Feminist, Uncle, Gadfly: A Conversation with Tim Mazurek

[This is the second in a series of conversations. The first one is here.]If you’re familiar with Tim Mazurek and his site, Lottie + Doof, you likely read “You’re Boring,” a subversive think piece on why food media mostly sucks and how we can …

[This is the second in a series of conversations. The first one is here.]
If you’re familiar with Tim Mazurek and his site, Lottie + Doof, you likely read “You’re Boring,” a subversive think piece on why food media mostly sucks and how we can do better.

In Tim’s view, part of the problem is that professionals in mainstream food media are too similar-minded and too cozy with one another. In his words, they have “worked together, or might someday work together, so nobody can criticize anyone else. Everyone is too busy congratulating each other or promoting each other’s work (often while talking about how shitty the work is behind their back)… Don’t get me wrong, professional camaraderie and friendships are great. But they shouldn’t exclude formal criticism.”

I completely agree and have spent a fair amount of time calling out my least favorite food and lifestyle magazines for what I perceive to be a kind of trend-focused, overly precious, and largely soul-less approach to food and cooking. That being said, it’s probably a bit easier for me to do so as a food media outsider—I have very little to lose. I also don’t really have friends in the business. I don’t know people who work at Bon Appétit, Martha Stewart Living, etc. (Perhaps ironically, Tim himself is the closest I come to having a good friend in food media.)

What I think makes Tim a national treasure is that he does know these people and isn’t afraid to ask for more out of them. Plus, and probably most importantly, he’s not selling anything. He doesn’t pay the bills via his blog, food-writing, or a Lottie + Doof-branded line of pots and pans. Are there any other major names in food who can say the same? And this isn’t meant as a knock to the people who are selling things, myself included (Uhm, buy my book!). Rather, it’s a nod to the magical power and freedom of distance, the idea that when you’re too close to something, you can’t see it clearly—which brings to mind the words of the late, great Bill Cunningham: “If you don’t take money, they can’t tell you what to do.” (Not that there is a lot of money in food-writing.) (Buy my book?)

This brings me to my first question.

Amelia Morris: At one point, I know you were considering writing a cookbook. Are you still?

Tim Mazurek: Ugh. I don't know. I think I like the idea of having written a cookbook better than actually writing one. There are a few issues. First of all, I honestly do not know how to incorporate it into my life. I work full-time (am I the only 9-5 food blogger?) and I have friends and family I want to spend time with. We're also living in the golden age of television—a new season of Fleabag isn't going to watch itself. Time constraints aside, there are too many cookbooks being published and most of them are so very mediocre. I don't want to produce another boring forgettable cookbook. One of the beautiful things about blogging is that whatever I say goes, Lottie + Doof is this world that I have complete control over. Working with a publisher means that I am giving up control of my work and that would be a struggle for me. Plus writing pays shit, which isn't motivating. So, there are a lot of checks in the cons column, at least right now. All of that said, I am still considering a proposal and have a very rough draft that I look at occasionally. I have this idea that I like and some recipes I would like to share. I like the format of a book in that it is finite and an object that would exist in the world. And theoretically, I do like collaborating and would enjoy working on a project like this with the right people. But I don't know if the weirdo book I would want to produce has a place in contemporary cookbook publishing. And all of this presumes that anyone would want to publish me, which they probably wouldn't. I don't know. I'm conflicted. So promise to never ask me about it again, okay?

AM: We started our food blogs at very similar times and about a year before Condé Nast decided to dump Gourmet (end of 2009). Were you a fan of Gourmet? Why or why not?

TM: I did like Gourmet! It was a different time, I was young and innocent and hadn't consumed much food media. Who knows what I would think of it today. But generally speaking, I liked stuff better back then because nobody thought it was cool. More importantly, it didn't think it was cool. It was earnest and nerdy in a way that doesn't seem possible anymore. So much media today seems like it was created by public relations software, it is all hashtags and cross-promotions and celebrity waffle trends. This was why blogs were cool back then, too. They weren't a thing. It was just a bunch of randos who wanted to write about food, it wasn't part of a business plan or brand strategy. I miss those days. I miss Google Reader.

AM: I want to talk more about formal criticism, but also as it relates to informal criticism. I’m specifically thinking about Twitter and online comments. Have you experienced—like I assume most bloggers have—some hateful commenters on Lottie + Doof? Or Twitter? Also, it appears that you can’t comment on your blog anonymously—was that a conscious decision?

TM: I am both unable to keep my mouth shut and very sensitive, which is a terrible combination. And especially poorly suited to the internet. So I live in constant fear that someone will say something mean to me. They occasionally do, but mostly the people who read my blog have proven themselves to be real gems. I love my regulars so much. And I not only prohibit anonymous comments, I also approve all comments from first-timers before they are posted. Both were conscious decisions. I want the site to be a fun place for myself and anyone who drops by. I am more often attacked on Twitter, which I guess is expected....and sometimes I deserve it. Social media isn't the best place to discuss serious topics.

AM: Via your blog, you introduced me to the poem, “I Woke Up” by Jameson Fitzpatrick. I love it so much. It’s such an entertaining and yet still powerful poem. Where did you first come across it? Do you have a favorite line or moment from it?

TM: I am so glad you like it! I came across it on The Poetry Foundation's website. The Poetry Foundation is one of my favorite Chicago cultural institutions. People should visit it when they are in town. And their website is an incredible resource for finding poets and poems. I really like everything about that poem, but especially: Who I thought was handsome was political—which makes me sad.

AM: I am on an ancient Chinese poetry kick. (We’ve all been there, amiright?) Stephen Mitchell’s translation of the Tao Te Ching has given me a lot of comfort in this post-fact world. Since the election, have you found yourself leaning on any particular book or storyline or piece of art?

TM: YES. More generally, I have found that art suddenly seems vital to me in a way that it never has before (and I have two degrees in art!). I am holding it so close—as an escape and as a reminder that humans can be magical little creatures capable of truly wonderful stuff. In December I read The Luminaries by Eleanor Catton and formed what some (my husband) would call an unhealthy attachment to it. You know when you get the right book at the right time? This was the epitome of that. It is such an escape and felt like the only safe space for me for a while. I never wanted it to end. It is this massive text that is a parody of Victorian novels and also a mystery and also about astrology and also about the New Zealand gold rush and maybe my favorite love story ever. It is bonkers. It is the only book I can remember reading that made me gasp out loud at the cleverness of the author. It is just so fucking cool, Amelia. Stop reading this and go read that.

AM: I recently flipped through People magazine and was rather deflated by their description of Glennon Doyle Melton, who is someone I’ve come to know and appreciate solely through her Instagram feed. People tagged her as a: “Christian mom blogger.” Though I guess she is all of these things, the description feels wrong. If People magazine were reporting on you, what would your ideal three-word description be of yourself—knowing that, of course, the whole three-word limitation is the whole problem. Also, speaking of People, who is your celebrity crush? (Also, sorry?)

TM: "Feminist uncle blogger"? Or maybe "feminist uncle gadfly"? I actually like this exercise.

But what I like even more is talking about celebrity crushes. How have we never discussed this before? I don't know how to narrow this down. A perennial favorite is Michiel Huisman, which hopefully requires no explanation. I am deeply into Andrew Scott's performance of Moriarty in the BBC Sherlock series. His energy is so attractive. That one is perhaps connected to a larger theme in my life where many of my celebrity crushes are actors in British murder mysteries. I started a zine in like 2007 called: "Men of Marple" (as in, Agatha Christie's Miss Marple) that was basically me obsessing over the babes on the ITV series that was airing at the time. It was not a widely read zine.

Also, I have a crush on the entire cast of Riverdale on the CW. Literally the entire cast. That casting director deserves an Emmy.
In case the name doesn't ring a bell, that striped babe on the left is Michiel Huisman
AM: Maybe it’s all this talk of nuclear bombs, but I keep thinking about dishes/recipes that I want to make before dying. It’s weirdly motivating. Some of them are quite simple, like this recipe for Green Chutney in Madhur Jaffrey’s latest cookbook. Do you have any bucket-list dishes like that?

TM: I don't think I can relate to wanting to cook in the face of impending death. I'd rather have someone else cook for me in that situation. But I hope to someday make mole and a proper croissant.

AM: I recently read the rules to a 30-day detox touted by Goop. Here are the first seven of fifteen: “1. No alcohol. 2. No caffeine. 3. No dairy. 4. No eggs. 5. No beef, no pork. 6. No shellfish, no raw fish. 7. No gluten.” What are your thoughts on detoxing? Have you ever tried one?

TM: I hate it. The language around this sort of pseudo-science bullshit is intolerable to me. I am happy for you, as an individual, to do whatever stupid thing you want to do. I am not okay when you start telling other people about it and claiming there is science or truth behind it. Nutritional science is incredibly complicated stuff and not easily applicable to general audiences. "Healthy" to one person may not be "healthy" to another. And fuck anyone who calls dairy a toxin.

As for my own experience, once I didn't drink any Coca Cola for a month and that was pretty terrible. I wouldn't recommend it.

AM: Do you think that in order to run for president, you should have to be able to make one really good meal from scratch? Or maybe be able to fry an egg with a runny yolk?

TM: Not at all. Do you? Why would this be important? I'd rather they be good at crying.

AM: Since you asked... Yes, I DO wish presidential candidates could cook. I'm pretty sure this notion is wrapped up in my perpetual naiveté about the world and people. Basically: I see cooking as a form of nurturing—both for the cook and the ones eating the meal. Just imagining either Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton in a kitchen, apron-clad, making a thoughtful meal, relaxes me. The image also reminds me of this line I came across (via Glennon Doyle Melton's Instagram) about peacemaking, which ends with: "[peacemaking] is about a revolution of love that is big enough to set both the oppressed and the oppressors free." I believe that Trump is oppressed by his compulsion to appear hyper-masculine as was Hillary by her need to appear masculine enough. I think they might both benefit by some time in the kitchen. I also believe that caring about making good food leads to caring about where good food comes from which typically leads to caring about mother earth. So yeah, maybe instead of a third debate, there should be a cook-off?

TM: I am less convinced that cooking is always a form of nurturing. I don't think what is happening in restaurants is necessarily nurturing, though sometimes it is. I watched my grandma cook her whole life, more often than not it seemed like a burden. I suspect cooking can be nurturing in the hands of nurturing people, and not in the hands of others. But I think we agree that we would love a nurturing president. Bring her on!

AM: If you could cook for any politician/public servant, who would it be and what do you think you would make?

Is this a trap, Amelia? I refuse to admit to wanting to poison anyone.

I don't have much interest in cooking for a politician. I am skeptical of most of them, especially at the national level. Even the love for Obama that many of my friends seem to feel will always be a bit of a mystery to me. He didn't support marriage equality until it was politically safe for him to do so. I am not naive, I get how politics work, but I don't know how to love a president who spent years telling me he wasn't sure I deserved the same rights he benefited from. Sure, by comparison he was pretty good and I am grateful to have had him as a president. I like leaders who read books and can articulate ideas and appear empathetic. But I don't need to cook for them. They should cook for me.
I would cook this (green chutney grilled cheese) for you, Tim. 

Sample Recipes from Bangkok Cookbook

Photo © David Loftus I thought I’d alert your attention to the feature on Bangkok: Recipes and Stories from the Heart of Thailand which TASTE has put on their website; it contains two recipes from the book. I’ll link to the page in a minute…

Photo © David Loftus I thought I’d alert your attention to the feature on Bangkok: Recipes and Stories from the Heart of Thailand which TASTE has put on their website; it contains two recipes from the book. I’ll link to the page in a minute. I wanted to make a few remarks about these two […] The post Sample Recipes from Bangkok Cookbook appeared first on SheSimmers.

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German Baking and Our Civic Breakdown: A Conversation with Luisa Weiss

Plus, a video of Teddy and me making her Rosinenzopf.After the election, my friend Kara introduced me to the following words by the ancient Chinese philosopher Lao-tzu: “If there is to be peace in the world, there must be peace in the nations. If there…

Plus, a video of Teddy and me making her Rosinenzopf.
After the election, my friend Kara introduced me to the following words by the ancient Chinese philosopher Lao-tzu: "If there is to be peace in the world, there must be peace in the nations. If there is to be peace in the nations, there must be peace in the cities. If there is to be peace in the cities, there must be peace between neighbors. If there is to be peace between neighbors, there must be peace in the home. If there is to be peace in the home, there must be peace in the heart."

I’ve been holding tightly to this notion ever since. (I also read some more Lao-tzu.) When reading the news becomes too much, I’ve actually closed my browser and said aloud, “Peace in the home.”

Another idea I’ve been holding tightly is one I came across via an episode of On Being titled, “The Inner Life of Rebellion.” In it, activists Courtney Martin and Parker Palmer talk about the various, not necessarily straightforward ways we can rebel against injustices we see. We all have different gifts and can contribute differently. In another interview, one with the late poet and playwright, David Budbill, this idea was reaffirmed: “Not everybody should be out on the streets protesting. I have a Buddhist friend who lives near Charlottesville, Virginia. He says, ‘What I do for peace and justice is split wood.’ I respect that. To do no harm is a great service to humanity.”

Right now, for me, finding peace in my heart involves a lot of cooking. It has also made me think of homemaking differently. It’s made me think of it, to put it bluntly, as an act of rebellion.

That being said, in the wake of the women’s march, I felt invigorated. Like many people I know, I wanted to do something more. I thought of my gifts. I then thought of food and my mother—of how she and I couldn’t talk politics over Christmas but how we could talk about what we were going to eat for dinner. Lots of people talk about how divided we are as a nation, but I don’t think that’s true. At least, it’s not the whole truth.

In this new series of conversations with my fellow food writers and thinkers, I hope to highlight all of these above ideas, but mostly this idea that the truth isn’t so simple. The truth is filled with nuance.

In this first conversation, conducted over email, I’m talking with Luisa Weiss—a Berlin-born, American-Italian food writer. She is the creator of the blog, The Wednesday Chef as well as the author of My Berlin Kitchen, a food memoir, and Classic German Baking, a cookbook published in late 2016.

In My Berlin Kitchen, Weiss has a chapter titled “Eating for Heartbreak,” which immediately follows the chapter where after intense consideration and some truly meddling pigeons, she decides to break off her engagement. She writes: “…as black as your days may be—and black they are, that I’ll say—life does, amazingly, go on. As must you, one foot placed in front of the other; one tedious morning after another. And the thing is, you’ve got to eat. You can’t simply drop out of life.” She then goes on to describe a version of a Greek salad. It shouldn’t be so tantalizing and yet it is.

It’s this kind of practical magic that makes me love food. And I think that bewitches Weiss as well.

Amelia Morris: I recently heard the U.K.-born-and-based Zadie Smith talk about her latest book, the main character of which, like herself, is mixed race. She then discussed how her particular shade of skin allows people to see her how they want to—how people have begun conversations with her in Arabic, or Bengali, etc. Can you relate to this as a self-described Berlin-born, American-Italian?

Luisa Weiss: Oh, so much. On paper, I may be Caucasian, but in the flesh, I have very dark hair and eyes and the kind of skin color (olive) and features that have over the years led Arabs, Turks, Persians, Latinos, and Southeast Asians from various nations to ask me if I'm one of them. (Often in their own language and repeatedly, since they're so confident I'll be able to respond!) My mother thinks that there must be some Saracen blood in my DNA from my maternal (Italian) side and on my paternal side, the swarthiness comes from generations of Eastern European Jewry. The ethnic confusion is compounded by the fact that my parents gave me a first name that is relatively familiar in several cultures, including the German one, and an originally Hungarian last name that means "white" in German. So to Germans, I'm doubly, triply confusing—a dark-skinned polyglot with a German name who was born here and can speak the language almost perfectly, but not completely. Weird! On the inside, my identity used to be more confused than it is now. I'm a "third-culture kid" - a child born to people of a culture different than the one they live in—but I didn't discover this term until I was in my early thirties and just ending a significant romantic relationship in no small part because of our inability to bridge the geographical and cultural divide between us. I had always thought my inner turmoil about my identity and where I belonged was something I had to endure alone, but discovering the concept of being a TCK was very grounding. Today, I feel pretty solid about my mongrel (I say that lovingly) identity as an American in Europe, married to a German, living around the corner from my Italian mother, raising bi- and trilingual children.

AM: That’s not even to mention your identities as a mother, wife, writer, cook, daughter, etc. It’s confusing sometimes, right?

LW: I think it's more confusing when you have to explain yourself to others who want a neat and simple answer, actually. These days, it feels pretty normal to be a working mother, a woman with interests outside of the home, and a multinational family. Or at least it feels more normal to me. Thank goodness!

AM: Your latest book, Classic German Baking, is incredibly ambitious. You essentially tackle an entire culture. (I personally felt like I learned so much about the German day-to-day and also feel like I would love to do a cookie exchange with you next holiday season.) Was the idea always this big in scope? And/or how did you come up with the idea?

LW: The idea was even bigger originally—the subject of German baking is so vast that you could, in theory, pen a "Silver Spoon" style book just on this one subject. In fact, the idea of the book terrified me precisely because of its potential size. How on earth would I ever be able to tackle such an enormous project? Luckily, my publisher gave me the freedom to narrow the selection of recipes down to a manageable number that would still ably represent the variety and scope of German baking, but wouldn't tether me to the test kitchen and my desk for the next five years.

As for how I came up with the idea: Before I moved to Berlin and became a full-time writer, I was a cookbook editor in New York. It was there that I first realized the gap in the market where a German baking book belonged. I looked high and low for the right person to write the book, but always came up empty. Life moved on and I found myself in Berlin. Years later, the publisher of Ten Speed approached me to write the book because he too had seen this gap in the market—I'm sure there were other editors too who were on the hunt!—and thought that I'd be the right person to tackle it. Once I got over my initial fears (see above), I was thrilled to be given the task of explaining German Kaffee-Kuchen culture to American readers. What an honor!

As for a cookie exchange with you: Yes please!

AM: Part of the reason I ask is because I like the idea of an ambitious baking project. It feels both feminine and masculine. (When I think of baking, I think of women and homemaking. But at the same time, the word ambitious is often used pejoratively when describing a woman.) Do you think of baking as historically women’s work? In your research of these traditional recipes, did you rely heavily on women’s knowledge or men’s or was it a mixed bag?

LW: Such an interesting question. When I think of home baking, I do indeed see it as more of a woman's thing. Because historically (and, uh, today, still, especially in Germany), women are still largely the ones at home, doing homemaking work, even if they're also out working and getting a paycheck. They're probably the ones getting the Sunday cakes made, they're the ones decorating the gingerbread houses with the kids, and the ones figure out what birthday cake to make when. (Because baking is such a big part of German culture, men are certainly not excluded from it. Many men I know bake at Christmastime and they all have pretty strong opinions on the subject of homemade cakes and cookies.) But professional bakers are largely still men. At all of the traditional, family-run bakeries that I know well in Berlin, the employees in the "Backstube" or "baking room" are men, including the "Meisterkonditoren." The women are the ones in the front, selling the goods. Going way, way back in time to when bakers were in guilds, they were all male—women simply didn't work. So the question of whether baking is historically more male or female is more complicated than you think! At least seen from the German perspective.

AM: You have a beautiful newborn baby at home right now. In my experience, newborns have an amazing, fascinating, and sometimes frustrating way of telling your ambition to take a chill pill. What has your experience been like?

LW: Oooh, sister, YES. It's such an incredible push-pull. On one hand, I love the crazy fog of the newborn time. I love how reduced your life becomes. How concentrated on one little thing it gets. How the days are, in their nuttiness, still predictable (feed, sleep, change, feed, sleep, change, etc etc). How easy it is to tune out everything and just go inward and focus. And because he's our second and last child, I can appreciate and savor the moments so much better than I could the first time around.

On the other hand, precisely because I spend so many weeks in such a reduced state intellectually, when that urge to create rears its head again, it does so with a vengeance. But you can't suddenly plop your kid aside and go off to write for five hours—he'll probably wake up in 23 minutes! That's when the real challenge, as I see it, begins. Learning to juggle your thirst to work and have an identity outside of being a mother with an infant's myriad and constant needs. As I'm feverishly typing the answers to these questions, my baby has been napping on the sofa. Any minute now he's going to wake up and who knows when I'll find the time to be back at the computer again. So I type, type, type like a banshee in the hopes of finishing a thought coherently before the baby cycle starts anew.

AM: Lots of the recipes in Classic German Baking call for a period of rest—whether it’s a few hours or a few months, like the dough for your Lebkuchen (Old-fashioned German Gingerbread). Do you think this idea applies to progress? To our 24-hour news cycle? Anything else?

LW: Yes! Most things (besides salad) benefit from at least an overnight rest, if not longer. Creative work, for sure. Lover's spats, definitely. In general, being able to take a step away from something to get fresh air and a new way of looking at it will benefit whatever you're dealing with. AS for our news cycle, it's complicated. I definitely think that a lot of the "breaking news" stories out there could have used an overnight rest and I generally think the 24-hours news cycle has contributed to our civic breakdown. On the other hand, as someone who has always been interested in the news and who follows it obsessively now (thanks to midnight feeds, the 24-ness of the news is particularly relevant), I'm also grateful for all those hardworking journalists out there who are toiling like crazy to bring us as much information as they can in this very strange new world.

AM: I recently read the rules to a 30-day detox touted by Goop. Here are the first seven of fifteen: “1. No alcohol. 2. No caffeine. 3. No dairy. 4. No eggs. 5. No beef, no pork. 6. No shellfish, no raw fish. 7. No gluten.” What are your thoughts on detoxing? Is there a place for it in German culture like there seems to be in American culture?

LW: My thoughts on detoxing are, to paraphrase or quote Amy Poehler: "Good for her! Not for me." Everything in American culture eventually trickles down to German culture, so there are definitely detoxes in the ether here. On the whole, Europeans seem to have a slightly more balanced view on diet and nutrition than Americans. But the siren song of fitting into your bathing suit come summertime seems to be one that bewitches people across many cultures.

AM: Do you think that in order to run for president, you should have to be able to make one really good meal from scratch? Or maybe be able to fry an egg with a runny yolk?

LW: Ooh, I don't know! I don't think that cooking well inherently makes you a good or moral person. I think a good politician probably doesn't have a lot of time to hone their cooking chops. They're too busy being good public servants, or they should be in any case? I'm old-school—I think politicians should be the ones running for president, not reality stars or even Oprah (God love her). So I guess my answer is no. I'd rather my presidential hopefuls be smart, well-educated and capable of thinking deep thoughts about economics and history and health care and global poverty and prison reform and police violence. If that means they can't even open a can of baked beans, well, so be it.

AM: If you could cook for any politician/public servant, who would it be and what do you think you would make?

LW: I wish I could make dinner for Barack and Michelle Obama. My warm feelings for them have morphed into something far more desperate now—I adore them with a sort of trembly, feverish, terrified love, enhanced, no doubt, by the intense psychological misery that the current occupant of the White House is inflicting on us. I'd invite them to dinner at my mom's house in Italy and we'd have dinner on the patio outside, on the wood table that's water-damaged after years of being out there and under the big sun umbrella my mother put out there when we got married several years ago. There would be homemade tagliatelle with ragù, which is a specialty of the region, and grilled sausages and breadcrumb-stuffed tomatoes, and a big salad with greens from the garden and then baseball-sized peaches dripping juice all over the place and lots of wine and we'd eat and talk for hours until the sun went down and the fireflies came out and by the end, we'd be BFFs and they'd promise to come back every year.
Rosinenzopf (Sweet Raisin Bread) from Luisa Weiss's Classic German Baking

DOUGH
1 cup/240ml whole milk
4 cups, scooped and leveled/500g all-purpose flour
¼ cup/50g granulated sugar
2 teaspoons instant yeast
1 teaspoon salt
5 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon/75g unsalted high-fat, European-style butter, at room temperature
1 egg, at room temperature
½ cup/75g raisins

TOPPING
1 egg yolk
1 teaspoon whole milk
1 ½ tablespoons pearl sugar (optional)
2 tablespoons blanched sliced almonds (optional)

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

To make the dough: First warm the milk slightly. Place the flour, sugar, instant yeast, and salt in a large bowl. Add the milk, butter, and egg and stir to combine. As soon as you have a slightly cohesive dough, dump it out onto a lightly floured work surface and start to knead. Knead for 10 to 15 minutes (set a timer), or until the dough is smooth and elastic. Form into a ball. Place in the mixing bowl, cover with a clean dishcloth, and place in a warm, draft-free spot to rise for 1 hour, or until doubled in size. (For me, this took about an hour and a half.)

When the dough has doubled in size, gently tug it out of the bowl and onto a work surface. Knead the raisins gently into the dough, and then divide the dough into 3 equal pieces. Roll out each piece to a 16-inch strand. Braid the strands together, tuck the ends under the loaf, and place on the prepared baking sheet. Poke any exposed raisins back into the dough or remove and tuck into the bottom of the loaf (this is to keep the raisins from burning in the oven). Cover with the dishcloth and let rise for 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 350F/180C. After 20 minutes, remove the dishcloth and check for any additional protruding raisins. Remove them or poke them farther into the dough.

To make the topping; Beat together the egg yolk and milk, and brush the egg wash evenly over the loaf. Sprinkle the loaf evenly with the pearl sugar, the sliced almonds, or both. Place the baking sheet in the oven and bake for 30 minutes. The loaf will turn a rich bronze. If your oven runs hot and you are worried about the loaf burning, you may cover it with a piece of foil after 25 minutes of baking.

Remove the baking sheet from the oven and let cool slightly on a rack. Transfer the loaf to the rack to cool further. Serve slightly warm or at room temperature, in thick slices. The bread is best the day it is made, but it will keep wrapped tightly in plastic wrap for another day at room temperature. (Matt and I have been eating it for a few days now.)

Bangkok: Recipes and Stories from the Heart of Thailand

In case you’ve ever wondered why I didn’t blog very often in 2016, you’re looking at the reason right now. Having spent most of my waking hours writing, testing recipes, and traveling for my new book project, I am beyond ecstatic to a…

In case you’ve ever wondered why I didn’t blog very often in 2016, you’re looking at the reason right now. Having spent most of my waking hours writing, testing recipes, and traveling for my new book project, I am beyond ecstatic to announce that the book has been completed and, even though it will not […] The post Bangkok: Recipes and Stories from the Heart of Thailand appeared first on SheSimmers.

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Sweet and Sour Red Curry of Water Spinach and Pork Belly (Kaeng The-pho) from Immm Rice & Beyond in Chicago

(This post assumes that you have read its prerequisite.) When it comes to Thai restaurants in the West, the one type that brings the widest range of emotions out of me is ran khao kaeng, rice-curry shops. They’re the ones I hope for (Rotating menu! Var…

(This post assumes that you have read its prerequisite.) When it comes to Thai restaurants in the West, the one type that brings the widest range of emotions out of me is ran khao kaeng, rice-curry shops. They’re the ones I hope for (Rotating menu! Variety! New stuff at every visit!), look for (Why are […] The post Sweet and Sour Red Curry of Water Spinach and Pork Belly (Kaeng The-pho) from Immm Rice & Beyond in Chicago appeared first on SheSimmers.

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