Archive: Kitchen Musings

Tasting Life

I have a very special friend named Ethan, and in just a few days, the grownups in his life will be celebrating his first birthday. Plenty of my friends have children, but this is the first time in my adult life that I’ve been so intimate with the day-to-day, inch-by-inch development of a human tadpole. In the few months that my friend’s diet has expanded beyond the bottled facsimile of breast milk, I’ve had the privilege of observing his experiences with this thing called food, a front-row seat at the high-chair theater, complete with bowl tossing, high-pitched screams and other primal expressions of gustatory joy. One night, I cooked a small pot of red lentils, suggesting to his mother that it’s baby food as Mother Nature had intended, self-pureeing in about 25 minutes. She agrees to the experiment, eager for variety beyond sweet potatoes and applesauce, but me, I’ve got...

 

By Kim ODonnel | July 10, 2009; 07:00 AM ET | Comments (10)

A Week in the Life of the Kitchen

As 2009 approaches its midway point, I’ve decided to make a half-year resolution/determination – that it’s time not just to smell the basil but to stop before and after the whiff. Lately, I’ve noticed that I zoom through my weeks without reflecting on what I’ve tasted, sipped, slurped, mixed, chopped, simmered and chewed. Then I wake up and it’s June. So, in the interest of being mindful about being mindful, I’ve taken note of my week in the kitchen, at the market and on the road. It’s been a full week but perhaps no fuller than any other – the difference is that now I’m paying attention. Here’s a recap of this week at the Casa: * I’ve discovered that sunflower sprouts are my new favorite thing and I want to learn how to grow them myself * After a year-long hiatus, I made not one, but two batches of...

 

By Kim ODonnel | June 12, 2009; 11:59 AM ET | Comments (11)

Getting Grounded With Chicken & Dumplings

The planet Mercury is in retrograde for most of this month, and as my astrologer friend Stephanie tells me, the notorious planetary configuration isn’t just about misfires on the communication highway or misunderstandings with your nearest and dearest; it’s also a great time for “reflection and heightened inner awareness.” (Kim O'Donnel) Whether or not you groove to the tune of astrology, you’ve probably experienced bouts of extreme unsettledness that feel like an eight-lane traffic jam in your head and your heart, a time when you don’t know if you’re coming or going, and all you can see is the dust flying around your head. It’s been so chaotic here at the Casa I can hardly remember my name. Sylvia, right? When I set out last week to recreate New Orleans chef Donald Link’s recipe for chicken and dumplings, my objective was pragmatic: To check for recipe accuracy and quality. A...

 

By Kim ODonnel | May 19, 2009; 07:30 AM ET | Comments (12)

A Toast to Sunday Supper

A friend of a friend here in Seattle is an Orthodox Jew, and as such, every Friday at sundown, he and his family observe Shabbat. For 24 hours, J. et al put work and outside-world obligations on hold and focus on rest, reflection and quality time with each other. That quality time includes a long, leisurely lunch, or what some might call supper. Here at the Casa, Saturday is typically filled with errands and completing to-do lists, hardly a day of rest. But Sunday, that’s when life comes to a temporary halt (at least that’s what I like to tell myself), a day dedicated to the crossword puzzle, contemplating the meaning of life over coffee… and supper. Depending on where you grew up, the words “dinner” and “supper” may mean different things; for Mister MA, who hails from Kentucky, dinner is served at lunchtime, and supper is a late-afternoon meal....

 

By Kim ODonnel | May 5, 2009; 07:30 AM ET | Comments (7)

Feast at Casa Bizarro

There’s no better day on the calendar than April Fool’s Day, to bring one’s alter ego out of the closet. Allow me to introduce Lennodo Mik, (a name straight out of the Bizarro World telephone book), who’s known around town as the hostess with the mostest Hostess fruit pies. Lennodo Mik taking a break from the kitchen. Lenny (that’s what friends call her) gave me a ring last night; she wanted to invite me and the Mister to a little get-together she’s hosting this weekend; I told her we’ll be out of town, but good ole Lenny insisted that I listen to the menu lineup so that I’d know what we’d be missing. Thanks to a sale on mayonnaise at the store last week, Lenny says she stocked up on a few of those super-size 64-ounce jars, which she’d like to incorporate into all of my party favorites -- mayo-laden...

 

By Kim ODonnel | April 1, 2009; 09:30 AM ET | Comments (12)

25 Random Things, Kitchen Style

Even if you're not a Facebook user, you've probably heard about the "25 Random Things" thingy that's been spreading like wildfire. Just yesterday, you could read all about it here and here and here. Like a gazillion other Facebookers, I succumbed to the pressure, but as suggested by a trusted consigliere, I limited my list-composing time to 15 minutes. In the midst of my pen-to-paper extemporaneous combustion (yes, I actually hand wrote my list), it occurred to me that this might be a fun exercise for us cooks. To get things started, I've compiled my own "25 Random -- With a Kitchen Twist," below, which I've cut and pasted directly from my Facebook Fan page. You can use it as a model and make it your own "25" to share with your "friends" or weigh in at the bottom of this page or add your comments here. And in case...

 

By Kim ODonnel | February 6, 2009; 07:00 AM ET | Comments (8)

Kim's "20"

This month’s Saveur is the annual “100” special issue, a list of 100 people, places, trends, tools and ingredients that tickle the editors’ taste buds. Typically a roundup of big-name tastemakers and high-end products, the list is a who’s who of foodies and what’s what in chowhound-dom. But this year, editor James Oseland has shifted gears, instead celebrating you, me and everyone we know – the home cook. You’ll meet Margherita Chiaramonte, of Sicily, who shares her recipe for Zuppa di Grano Cuturru (greens and bulgur soup) and Mei Teck Wong, a housewife in Singapore who’s got a knack for making supper based on what’s in the fridge. In his editor’s note, Oseland refers to these women (plus a handful of other home cooks from different corners of the world) as “unsung kitchen heroes” who exemplify “a basic truth … that cooking is one of the most fundamental, and beautiful,...

 

By Kim ODonnel | January 22, 2009; 12:46 PM ET | Comments (6)

Greatest Hits, Tastiest Bits of 2008

On this final day of 2008, I’m looking down memory lane and marveling at the way we’ve evolved as cooks -- what we learned at the stove, how we laughed and cried, how much we chopped and fried. (Insert Carol Burnett theme song at any time.) So follow along and humor me with my lil' poem ditty, and weigh in if you so please. Happy New Year! (Kim O'Donnel) You shared your kitchen stories…. About Mom….Saluting Mom: Your Kitchen Stories ….and Dad…. He’s Your Daddy …and family traditions that date to WWII….Baking for the Troops You tried something new… Eat Local Challenge …and shared your tried-and-true… Getting Thrifty: Reader Tricks and Tips Roast Chicken: What’s Your Secret (Kim O'Donnel) You helped each other… Chat Leftovers: Heart-Smart Apps, College Kid Cookbooks... Save the Nancys With Your 30-Minute Specials And when I set off for my cross-country eating adventure this summer, you...

 

By Kim ODonnel | December 31, 2008; 07:00 AM ET | Comments (4)

A Turkey of a Thanksgiving

We interrupt this regularly scheduled Meatless Monday feature for a little ditty about a Thanksgiving feast that almost didn’t happen. That would be the feast at Casa Appetite. The day began on a bright and tranquil note, with many components of the meal already underway. The cranberry sauce, a blend of Washington state cranberries and Alaskan tundra berries, was already prepared. The turkey, a girl-hen from nearby Gig Harbor (a Puget Sound village southwest of Seattle) that dined on apples, Asian pears and grass, had been bathing in an aromatic brine for two days and would need just a few hours in the oven. Mister MA had his stuffing well under control (alas, he did not opt for a cornbread-baguette concoction) and dessert, an upside down pumpkin cake with a cranberry-pecan topping, was sitting pretty on a cake plate. In fact, preparations were going so smoothly there was time for...

 

By Kim ODonnel | December 1, 2008; 07:00 AM ET | Comments (17)

The TV Made Me Say It: Jarred Mayo is the "Real" Deal

Have you seen this television ad? I got a real earful while watching the tube one night last week. Here's how the ad begins: What if we all said No? No to fake food. No to over processed food. No to food that’s not fit for our kids. For a hot second, I thought, this could be interesting television, bring it on. And then in a bat of an eyelash, the “no to fake food” became a Yes to real. Yes to Hellmann’s. It was the television-viewing equivalent of slamming down the brakes of your car on a pile of wet leaves. Say what? Let’s put aside the part that I find jarred mayonnaise the most repulsive food known to man, and that if you ever serve it to me intentionally, you will no longer be my friend. But real? When did white congealed goop in a jar become real?...

 

By Kim ODonnel | November 11, 2008; 09:22 AM ET | Comments (15)

Brisket Blues

So I’ve had great luck making brisket Uncle Jeff’s way, braised in wine, beer or stock, with lots of onions to make a succulent gravy. The pot is covered to create a moist environment, and within three, maybe four hours, the meat is tender enough to eat with a spoon. For election night at Casa Appetite, I chose a different brisket route, one with more smoke than liquid, for an American barbecue feel. But here’s the rub (and not the spice rub, which I’ll get to shortly): I’m without a smoker, grill or pit. So Miss Thing over here decides she’s gonna smoke her brisket in the oven. I had it all planned out: I soaked wood chips in water overnight and placed them in the bottom part of a broiler pan, with a few inches of water. The top part, which is vented, is where the brisket, marinated in...

 

By Kim ODonnel | November 5, 2008; 12:00 PM ET | Comments (6)

The Tricks Our Food Fears Play On Us

A few weeks ago, Mister MA and I got a last-minute invite to tag along with a group of tourists taking an oyster boat excursion on the Puget Sound. The group, from the Philadelphia area, was on a week-long culinary tour of the Pacific Northwest with their cooking teacher, Susan DiBonaventura. It was an oyster booze cruise of sorts, an opportunity to sample several kinds of raw oysters, pulled right out of the surrounding waters by the folks at Taylor Shellfish Farms, the event organizers. The booze in question was a Pinot Gris from Oregon which paired beautifully with the briny bivalves. For many of my travel companions, the wine was more intriguing than the oysters. An oyster is meant to be fried, I heard someone say. How will I chew it, I heard one woman complain. And then there was Helen, who was clearly on the fence. As she...

 

By Kim ODonnel | October 3, 2008; 08:00 AM ET | Comments (14)

There's-No-Place-Like-Home Lasagna

Here in my new casa in my new city on my new coast, I'm feeling a strange mix of excitement and confusion. Although the mailbox tells me "X" marks this spot where KOD now lives, I've been wandering aimlessly from room to room, looking for things that belong together so that I could quickly connect the dots and start calling this place "home." A slice of home. (Kim O'Donnel) And of course, the kitchen is where I began this process of making order out of chaos. By Monday night, we readjusted kitchen cabinets to make room for tall bottles of olive oil and put commonly used pantry items and tools within elbow's reach. We chowed down on a quickie wokful of fried rice, one of our favorites, but on this night, my kitchen and I were still getting to know each other, cordial albeit tentative. For Night Two, something cozier...

 

By Kim ODonnel | August 27, 2008; 10:56 AM ET | Comments (12)

Farewell, and Why Seven Is Now My Lucky Number

I think I need to consult a numerologist. There's something about me, D.C. and the number 7. The numerical patterning revealed itself one afternoon last week while I was strolling through downtown, meditating on my relationship with this town and the things I will undoubtedly miss. I moved here 14 years ago, in July 1994, a month shy of turning 28. The next two-plus years would be about the pursuit of love with a man who loved the bottle more and my constant struggle to pay the bills as an ESL instructor, which led to a variety of part-time jobs and ultimately, a path to a culinary career. (As I've previously written in this space, there are no coincidences.) In the fall of 1996, I got my cooking-school wish and headed north to New York (the man shacked up with his bottle and someone else to take care of him)....

 

By Kim ODonnel | July 31, 2008; 09:40 AM ET | Comments (18)

Much-Needed Tears From 'Onion' Cooking Video

We interrupt our regular program of paper shuffling and dish-towel drama for this special report from the geniuses at Onion News Network (ONN): In the throes of single-handedly packing up the contents of Casa Appetite, I haven't laughed in days, and after watching "Chef Adam Scott" demo the omelet that came to him in a dream, I couldn't stop. Man, I needed that (and just had to share the comic relief). Should I spoil the fun and tell you what my favorite parts are? I think it's when Adam asks "Jim," the apron-donned "Today Now" host to put on his scarf and "get me three pieces of bacon out of the bathroom cabinet" to crumble over the nearly-done omelet. Or is it when Scott says "if you use a fork, Robin Williams is going to come and offer to lend you use his whisk and the two of you will...

 

By Kim ODonnel | July 28, 2008; 10:36 PM ET | Comments (19)

Thanks, This Dinner's For You

"Say thank you more often, every day, even if you don't say it out loud. Think it." These are the words of the all-knowing Laura, an amazing holistic therapist whom I had the pleasure of meeting in January, when I stretched out on her massage table in Costa Rica. At first, I was surprised by this notion. Who, me? I say thank you all the time! Doesn't everyone say thank you to the driver upon exiting a bus, when a flight attendant offers a blanket or when the supermarket cashier hands you your change and receipt? But what Laura was getting at was something deeper, the metaphysical medium that she is. She was right: I had the whole "thank you" courtesy thing down pat, but a daily practice of giving thanks? Not so much. Seven months since our little chat, Laura's words have stayed right with me on the front...

 

By Kim ODonnel | July 15, 2008; 09:28 AM ET | Comments (0)

The Food That Makes Life Worth Living

This might sound crazy, but a six-pack of local berries and cherries saved me from falling off the deep end this weekend. Summer fruit bonanza: (Clockwise from top left) Blackberries, sweet cherries, blueberries and raspberries. (Kim O'Donnel) Saturday morning, I queued up in a line about 50 deep at my neighborhood farm market for my fix of summer fruit from a Virginia berry farm. Strawberries had been gracing the stand for the past four weeks, and I was hoping I might see the first batch of blueberries. Little did I realize I'd get treated to a whopper berry bonanza -- the blues, plus blackberries and raspberries -- and an extra bonus of sweet cherries. In awe of my discovery, I stared at the rows of fruit in their pint containers, bursting in shades of indigo and lipstick that every girl dreams about. The air was heavy with their perfume, and...

 

By Kim ODonnel | June 16, 2008; 09:53 AM ET | Comments (0)

A Heart-Wise Reality Check

Mister Reality Check stopped by to see me last week when I got word that a dear friend was unexpectedly admitted into the hospital for open-heart surgery. Just four days prior to receiving this news, I had cackled with him at a party for a mutual friend, sharing our hopes and dreams, and in the short term, the plans we had in store for the long holiday weekend. Little did we know that life had other plans for him and his arteries. The dramatic turn of events aside, the bypass was successful, and my friend is now at home, recuperating and perhaps reflecting on how quickly life can flash before our eyes. The news knocked the wind right out of me, as it took me back 25 years when my father's heart stopped pumping and then just six weeks later, his mother's heart stopped, too. It was DNA's way of...

 

By Kim ODonnel | June 2, 2008; 07:00 AM ET | Comments (0)

A Stick in My Craw

Pardon for the interruption from the regular blog-a-thon, but I've got a thorn in my side that needs extracting. Or maybe it's a gallstone. Whatever it is, I've got to release the pressure. In yesterday's blog space, I detailed my Indian bread-making adventures over the weekend, and for the most part, what I got for my efforts is a lousy t-shirt that says "Your Roti Ain't For Real." Translation: Apparently, my recipe, adapted from Indian cookbook writer Madhur Jaffrey's "From Curries to Kebabs" isn't authentic enough for some readers, despite the fact that I never made such a claim. "Those roti are nothing like the ones my mother makes. Hers are thin and papery. And definitely no yogurt," writes one reader. "Baking soda? Yogurt? Microwave? These are not roties," declares another. "I'm afraid these look nothing like the rotis my mother and grandmother made!!" proclaims yet another member of the...

 

By Kim ODonnel | April 8, 2008; 08:52 AM ET | Comments (0)

Getting To Know Your Dining Table -- And Each Other

You know that piece of furniture in the kitchen or dining room with four legs and a couple of chairs tucked in around the perimeter? Yes, that thing that doubles as a desk and a mail box and is in need of a good dusting, is called the dining table. It is the surface upon which we place our daily bread and at which we gather, sit down and eat. The problem is, we don't. Come on. Be honest: How often do you sit down at the table for supper? Forget about breakfast, I already know the answer. It goes something like this, right? Breakfast is for the weekends, y'all. I've got my sippy cup of coffee and a granola bar, which I'll tear into while swerving lanes and exercising my road-raged lungs. And lunch, although it has at-table potential, how often does this really happen? Even I -- a...

 

By Kim ODonnel | April 4, 2008; 10:45 AM ET | Comments (11)

The Best Meal I Never Did Cook

The back door was propped open, but the wind just didn't want to push through the screen and offer relief on this warmer-than-average day in mid-June. Wait, hold that thought. It wasn't warm, it was hot and downright sticky like high noon in August, a classic summer day in D.C., and my jangled nerves only contributed to the sweat trickling down the small of my back. There was a man coming for dinner, and I liked him. Shucks, just a few days earlier, I gave him a piece of my fried chicken, so I knew I wasn't imagining this thing I was feeling. But girl, it was all wrong. The boxes in the front part of the house, stacked on top of one another to the ceiling and waiting for their overseas shipping labels, told a different story. I was about to leave the country. And get married. He wasn't...

 

By Kim ODonnel | February 14, 2008; 10:51 AM ET | Comments (14)

Cooking: The Next Happy Pill?

In a recent New York Times Magazine interview, U.S. Poet Laureate Charles Simic was asked what advice he'd give to people who are looking to be happy. His response: "For starters, learn how to cook." The question was asked in the context of the slew of self-help books on the pursuit of happiness -- a state of being guaranteed by the Declaration of Independence no less -- and once there, how to keep the good vibrations going. So, if we heed Simic's advice and get back into the kitchen, could it be possible to one day throw the Zoloft down the drain? Could some time with the cutting board replace the need for time on the therapist's couch? Would the inexplicable, seemingly unsolvable mysteries of life still carry the same weight after making a pot of soup? And on a more universal level, here's what I've been chewing on for...

 

By Kim ODonnel | February 11, 2008; 09:56 AM ET | Comments (20)

The Tao of Grilled Cheese

I have this t-shirt; it's black with blue lettering that reads "find your center." At yoga class, I'm encouraged to focus on my core, which is supposed to help strengthen my back and help balance both the body and mind, but sometimes all I can see are the blubber rolls jiggling around my belly button. (Maybe it's time to take that third eye in for a checkup.) Goin' home with grilled cheese. (Kim O'Donnel) Then there are times in my practice when I am indeed able to locate body-mind central, a place from which I can observe my life at that given moment without judgment. That's not to say I'm trying to clean up or fix things from the day, but rather to look at those events as clouds passing by. Going, gone. It's an opportunity to pause, like when you're about to blow out candles on your birthday cake....

 

By Kim ODonnel | January 24, 2008; 11:45 AM ET | Comments (0)

A Feast Fit for King

I'm ready if ever asked. You know that age-old interview question about which famous person, dead or alive, you'd like to have dinner with. (I recall such an essay question in my application to college.) My top four picks are all dead. And what I'd do to make the evening possible is make some calls and inquire about their availability for a few hours. In exchange for their time and collective wisdom, I would prepare dinner, a home-cooked meal comprised of dishes with historical relevance, in honor of the birthday boy. Seated at the table, you'd find aviator Amelia Earhart, the dame who kept pushing the envelope with her solo flights across two oceans and her 1937 groundbreaking attempt to fly around the world, which led to her disappearance over the South Pacific. Ms. Earhart had such style, and I can only imagine she'd show up wearing one of her...

 

By Kim ODonnel | January 18, 2008; 11:16 AM ET | Comments (4)

Debating Bacon

I have a confession to make. In the nine years since I launched What's Cooking and the two-plus years of writing A Mighty Appetite, I've been having a secret gastronomic love affair. All these years, I've kept my paramour on the down low, sharing my love only when I knew like-minded fiends were at the table. I've been leading a double life -- on the one hand, I'm advocating healthy cooking and hosting monthly meatless Web chats, and then when no one's looking, I'm swooning over the smoky perfume of... BACON. Say it ain't so, I can hear the vegetarians cry. But the truth is, I'm a card-carrying member of Bacon Lovers of America, even though I know it spikes my cholesterol and packs on the pounds. Other than a bag of chips, it's the one food that turns me into a compulsive eater. In fact, I've come to learn...

 

By Kim ODonnel | January 10, 2008; 10:06 AM ET | Comments (0)

Momentous Crumbs of 2007

As 2007 comes to a close, I will take time this week -- as I like to do -- to reflect on the past 12 months of my life, my kitchen and the community at large. The milestones of any given year are unique to each one of us, because we are all writing our own life stories -- but they are also shared because at any given moment at any GPS location, someone is experiencing birth, death, joy, sadness, love or anguish. Someone somewhere is also stirring a pot, or boiling water for tea, catching a bag of rice dropped from a UN helicopter, peeling a mango or praying for rain so that the crops can grow. Food is yet another other link in our chain of human experience that makes this world very small and all of its human snowflakes so very interconnected. And so, in reviewing my...

 

By Kim ODonnel | December 27, 2007; 10:55 AM ET | Comments (6)

The Family Dinner Lives On

The plan: Come to Key West to get away from the noise and stresses of the city and the early winter we're having up north and to spend some pre-Christmas time with my mother and my brother, Tim. But, as John Lennon once said, "Life is what happens when you're busy making other plans." Sure enough, I made it to the Conch Republic, with leisurely bike rides and daily yoga practice in mind. What I wasn't in store for was the surprise arrival of my brother, John, whom I hadn't seen in more than three years. To be honest, it kinda threw a wrench in my vacation mojo. We never really hit it off -- he pushed me head first into a pile of dog poo when we were kids -- and his drug abuse and resulting brushes with the law didn't exactly bring us closer together. The O'Donnel family:...

 

By Kim ODonnel | December 14, 2007; 10:27 AM ET | Comments (10)

Food for Thought on World AIDS Day

There was Michael, leading a double life in New England, afraid to come out to his family and fiancee. And there was Richard, a New York executive with everything money could buy, except a cure. His partner, Brian, was next. I knew them all in the late 1980s, before they died of AIDS. Their deaths were both sad and haunting, but in all fairness, I knew them through their survivors and experienced the heartache of loss only vicariously. I didn't know what it was like to lose dozens of friends who were dropping like flies during that time, yet I kept hearing about this thing called an AIDS epidemic. I went to view the AIDS Quilt when it first came to Philadelphia and I wore a red ribbon on the first World AIDS Day, held 19 years ago on Dec. 1, which is tomorrow. I knew the words to "That's...

 

By Kim ODonnel | November 30, 2007; 12:46 PM ET | Comments (0)

Halloween Looking Glass

I was Elvis once. A can of Campbell's soup, too A faded photograph reveals that I was a football player Back in the day And a for a brief moment, I Transformed into Pippi Longstocking (I think). O'Donnel Halloween, 1976. (Kim O'Donnel) The details are sketchy But as my mind's eye travels Back in time I can see the old neighborhood And the 100-pound cut-out pumpkin Perched on the wheelbarrow in the front yard On Penarth Road. My father's doing. He loved Halloween. I can smell the damp leaves That rustled under our feet As my brothers and I, and our assorted friends (I can see Julie Lerner, who lived around the corner) Set out at dusk Plastic pumpkins in tow For our evening of Candy begging. ...Trick or treat Smell my feet Give me something Good to eat.... I can hear the chanting The trick-or-treater's plea The candy mantra...

 

By Kim ODonnel | October 31, 2007; 09:49 AM ET | Comments (0)

The Food That Makes You Cry

"What food makes you cry?" my friend Papa Joe asked me the other day. "What do you mean exactly?" "Well, something when you eat it, evokes an emotion, takes you to other parts of your life." "Interesting question," I replied. "What food makes you cry?" "A turkey sandwich," he said matter-of-factly. "The day after Thanksgiving, when I was growing up, my mom, who's since passed, would make me a turkey sandwich, thinly slicing the meat right off the bone. While she sliced the meat, she'd explain to me how to make a turkey sandwich, and I never really paid attention. Since she died, whenever I eat a turkey sandwich, I think about her, and I now remember everything about the way she made it: The soft bread. The turkey, thinly sliced. The mayonnaise. The salt and the pepper." "I know it's simple stuff, just a turkey sandwich," he added. In...

 

By Kim ODonnel | October 10, 2007; 12:03 PM ET | Comments (10)

The Gillian School of Cooking

Lemon curd. That's what I learned on my first day as a line cook rookie at Cashion's Eat Place in the summer of 1996. Emily, the pastry chef, had set me up with a pot of butter, egg yolks, sugar lemon juice and zest, instructing me to whisk constantly, so that the eggs wouldn't curdle. I was to holler when the mixture was thick enough to coat the back of a spoon. Because I didn't know any better, I whisked the curd using my entire arm, rather than my wrist, an error that quickly tuckered me out and made me feel faint. That's when Gillian walked in. She pushed open the kitchen doors and demanded to know who the new girl was, and stupidly I told her I wasn't feeling very well. "Are you pregnant?" she barked. "Um, I don't think so," I said sheepishly. I better not be, is...

 

By Kim ODonnel | October 2, 2007; 09:51 AM ET | Comments (3)

Karla's Figs

For last weekend's soiree at Casa Appetite, I insisted on doing all the food. But when my girl Karla called and told me that her fig tree was bursting with fruit, I immediately relented. How could I say no to an offering of fresh figs? A zillion years ago, I FTD'd a fig tree to a boy I loved in Australia, but that was way before I had ever eaten a fresh fig myself. Not until I met Karla nine years ago did I get my very own hands-on experience with a ficus tree and its magnificent low-hanging fruit that has traveled the world over the ages. Fresh figs from Karla's tree. (Kim O'Donnel) I've always had a thing for figs and, like many American kids, the introduction began with the Fig Newton, a cookie I couldn't get enough of. My dried figgy experience expanded to a more sophisticated level...

 

By Kim ODonnel | August 24, 2007; 09:47 AM ET | Comments (26)

Pineapple Twist of Fate

There was a dinner party at Casa Appetite on Saturday night, a combo early birthday celebration and inaugural warming of the new house. We were a group of 12 and yours truly insisted on doing all the cooking, as long as guests would reciprocate with their beverage of choice. With three or four meatless eaters on the guest list, it was a no-brainer to whip up a pot of eggplant curry and some coconut rice to sop up its juices. The omnivores sunk their teeth into Viet-grilled chicken, which continues to impress me with its depth of flavor and ease of preparation. While folks were cocktailing, I was manning the stove, frying up a batch of okra pancakes, which are more like fritters, cornmeal-y in a hush puppy kind of way, and loaded with still-crisp okra studs. A perfect nibble to whet the appetite. The real surprise of the evening...

 

By Kim ODonnel | August 21, 2007; 11:01 AM ET | Comments (0)

Planning a Last Supper

We all know that life is short. But let's be honest: Do we ever do anything about it? Do we live as fully as we can, savoring each moment, enjoying each breath, or perhaps each bite? With a birthday coming up, I'm doing a bit of waxing philosophical, contemplating this thing called mortality and the art of living as if today were my last. The following quote from poet Emily Dickinson comes to mind: That it will never come again Is what makes life so sweet. I got to thinking, if I knew my days were numbered, how would I spend them, and more importantly, what would my last meal be? Most the time, life is not so kind, taking us without advance warning, but with a wee bit of notice, imagine the feast that could be planned. Remember Armande Voizin, the cranky old lady played by Judi Dench in...

 

By Kim ODonnel | August 7, 2007; 11:36 AM ET | Comments (18)

What Is Food Writing?

It is a question that's been on my mind of late. Over the course of the past 10 years, I have been fortunate enough to get paid to play with food and write about it. There have been recipes, restaurant writeups, reported articles, essays, weekly columns, Web chats and this daily blog. When asked what I do for a living, I say I write about food, not that I'm a food writer. And the reason is this: I'm a writer first. I like to tell stories. Food is my passion, and it is the entryway for those stories. Food is the entryway. The door swung wide open when this spring I got my hands on a copy of "American Food Writing: An Anthology With Classic Recipes." The brains behind this collection of work that spans 250 years is Molly O'Neill, whose food columns in the New York Times Magazine planted...

 

By Kim ODonnel | July 13, 2007; 12:14 PM ET | Comments (2)

An Unexpected Lunch With Dad

Father's Day came a little early for me this year, yet I haven't celebrated Father's Day in 24 years. There are no coincidences. My father, John O'Donnel, all decked out for grilling, circa 1968. In 1982, my father died way too soon, at the age of 37. It happened so fast. Before bed, he was debriefing me on my first date, an evening at the Bala movie theater ("The Wall" -- the Pink Floyd movie) with local boy Jimmy Bramson; by the next morning he was already gone, just a shell of the man I adored, my confidant, my teacher, my debate partner. It was truly painful to say goodbye, and at the age of 16, it felt terribly unfair and cruel, yes. Over the past two decades, I've wondered what things would be like if he were still around to witness important events like graduation, marriage and heartbreak or...

 

By Kim ODonnel | June 15, 2007; 08:44 AM ET | Comments (14)

My Mother's Un-Cooking School

The kitchen of my childhood was of near-phantasmagoric proportions. The walls and countertops were bright orange, a hue that might hurt your eyes. Hanging on the walls were found objects from my mother's weekly garage sale adventures. Instead of being used for chopping vegetables, the counters were a display area of Americana-style artifacts, such as a vintage mint-green milkshake maker and a glass jar of Christmas ornaments circa 1940. I think at one point there was an old sewing machine stand over by the oven, but I'll have to check with her on that. My mother, Susan O'Donnel, the technicolor wizard. (Jim Oschmann) The dining room was no less a kaleidoscope of color. Pepto pink was the dominant color scheme, accented by stripes of Easter egg yellow and green. The piano that we kids learned to play was pink, too. Filling out the space was a wicker baby carriage turned...

 

By Kim ODonnel | May 10, 2007; 10:06 AM ET | Comments (6)

Cooking to the Music

"Dance Dance Dance." Remember that song? It's an oldie-but-goodie from Chic, one of the great disco bands of the 1970s that also produced classic dance-floor hits such as "Le Freak" ("Freak Out") and "Good Times." Dance is something I used to do a lot of growing up in the late 70s, when disco was king. Purple Haze was the DJ of choice at most Bar Mitzvah record hops in my neighborhood outside of Philadelphia, and we kids would dance to Chic, Earth Wind and Fire, the Jackson Five. The theme song for my high school prom in 1984 was Lionel Ritchie's "All Night Long." Sadly, I no longer make time to cut the rug the way I used to -- unless I'm cooking. Given the amount of time I spend in the kitchen, that hardly sounds like a change in the ole dance routine, I know. The reality is, I...

 

By Kim ODonnel | May 3, 2007; 10:40 AM ET | Comments (7)

Adventures of a Cupcake Fairy

In Tuesday's blog space and in this week's chat, I suggested looking to the kitchen as a place of comfort and solace as we, as a nation, mourn and try to make sense of the massacre this week at Virginia Tech. In the chat, I mentioned my search for a cozy companion to a pot of tea, particularly with the recent wintry weather. Immediately afterwards, I pored through a bunch of trusted cookbooks, my stream of consciousness mumbling scone...biscotti...biscuit...nah...coffee cake?...cupcakes...Yes! The recipe that stopped me in my tracks -- "Lemon Cupcakes With Milk Chocolate Frosting" - comes from "Perfect Light Desserts," a book by Nick Malgieri and David Joachim that I've come to rely on since its release last fall. I liked the idea of yin-yang-ing a citrus flavor batter with a cloak of chocolate, particularly with the tangy additions of buttermilk and sour cream (which I replaced with an...

 

By Kim ODonnel | April 19, 2007; 10:40 AM ET | Comments (17)

A Recipe for Loss

"Is it just me, or is it difficult to write about celebs and food considering the shoooting?" wrote my fellow washingtonpost.com blogger Liz Kelly, in an e-mail early this morning. She of course was referring to the mass shooting that left 33 people dead (including the gunman) on the campus of Virginia Tech yesterday. When just one person dies at the hand of another, it is undoubtedly tragic and senseless, an unbearable loss for those who survive the departed, but nonetheless contained. With our information superhighway, we hear about someone getting killed every hour, every day, everywhere, and so we've become conditioned, almost numb to the news of a garden-variety homicide. But something happens when we learn of multiple casualties -- be it an accident or an act of terror, war or God. Death in numbers is horrific and unfathomable, and the mourning and sense of loss goes beyond the...

 

By Kim ODonnel | April 17, 2007; 10:51 AM ET | Comments (6)

Cooking Up a New Life

In the mid-1980s, the only thing that Jeff Henderson knew how to cook was crack cocaine. As a young drug dealer in San Diego, Henderson was making up to $35,000 a week. In 1988, the lush life came to a crashing halt, when Henderson was arrested and ultimately indicted on federal drug trafficking charges. Henderson, who's now the executive chef at Café Bellagio in Las Vegas, tells the story of how he cooked his way through -- and out of -- prison in his recently released book, "Cooked: From the Streets to the Stove, from Cocaine to Foie Gras." Two years into his originally mandated sentence of 19 1/2 years, Henderson started working in a prison kitchen. For me, the following passage, which describes Henderson's initial trepidation in the kitchen, is one of the strongest in the book: Cooking took me back to the Motel 6 in San Diego. I...

 

By Kim ODonnel | April 16, 2007; 11:23 AM ET | Comments (3)

E-Z Meals? Depends Who's Talking

In this week's chat, a reader asked about a new cookbook on the market, "A Twist of the Wrist" by Nancy Silverton that's getting some attention. It's important to mention the subtitle here: "Quick Flavorful Meals With Ingredients from Jars, Cans, Bags and Boxes." When you read that, what comes to mind? Balsamic vinegar, fennel pollen and mostardo, by chance? I know what you're thinking, I must have some of that easy-to-find burrata cheese to make my crostini sing. All of the above-mentioned ingredients are highlighted in orange and listed in Silverton's "Twist Essentials," a detailed glossary at the book at the book. Now, when I first heard about this book (and its premise), I thought of basics for the average home cook in need of inspiration and a few shortcuts. Even when I read Silverton's introduction: The goal of my so-called mission is to show people a way to...

 

By Kim ODonnel | April 13, 2007; 08:57 AM ET | Comments (0)

The Case of the Kitchen Barrel Nuts

Saturday afternoon, cloudy and cool. The television was on mute, set to a NASCAR race, and the future of my newly launched marriage hung in the balance over seven barrel nuts. Several hours and seven barrel nuts later, a beautiful kitchen cabinet. (Kim O'Donnel) In most every partnership, there's an Alpha persona of the handyman variety; in this relationship, there is no such superhero. We both lack the handy-man gene. The Case of The Seven Barrel Nuts involves one newly arrived "assembly-required" kitchen cabinet from Crate & Barrel. After assessing the dreary state of a slowly collapsing cookbook-jammed bookcase and acknowledging the lack of space for any of the lovely kitchen-esque wedding gifts parked under the dining table, I knew I had to act. In the midst of the excitement over my purchase, however, I ignored the fact that we newlyweds solved everything like a crossword puzzle - and that...

 

By Kim ODonnel | March 26, 2007; 01:58 PM ET | Comments (12)

Making Room for Another Cook

I am a bride in final countdown mode, and boy is it a peculiar place to be. On the one and (most obvious) hand, it's absolutely thrilling and exciting, to arrive at an emotional time and space that threads one's ever-evolving hopes and aspirations for long-haul partnership into a neat little package called a wedding day; on the other hand, it's positively terrifying for this long-time single gal who's run her own show into Year 40, to make room -- in her heart, her kitchen and her daily life - for another. Over the past few months, I've been processing many of these themes; some days, I get it -- the whole recipe of love and partnership -- like I understand a pie dough or a curry; other days, I get frantic, my vision gets blurry and I have no idea how to cook this thing called marriage. When it's...

 

By Kim ODonnel | February 23, 2007; 10:13 AM ET | Comments (0)

A Cake for Hilton Felton

The weekend started out on an auspicious note. My mother blew into town Friday afternoon to be part of a pre-wedding shindig on Saturday. We lunched, we shopped and, as we always do when Mom is in town, we made a pit stop at Kinkead's, a well-known restaurant/bar in Foggy Bottom. Marble cake. (Kim O'Donnel) We bellied up to the bar for more than a drink and a nosh, a ritual that has been part of my life since 1997. We came to say hello to "H." That was my shorthand for Hilton Felton, a world-class jazz musician who preferred to play at home rather than on the road. Five nights a week since 1993, Hilton played the piano at Kinkead's, where barflies and jazz lovers like me would fall under his musical trance. When I walked into the bar on Friday night, I was oblivious to the absence of...

 

By Kim ODonnel | February 20, 2007; 10:14 AM ET | Comments (8)

Does Food Get You in the Mood?

In preparation for this Valentine's Eve, I e-mailed 20 people, a mix of colleagues and friends, and asked them point blank: "What turns you on?" More specifically, I wanted to know, is there a food that gets you in the mood? Of the 20 I questioned, only five responded with specific preferences, which fell into a few categories -- chocolate, seafood and booze. "Really good dark chocolate paired with a glass of red wine," is the magic potion for one local online journalist, a SF in her early 30s. "Cabernets tend to work best ... the right chocolate with the right wine is just pure heaven." Chocolate, and more specifically, "just out-of-the-oven chocolate chip cookies" is the ultimate turn-on for one Washington SM in his early 20s, who's hoping his Valentine will be baking tonight. One mom in her early 40s praised the sensual qualities of seafood -- and more...

 

By Kim ODonnel | February 13, 2007; 11:06 AM ET | Comments (0)

Mom, Can I Be a Vegetarian?

Imagine the following scenario: You are a proud, loving parent. One day, your sprouting young adult announces the decision to become a vegetarian, just like that. Although this throws a wrench into your omnivorous family equation, you want to honor your child's dietary curiosity and allow space for exploration. So you scrape the chicken cutlet off your budding vegetarian's plate and double up the helpings of starch and veg. And for the next six, eight years, that's the way dinner works -- meat for most, side dishes for one. Simple, right? Your kid gets to be a vegetarian and the rest of the family is virtually unaffected by the dietary shift. In the midst of your gallant efforts to keep the family boat from rocking, however, stuff begins to fall through the vegetarian cracks. Lo and behold, it appears that someone is playing with his vegetables and instead eating mashed...

 

By Kim ODonnel | January 31, 2007; 10:38 AM ET | Comments (0)

Key West Kitchen

The sun is out, the skies are a brilliant blue and the wind is doing a dance with the palm trees here in Key West, Fla. It is a glorious morning, almost a wee bit chilly. Just another day at the office. (Kim O'Donnel) Like a savvy bird, I flew south just hours before the snow arrived in Washington. I hate to rub it in, but I drank my coffee this morning out on the porch as the sun gently said hello. Winter escapism aside, I am here primarily to visit my kid brother, Tim, who spent most of last fall in a Miami hospital. He's been home since mid-December, convalescing at an amazing pace, and already he's back to work part time. The last time I saw Tim, he was heavily sedated and hooked up to a ventilator. We didn't know if he was going to survive. Once he...

 

By Kim ODonnel | January 22, 2007; 11:13 AM ET | Comments (18)

It Takes a Village to Cook Dinner

In this week's chat, a reader shared the following dilemma: I like to cook, but after working all day, then starting a load of laundry, putting dishes away, etc. I just don't have the energy. And I'm taking college classes which start next week ... my family (hubby and 5 kids) pretty much fend for themselves off of leftovers from the weekend or frozen pizza my teenagers make. I feel so guilty! I was proud of myself last week because we had a sit-down meal of MACARONI AND CHEESE AND HOT DOGS. Mac and cheese from a box. This from the woman who used to make pad Thai and chicken alla diavola. I don't know what advice you can give but anything is appreciated. Sound familiar? I'm betting we all can relate, whether or not kids and spouses are in the picture. In this Blackberry-paced universe, we mere mortals are...

 

By Kim ODonnel | January 18, 2007; 10:11 AM ET | Comments (43)

Cooking Up a New Year

The dawn of a year is like a swift -- and often much-needed -- kick in the pants. There's nothing like a crisp new wall calendar to help set life in motion, encouraging the notion of possibility. It's also a great opportunity to shed stuff, be it pounds, bad attitudes or gone-to-the-dogs rusty cast-iron skillets. Change is good! The opportunity for change couldn't be riper than in the kitchen. Whether a committed cook or a card-carrying member of the carry-out club, the kitchen is a major thoroughfare of the home. Some would argue it is home. After all, even burnt toast requires tools and utensils to get the job done. With that in mind, what's the state of your kitchen these days? Have you got the baterie de cuisine all lined up? What's the state of the fridge or the pantry? And what about the floor? Is it clean enough...

 

By Kim ODonnel | January 2, 2007; 11:13 AM ET | Comments (14)

The White Chili That Wasn't

It was supposed to be a white chili supper. I had visions of white beans seasoned with rosemary and garlic whispering sweet nothings to ground turkey and pearl barley. It would be lighter (i.e. lower in fat) than a classic red chili yet hearty enough to satisfy an urban cowboy and with plenty of fiber to feel virtuous. The inspiration originally came from a recipe that appeared in Bon Appetit magazine about 10 years ago, with the barley catching my eye. I asked myself out loud why I rarely use barley, one of the easiest, no-fuss grains to work with in one-pot dishes. Ground turkey and barley make for a compelling chili. (Kim O'Donnel) The original plan was to share the work with my beloved domestic co-pilot, who considers himself a chili expert. "Okay, meet you after yoga," I said, "and you can pick up the ingredients at the store."...

 

By Kim ODonnel | December 28, 2006; 09:13 AM ET | Comments (0)

Bites of 2006

Controversy. That's what we've been chewing on in the food world in 2006. This year's nuggets of culinary discourse have been as plentiful and juicy as an all-you-can-eat buffet. Below, a year-end smorgasbord in review, with some lingering crumbs for the whetting of next year's appetites. Fueling the "trans-fat fire" In June, the notion of trans fat as outlaw made headlines, when a Chicago city council member introduced legislation to ban the use of trans fat in restaurants there. (As a reminder, trans fat is a man-made phenomenon, the marriage of liquid vegetable oil with hydrogen, resulting in a solid, shelf-stable fat. It's found in shortening, hard margarine, snack foods and all those goodies from your favorite drive-thru window.) Although the original bill was watered down and remains in that city's legislative pipeline, the debate over trans fat has spread like a grease fire in other cities and states around...

 

By Kim ODonnel | December 27, 2006; 12:45 PM ET | Comments (0)

Weird Things People Do on Thanksgiving

As a kid, I loved Thanksgiving. The experience was colorful, festive and I was allowed to drink Coca-Cola. For about eight years during the 1970s, the routine was exactly the same. We'd gather at Aunt Ginny and Uncle Clinton's house late in the afternoon and all the women would be bumping into one another in the kitchen. At that time in the history of the family, there were about 20 of us and we three O'Donnel kids, greatly outnumbered by adults, were spoiled by our many doting aunts and uncles. I remember the teal-colored double-level refrigerator (so '60s!) from which I'd gather ice cubes for glasses of Coke. I can still hear the fizz of the soda as it made contact with the ice in my glass, which felt glamorous and very grownup. Out of the matching oven would emerge the biggest turkey my eyes ever saw and it was...

 

By Kim ODonnel | November 22, 2006; 09:18 AM ET | Comments (12)

The Meatloaf Rivalry

"I bet your meatloaf will be different from mine," my mother pronounced over the phone last night. "Why do you say THAT?" I asked, a little indignant, wondering how linguistics expert Deborah Tannen would comment on the exchange, which suddenly felt fraught with a competitive edge. Earlier this year, Tannen published her latest work, "You're Wearing That? Understanding Mothers and Daughters in Conversation," a book that I devoured in a just a few days. Given my line of work, it's a rare occurrence that my mother and I would be preparing the same dish for supper, but yesterday's dreary weather felt like a meatloaf Sunday. (Besides, the beloved co-habitant was hankering for comfort food.) "So, how do you make yours?" she barked. Was that a challenge I was hearing? This coming from the same woman who used to make meatloaf cement when I was growing up. I think she cooked...

 

By Kim ODonnel | November 13, 2006; 10:39 AM ET | Comments (38)

Saved by a Cuban Coffee and Sandwich

"Café con leche, sin azucar. Un cubano, sin mayonesa. Si, caldo." That's Spanish for a kick-in-the-pants coffee with steamed evaporated milk, hold the sugar, and a Cuban sandwich, without mayonnaise, heated under a sandwich press (called a plancha). It's also become my standing order at La Carreta, a local Cuban restaurant chain that has a corner location in Concourse D of Miami International Airport. Upon arriving in Miami, I grab my bag at baggage claim, check in at the car rental counter and return upstairs to the La Carreta for my usual. In weak Spanish, I place my order with one of the guayabera-outfitted women behind the counter and take in the flurry of activity. The customers are a mix of travelers and airport employees, speaking both Spanish and English, and they're all there, returning over and again for the strong coffee and the tasty array of Cuban treats, from...

 

By Kim ODonnel | November 10, 2006; 11:36 AM ET | Comments (12)

Teaching Tim Meat Sauce

For the past week, I've been away from this blog, turning my energy to my kid brother, Tim, who's fighting for his life in a Miami hospital. The situation is very critical and that's all I'm going to say. The reason I even mention him and what my family has been through is to share the link between cooking and the alleviation of sorrow and emotional distress that we all experience to varying degrees throughout our lifetimes. Right now, while back in town temporarily, cooking is my salve, a healer, a soother, a tranquilizer. On a kitchen stool, I've placed a photo of we two and when time to prepare last night's dinner, I lit a candle by his side. Then I announced out loud that I would be teaching him how to make a proper meat sauce for spaghetti....

 

By Kim ODonnel | October 26, 2006; 09:51 AM ET | Comments (39)

Always Hungry to Meet "Johnny" Apple

I was sitting at the bar at Kinkead's Restaurant one autumn evening in 1997, when my barstool mate whispered, "Hey, there's "Johnny" Apple, sitting over there having dinner!" I remember replying with a big quizzical, "Who?" It didn't take long for this new online food journalist in town to begin following the byline of the veteran war correspondent and esteemed food and travel writer for the New York Times. Apple, who died yesterday at the age of 71, lived a life of culinary adventure that I yearned to experience, and his writing became (and has continued to be) my guide to delicious, exotic places I had hoped to explore one day, too. As recently as this past Sunday, I traveled to Apple's Singapore, yet another destination on the to-do list. When he wasn't trotting the globe with his wife, Betsey, Apple lived here in Washington, a stroke of geographic luck...

 

By Kim ODonnel | October 5, 2006; 12:27 PM ET | Comments (0)

Foodway to Our Hearts

It's a known fact that on a practical level, food is fuel for the body. It keeps the human engine and all of its interconnected parts running. However, if physiological maintenance and growth were the only roles food had to play, what would happen to our long lists of food preferences? Chile shrimp and rice. (Kim O'Donnel) The emotional pull of food is complicated, personal and undeniable. When we humans come in contact with food, the switches to our five physical senses are activated, which sets the stage for an experience of emotion. These experiences are duly noted in the memory bank, and more often than not we share them with others. I know this may seem elementary, but think about it. Everything you eat today likely rings some kind of emotional bell for you. Even more interesting to this cook is the noise of one's emotional food bells clanging...

 

By Kim ODonnel | September 15, 2006; 11:56 AM ET | Comments (8)

Do Your Wash Your Rice?

Soft Diet Salves and Assorted Kitchen Notes Despite my speedy typing, there's never enough time to answer all of the questions submitted in my weekly chat. Here's one left in the queue that needs immediate assistance. Washington, DC writes: I am on a "soft diet" after having oral surgery, and I am going to scream if I have to eat another bowl of soup, plate of mashed potatoes, or smoothie/milkshake. Any recipes/suggestions? Screaming is probably not a good idea after oral surgery, so let's nip that idea in the bud pronto. There are lots of options for food that goes down the hatch without the use of those recovering choppers....

 

By Kim ODonnel | September 13, 2006; 12:22 PM ET | Comments (0)

Kitchen Perfect is Overrated

Close friends came for dinner last night, and the occasion was momentous. This thing called Life recently recently threw them some unexpected twists and turns, and I responded to the news with an impromptu offer of food and drink at casa O'Donnel. Ice cream is one of their favorites, so I knew a batch of the homemade stuff would be a welcome distraction and perhaps yield a few smiles. After much deliberation, I decided on flavoring the ice cream with peaches before they disappeared into the culinary sunset until next year. A little basil thrown into the heated cream and allowed to infuse would lend an additional late summer note, I thought. In spite of my lateness, the custard was moving along nicely and was setting up in the fridge for its churn in the machine. And then I goofed. No, I royally screwed up. With dinner nearly ready, one...

 

By Kim ODonnel | September 5, 2006; 12:10 PM ET | Comments (6)

I Dream of Kitchen Genie

In this week's installment of What's Cooking, a reader from Allen, Texas, asked what my perfect kitchen would look like, a question that stimulated lots of discussion throughout the program. At first, it's easy to mindlessly jot down components of one's dream kitchen -- from floor tiles to ceiling pot hooks -- but I got to thinking: a cook's wish list essentially is a reflection of not only how he/she defines the word "kitchen" but how he/she perceives its role and significance relative to the rest of his living space. For some, the kitchen may be the brain of the house -- the operations center -- where wire, fire and production are at play. For others, it's the nervous system -- where one walks an emotional tightrope (Is my sauce emulsified or broken? Is my dough going to rise?). Or maybe, you regard the kitchen as the feet, providing foundation...

 

By Kim ODonnel | August 23, 2006; 09:35 PM ET | Comments (0)

 

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