Why I Don’t Like French Fries

There are certain categories of opinion you keep to yourself. A friend reconciles with an ex whom you know is no good. Or you can’t stomach an episode of the television series (about tempestuous families and their imaginary kingdoms and dragons) that e…

There are certain categories of opinion you keep to yourself. A friend reconciles with an ex whom you know is no good. Or you can’t stomach an episode of the television series (about tempestuous families and their imaginary kingdoms and dragons) that everyone seems to adore.

It’s not just that the opinion is unpopular—which it might be. Or that you’re avoiding denouncing something innocent for the sake of controversy—which, considering the bigger picture these days, is pretty harmless anyway. It’s that you’d rather not destroy the ground you stand on to say something in the first place—so you keep it to yourself.

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You’ve Been Taught to Braise This Way Your Whole Life. Here’s a Step You Can Skip.

There are times when lazy cooking and delicious cooking overlap. They don’t always overlap, but when they do, it’s glorious. The Venn diagram of this relationship would show lazy cooking as one circle, delicious cooking as another circle, and firmly in…

There are times when lazy cooking and delicious cooking overlap. They don’t always overlap, but when they do, it’s glorious. The Venn diagram of this relationship would show lazy cooking as one circle, delicious cooking as another circle, and firmly inside their small shared overlap, “slow weekend braises.”

In order to achieve peak laziness alongside peak deliciousness, the trick is to know which rules are essential and which can be ignored with impunity.

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Bagels Have a Hole Lot to Learn From English Muffins

In high school I worked at a pizzeria called Capriccio in Croton-on-Hudson, one of those hamlet towns in Westchester, New York. It established my benchmarks for what makes a good slice: thin and airy with a well-cooked crust; sufficiently sauced, but n…

In high school I worked at a pizzeria called Capriccio in Croton-on-Hudson, one of those hamlet towns in Westchester, New York. It established my benchmarks for what makes a good slice: thin and airy with a well-cooked crust; sufficiently sauced, but not too thick a layer that the slick of sweet, slightly acidic tomato impedes the cheese from adhering to the dough. It’s a simple set of dictums from a reputable source.

Be it myth or legend, most New Yorkers believe the city’s pizzas and bagels are superior because of the soft water. The majority of that water comes from the New Croton Dam—the thing my hometown is most famous for—which, upon completion in 1906, was the tallest dam in the world, and the third largest hand-hewn structure after the Pyramid of Giza and the Great Wall of China. Holding nearly 20 billion gallons of water amongst 1 million cubic yards of masonry, it’s quite a feat to behold. I grew up sledding the snowy banks by Croton Gorge Park, set downstream from the spillway where the flowing waters burble by.

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The Best (& Worst) Food Trends From the Past Decade

I went to college in New York City during the first decade of the millennium. It was just after smoking was banned inside bars and restaurants (though you could still sneak one sometimes). Sex and the City was still on television and it was kind of thr…

I went to college in New York City during the first decade of the millennium. It was just after smoking was banned inside bars and restaurants (though you could still sneak one sometimes). Sex and the City was still on television and it was kind of thrilling to know that Carrie’s haunts were just a subway ride away.

On Wednesdays, I had a ritual: I would swipe a free copy of the Times from the student center, cozy up on an armchair, and tuck into Frank Bruni’s weekly restaurant reviews. I lived through those articles. Bruni’s words, by turns decadent and biting, provided a window into the white-table-clothed restaurants that were otherwise inaccessible, what with my $8 an hour work-study gig.

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How Often, Really, Do You Follow This Recipe Instruction?

“Roughly chopped parsley, for garnish.”

In a recipe’s ingredient list, this line is, without a doubt, the one I always skip. Even in Karen Palmer’s eggs in purgatory—a fiery, comforting “cross between an arrabbiata, known for its chile flakes, and put…

"Roughly chopped parsley, for garnish."

In a recipe's ingredient list, this line is, without a doubt, the one I always skip. Even in Karen Palmer's eggs in purgatory—a fiery, comforting "cross between an arrabbiata, known for its chile flakes, and puttanesca, with its briny caper and anchovy flavors." It's telling that nowhere in her detailed headnote (the introductory monologue that often precedes a recipe's ingredients) does she explain why the parsley is there; the only context we get is the clause after the comma in the ingredient's listing: "for garnish."

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This Is, Definitively, the Worst Pasta Shape

If asked: What’s your favorite type of pasta? I’d have a tough time responding.

First off, I have no authority on the subject. I’m less Italian than a slice of Sbarro baked-ziti pizza at a thruway rest stop, aka not at all. My mom, however, grew up in…

If asked: What’s your favorite type of pasta? I’d have a tough time responding.

First off, I have no authority on the subject. I'm less Italian than a slice of Sbarro baked-ziti pizza at a thruway rest stop, aka not at all. My mom, however, grew up in the Bronx, part of an Irish community that borrowed family recipes from their better-fed Italian neighbors. She makes a killer lasagna. I can guarantee there are at least two in her freezer right now, plus extra tomato sauce “just in case.”

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I Will Never Apologize for My Flavored Coffee

Earlier this year, I had an interaction at my bagel place that threw me into a bit of an existential vortex. It was a Sunday morning, in that perfect window where winter turns into spring, and I was filling up at the coffee station. Hazelnut—my little …

Earlier this year, I had an interaction at my bagel place that threw me into a bit of an existential vortex. It was a Sunday morning, in that perfect window where winter turns into spring, and I was filling up at the coffee station. Hazelnut—my little Sunday treat. A cloud of sweet steam was rising from my thermos.

“Hazelnut, huh? Wouldn’t have pegged you for a flavored coffee person.”

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