what we do in the kitchen.


The truth is, not one of us is ever completely educated. The only ways we stop learning are by either willfully refusing new information or dying. If we're breathing and paying attention, we're always coming into contact with something we've never seen, thought about, or imagined.


A good cook never stops learning—that's why they are good.  Read More 

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14 December 2022: Meatballs Bourguignon

Cocktail Meatballs in Bourguignonne Sauce


As we move into our first almost-normal holiday season in three years, I've been thinking about something the late Marcella Hazan once said of her American cooking students. Whenever she taught a dish that was new, at least one of them was sure to say that he or she was going to make it for a dinner party the following weekend.


She admired that adventurous spirit because such a notion would never even occur to most Italians. A meal offered to guests outside the family would be one they'd made hundreds of times—even if that was how often it had been served to those same guests in the past.


Well, admirable it may be, but there's a fine line between being adventurous and foolhardy.  Read More 

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11 November 2022: Whiskey Cheese

Potted Cheese, also known in our house as Whiskey Cheese


As the winter holidays approach, especially now that we live in a different place, my mind keeps slipping back to the holidays of my childhood. Most of us do that at this time of year, but these days I'm much more conscious of it. Despite the way we "preacher's kids" love to grumble about growing up under watchful and often judgmental eyes, not just of the church, but of the entire community, it did have its perks, particularly during Christmas.


Not only did my mother and both grandmothers turn out their usual bounty of seasonal treats, we were always showered with food offerings by the church congregation, even from people who didn't really like us. They ranged from homemade baked goods to store-bought chocolates, tea samplers, and elaborate cheese boards. One of the things I remember looking forward to the most was a sturdy brown conserve crock filled with potted cheese.


Potted cheese is a simple, old-fashioned conserve Read More 

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