What I Will—& Won’t—Regret About My Pandemic Wedding

I didn’t grow up imagining what my wedding would look like. But I did always assume I would get married.

I was lucky enough to have had a happy, fairly conventional childhood. I grew up in a small town in upstate New York in a traditional family of fo…

I didn’t grow up imagining what my wedding would look like. But I did always assume I would get married.

I was lucky enough to have had a happy, fairly conventional childhood. I grew up in a small town in upstate New York in a traditional family of four, with parents who’ve now been married for 36 years. From my limited perspective, that’s just what adults did: they got married.

Read More >>

1,000 Ways to Love Rasam—Southern India’s Signature Peppery Broth

The simplicity of a rasam is a decoy for its depth. At first sip, you may only discern the faint sweetness of a ripe tomato. Then comes the punch of tamarind. You reel momentarily from this affront, but you will soon be soothed by the nutty richness of…

The simplicity of a rasam is a decoy for its depth. At first sip, you may only discern the faint sweetness of a ripe tomato. Then comes the punch of tamarind. You reel momentarily from this affront, but you will soon be soothed by the nutty richness of mustard seeds fried in ghee—called the thalippu, or tempering that crowns this trellis of flavor.

For eons, South Indians of all stripes have claimed an intimate understanding of rasam, a broth (not unlike a stock) that teases complexity out of even the most minimal ingredients. At its simplest, this could mean a tomato or two, or a knob of dried tamarind and a scattering of spices—all allowed to commingle until their flavors merge into a cohesive whole.

Read More >>

Wet Markets Are Essential to Thai Cooking. So Why Are They Disappearing?

In the harrowing early days of the pandemic, Prin Polsuk, a preeminent chef and scholar of Thai cuisine, could source many of his ingredients directly from farms and suppliers outside of Bangkok. But still, he visited Khlong Toei, one of the largest we…

In the harrowing early days of the pandemic, Prin Polsuk, a preeminent chef and scholar of Thai cuisine, could source many of his ingredients directly from farms and suppliers outside of Bangkok. But still, he visited Khlong Toei, one of the largest wet markets in Thailand, almost every day.

“The market makes me feel alive,” he tells me over a choppy video call, his youthful face framed by salt-and-pepper scruff. “I go there to get inspired.”

Read More >>

Everything You Need to Know About Par-Baking

We should all have a solid command of the ABCs of baking. Today, cookbook author Erin McDowell and photographer Sarah Stone are here to help us all make flakier, creamier, just-plain-better pies. This lesson covers how to par-bake pie crusts, so t…

We should all have a solid command of the ABCs of baking. Today, cookbook author Erin McDowell and photographer Sarah Stone are here to help us all make flakier, creamier, just-plain-better pies. This lesson covers how to par-bake pie crusts, so they're crisp, golden, and perfect every time. Plus, all the ways to fill them. 

Alright, you’ve mastered the how-tos of mixing your pie crust. Now comes the pie-related question I am asked more often than any other: How do you handle baking? And a lot of this comes down to par-baking.

Read More >>

How Kibbeh Paved the Way for This Syrian Refugee’s Freedom

Fatima’s kitchen is quiet. It’s six o’clock in the evening, and sirens are wailing to signal the onset of curfew. The streets of Amman are deserted, storefronts are shuttered, schools and mosques are empty, the border is sealed. Anyone who leaves their…

Fatima’s kitchen is quiet. It’s six o’clock in the evening, and sirens are wailing to signal the onset of curfew. The streets of Amman are deserted, storefronts are shuttered, schools and mosques are empty, the border is sealed. Anyone who leaves their home before 10 o’clock the following morning will be arrested. Thousands who have attempted to defy curfew have been taken by roving military patrols.

To Fatima, being trapped at home isn’t really the hardest part—it’s the uncertainty of being able to afford rent and food on a steadily dwindling income. But she is prepared, hopeful even. This isn’t the first crisis she’s lived through.

Read More >>

The Wild, Wondrous Cooking I Do in My Head

In Our World, Before & After, we’re asking our favorite culture writers, cooks, and home/design experts to describe how life will be different after COVID-19—with essays on cooking and being at home, the new ways and foods we’ll eat, plus travel gu…

In Our World, Before & After, we're asking our favorite culture writers, cooks, and home/design experts to describe how life will be different after COVID-19—with essays on cooking and being at home, the new ways and foods we’ll eat, plus travel guides (both real and imagined).


The best meals I have ever made are the ones I make up in my head. I spend a lot of time pottering around up there in the dusty recesses of my mind: I rehearse earth-shaking put-downs; I wonder how I’d explain things like bootcut jeans to an alien (how could an alien ever understand how a couple of inches around the ankle could change your trousers’ entire cultural DNA?); I hash out the details of my dream career du jour—pastry chef one day, psychiatric nurse the next. I date women soccer stars! I skateboard! But most of all, I cook.

Read More >>

This Cult-Favorite 1960s Dish Is Still Wildly Popular—But Why?

Grape jelly and meatballs. Sounds like two options a random word generator might spit out if programmed to a food setting. They couldn’t possibly go together, flavor-wise. Au contraire. In fact, the grape jelly meatball has been a beloved appetizer sin…

Grape jelly and meatballs. Sounds like two options a random word generator might spit out if programmed to a food setting. They couldn’t possibly go together, flavor-wise. Au contraire. In fact, the grape jelly meatball has been a beloved appetizer since at least the 1960s—and it isn’t going anywhere.

The dish is humble: Toss beef meatballs in a sauce of grape jelly and barbecue or a tomato-based chili sauce—always one prepared sauce, and always grape jelly. Stir in lemon juice, sometimes. Simmer until sticky.

Read More >>

These Tasty Little Experiments Will Change How You Think About Food

I’m Sara, and I’ve been a picky eater all my life.

More often than not, the thing that can completely and totally put me off a food is its texture. If it’s too slimy, too creamy, too-any-one-thing, I’m out, no matter how good it may taste. I decided I…

I’m Sara, and I’ve been a picky eater all my life.

More often than not, the thing that can completely and totally put me off a food is its texture. If it’s too slimy, too creamy, too-any-one-thing, I’m out, no matter how good it may taste. I decided I had to figure it out for good: What determines my strong aversion, and will I ever get over it?

Read More >>

How to Eat a Quiche, According to Legendary Editor Judith Jones

One afternoon, I found myself in the presence and home of my hero, Judith Jones. Tucked away in northeastern Vermont , we ate thick wedges of quiche draped with sour cream (it was, I learned after one curious bite, a mingling of fat on fat that accentu…

One afternoon, I found myself in the presence and home of my hero, Judith Jones. Tucked away in northeastern Vermont , we ate thick wedges of quiche draped with sour cream (it was, I learned after one curious bite, a mingling of fat on fat that accentuated the texture of cream and custard alike). We drank white wine from the supermarket that Judith kept stored, re-corked from a previous day’s glass, in the condiments shelf of the refrigerator. Her dog, Mabon, scratched a small hole in the seam of my t-shirt while saying hello, a shirt I still have and a hole I haven’t mended. Ms. Jones told me to call her Judith.

It was August 2016—almost exactly a year before Judith, venerable writer and editor behind some of the most influential American chefs and writers, passed away at age ninety-three. Benchmarks in her long career include, famously, pulling the Anne Frank: The Diary of A Young Girl out of the slush pile; publishing Mastering the Art of French Cooking by Julia Child after its multiple rejections; and exploding the canon of American home cooking with the works of Edna Lewis, Madhur Jaffrey, Irene Kuo, Claudia Roden, Marcella Hazan Lidia Bastianich, Joan Nathan and James Beard, among many others. Judith received the James Beard Foundation Lifetime Achievement Award in 2006, the year before publishing The Tenth Muse: My Life in Food (sixty pages of which I read on the floor of a public library in Vermont).

Read More >>

Homebound: Our Life in Italy Is Forever Changed, but We’re Not Losing Hope

Home is a powerful place for all of us, and its presence feels particularly acute right now. But how do quarantine and isolation affect our perception of the space? Homebound: Dispatches on COVID-19 & How We Live asks this of three writers currentl…

Home is a powerful place for all of us, and its presence feels particularly acute right now. But how do quarantine and isolation affect our perception of the space? Homebound: Dispatches on COVID-19 & How We Live asks this of three writers currently negotiating this reality in different parts of the world—Hong Kong, Seattle, and Florence. We hope their explorations can help us better understand our changing sense of home.


We live in Settignano, a sleepy neighborhood overlooking Florence, fringed by woods and olive groves—the kind of place where everyone knows each other. There's something comforting and safe about being here. Maybe it's the fact the place itself is easy on the eyes, that the community is small and tight-knit, or that it's not the first time that this has been the preferred setting for avoiding a pandemic: Boccaccio's Decameron is set right here in Settignano, in a villa where a group of friends have fled Florence and tell each other stories to pass the time, while the Plague ravages the continent in the 14th century.

Read More >>