The Legendary Story of Thangam Philip: Food Scientist, Nutritionist, Chef & Mentor

Thangam Philip has crosshatched my life in the most curious ways. My uncle studied catering under her (very) stern supervision. My mother once took a class at the Dadar Catering College, where Philip reigned as principal—in fact, we still have a stack …

Thangam Philip has crosshatched my life in the most curious ways. My uncle studied catering under her (very) stern supervision. My mother once took a class at the Dadar Catering College, where Philip reigned as principal—in fact, we still have a stack of her recipes, typed on sheaves of yellowed, raspy pages, all carefully filed away in a blue plastic folder. As for me: I own newer, glossier, books on baking, but it is The Thangam Philip Book of Baking, with its infallible madeleine and sponge recipes, that I unfailingly turn to.

Whichever way you spin it, Philip was a food legend.

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A Beloved Syrian Dessert & the Inheritance of Loss

Good food is worth a thousand words—sometimes more. In My Family Recipe, a writer shares the story of a single dish that’s meaningful to them and their loved ones.

Back in early February, before the world as we knew it changed, I hosted 20 people at…

Good food is worth a thousand words—sometimes more. In My Family Recipe, a writer shares the story of a single dish that's meaningful to them and their loved ones.


Back in early February, before the world as we knew it changed, I hosted 20 people at my home in Chicago. Crowding around a dining table packed to the edges with my favorite Syrian Jewish dishes, we ate and talked about the Syrian war. It was a benefit luncheon I was hosting to raise money for displaced people of the nearly 10-year old conflict that has, for most of its duration, been a blip on the map of global crises.

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The Quarantine Hobby That Got Me Through the Year

I don’t think I’m alone when I say 2020 has been hard.

As someone diagnosed with generalized anxiety disorder, my thoughts are prone to excessive worry even in typical, pandemic-free years. So when I lost my job due to COVID-19, watched case numbers r…

I don’t think I’m alone when I say 2020 has been hard.

As someone diagnosed with generalized anxiety disorder, my thoughts are prone to excessive worry even in typical, pandemic-free years. So when I lost my job due to COVID-19, watched case numbers rise, and compulsively followed every development of the election, this year served me a layer-cake of anxiety on a silver platter.

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Fresh Tarragon and Its 9 Best Uses

Every week we get Down & Dirty, in which we break down our favorite unique seasonal fruits, vegetables, and more.
Today: All this month we’ll be stocking up on fresh herbs to get our spring fix. Next up, tarragon. Read More >>

Every week we get Down & Dirty, in which we break down our favorite unique seasonal fruits, vegetables, and more.

Today: All this month we'll be stocking up on fresh herbs to get our spring fix. Next up, tarragon.

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My Oma’s Apple Pancakes—& Why They Never Taste the Same Without Her

Good food is worth a thousand words—sometimes more. In My Family Recipe, a writer shares the story of a single dish that’s meaningful to them and their loved ones.

In Marcel Proust’s book In Search of Lost Time, the narrator famously reminisces abou…

Good food is worth a thousand words—sometimes more. In My Family Recipe, a writer shares the story of a single dish that's meaningful to them and their loved ones.


In Marcel Proust’s book In Search of Lost Time, the narrator famously reminisces about tasting a madeleine dipped in tea. We all have these moments, perhaps not as eloquently recounted, but nevertheless indelible in our minds. But did our madeleines really taste that good, or did the lens of time blur reality into a prelapsarian food idyll—before globalization made us more “sophisticated” eaters?

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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.

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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.

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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.”

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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.

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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.

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