Founder Files: Handmade Baskets, Gold-Dipped Bowls & a Blueberry Grunt

Welcome to the latest edition of Food52 Founder Amanda Hesser’s weekly newsletter, Hey there, it’s Amanda, packed with food, travel, and shopping tips, Food52 doings, and other matters that catch her eye. Get inspired—sign up here for her emails.

I …

Welcome to the latest edition of Food52 Founder Amanda Hesser’s weekly newsletter, Hey there, it’s Amanda, packed with food, travel, and shopping tips, Food52 doings, and other matters that catch her eye. Get inspired—sign up here for her emails.


I recently visited my friend Deborah Needleman, who made an inspiring career change a half-dozen years ago. Deborah created Domino magazine, then ran the Wall Street Journal’s style magazine, and later headed up T Magazine at the New York Times. In a surprise move, she left the Times to learn traditional techniques for making baskets. She studied intensively with leading basket makers in Denmark, England, Spain, and France, then began making her own work, which she now sells.

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Founder Files: A Weekday Lunch for Hot Summer Days & Schoolhouse Sneak Peeks

Welcome to the latest edition of Food52 Founder Amanda Hesser’s weekly newsletter, Hey there, it’s Amanda, packed with food, travel, and shopping tips, Food52 doings, and other matters that catch her eye. Get inspired—sign up here for her emails.

I …

Welcome to the latest edition of Food52 Founder Amanda Hesser’s weekly newsletter, Hey there, it’s Amanda, packed with food, travel, and shopping tips, Food52 doings, and other matters that catch her eye. Get inspired—sign up here for her emails.


I found a new lunch that’s perfect for hot summer days: creamy salmon dip, potato chips, pickled sweety drop peppers, and sliced fennel. I had it at Négociant in Portland, Oregon and I plan to make it in my own kitchen. I may sub in cucumbers for the fennel, or smoked trout for the salmon with no harm done. You want a smoky fish, salty chip, crunchy veg, and pickley chaser. Yes, pickley! To the former Food52 writer I once told she was using “-y” too often to make adjectives, I’m sorry. To the rest of you, here are some cheats to get you started on this lunch!

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Founder Files: Recipes for Ripe Peaches, a Special Offer & Our Nobody Cares Speaker Series

Welcome to the latest edition of Food52 Founder Amanda Hesser’s weekly newsletter, Hey there, it’s Amanda, packed with food, travel, and shopping tips, Food52 doings, and other matters that catch her eye. Get inspired—sign up here for her emails.

Yo…

Welcome to the latest edition of Food52 Founder Amanda Hesser’s weekly newsletter, Hey there, it’s Amanda, packed with food, travel, and shopping tips, Food52 doings, and other matters that catch her eye. Get inspired—sign up here for her emails.


You heard it here first. We’re hosting a special offer this weekend, starting on July 4: free shipping! Want one teacup? Free shipping. Want 47 rolling pins? Free shipping. If you happen to be a Premier member of our loyalty program, you already get free shipping, but don’t worry, you get a treat too: 15% off your purchase! (It’s good to be a loyalty member: Read all about it here.)

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Founder Files: A Good Times Jar, a Reusable Berry Basket & July 4th Recipes

Welcome to the latest edition of Food52 Founder Amanda Hesser’s weekly newsletter, Hey there, it’s Amanda, packed with food and travel tips, Food52 happenings, and other matters that catch her eye. Get inspired—sign up here for her emails.

My family…

Welcome to the latest edition of Food52 Founder Amanda Hesser’s weekly newsletter, Hey there, it’s Amanda, packed with food and travel tips, Food52 happenings, and other matters that catch her eye. Get inspired—sign up here for her emails.


My family started something called the Good Times Jar—every week each family member adds a note about something good that happened that week. It could be anything, but it needs to be detailed, so that at the end of 2024, we can read them aloud and savor the small wins and pleasures from the past year. We keep the jar on our kitchen counter, with a notepad and pen nearby. Every time I see it as I’m rushing by, I’m reminded to slow down the blur and take in the moments.

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Founder Files: New Shops in NY, Bacon-Fried Potato Salad & a Tinned Fish and Condiment Board

Something I’ve noticed: Creative founders of food and home companies are doubling down on shops. My theories on why: 1) The isolation of the pandemic made people understand that as much as we may annoy one another, we also really need to be together in…

Something I’ve noticed: Creative founders of food and home companies are doubling down on shops. My theories on why: 1) The isolation of the pandemic made people understand that as much as we may annoy one another, we also really need to be together in person. 2) The internet is becoming a largely commoditized place dominated by a few soulless behemoths (AI for info, Amazon for basics, Meta for social). 3) If you have a brand and you haven’t already built a following online, the physical world is the next best way to reach and connect with people.

Shopping and eating out are becoming our dominant forms of offline entertainment. A few local stand-outs I’ve admired over the past year or two:

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Founder Files: Brownie Brittle, Coffee Ice Cubes & Egg-Shaped Serving Boards

My mom has been talking up a recipe called Brownie Brittle. As a fan of crisp cookies—she baked her Tollhouse chocolate chip cookies dark, and makes Corby Kummer’s nutty, shard-like biscotti—a brittle is very on-brand for her. Still, isn’t a brownie’s …

My mom has been talking up a recipe called Brownie Brittle. As a fan of crisp cookies—she baked her Tollhouse chocolate chip cookies dark, and makes Corby Kummer’s nutty, shard-like biscotti—a brittle is very on-brand for her. Still, isn’t a brownie’s most appealing attribute its dense, damp interior? (Like this one and this one.)

She brought some brownie brittle on a recent visit, and now I’m talking it up! The cocoa-and-chocolate-chip brittle manifests somewhere between a cracker and a shortbread, and is the kind of sweet you can have after lunch without crashing and falling asleep at your desk. The recipe comes from Chula King in the Sarasota Herald-Tribune.

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Founder Files: What I Learned From an Alcohol Hiatus

If you follow me on Instagram (@amandahesser), you know that I have a feature called “Beer du Jour” where I highlight great craft brews. You may also have noticed that I like an Americano (the Campari cocktail, not the coffee).

Like anyone who gets Ne…

If you follow me on Instagram (@amandahesser), you know that I have a feature called “Beer du Jour” where I highlight great craft brews. You may also have noticed that I like an Americano (the Campari cocktail, not the coffee).

Like anyone who gets New York Times emails, in addition to learning what stretches I should do but don’t, and what sunscreen I ought to have been applying for the last 30 years, I've been told enough about how alcohol disrupts sleep and energy levels. So I decided to do an experiment and stop drinking alcohol completely—not forever, but at least until I could assess the results. I was curious if I’d sleep more soundly and have more zest. It’s been about six weeks, and I’ve been surprised by the results.

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Founder Files: A Fruity Almond Cake to Make Before Rhubarb Season Ends

A couple of weeks ago, I included a photo of a rhubarb and strawberry cake that I’d had for Mother’s Day, and rudely did not include the recipe. Your exasperation was heard! You can get the recipe here.

This cake recipe comes from Ava Chambers, a food…

A couple of weeks ago, I included a photo of a rhubarb and strawberry cake that I’d had for Mother’s Day, and rudely did not include the recipe. Your exasperation was heard! You can get the recipe here.

This cake recipe comes from Ava Chambers, a food stylist, who’s the only person I know who can make cakes without a recipe. But I got her to write this one down! If you wanted, you could make just the cake and you'd have a lovely breakfast or afternoon snacking cake. I think the payoff for roasting the rhubarb and strawberries and spreading them on top of the cake, though, is much greater than the effort. So go on now, do it! Also, toss in all the optionals and get that mint in there, too. They all add more flavor and joy to this delicious cake.

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Founder Files: The End of Party Small Talk

Jojo, Food52’s General Manager and Super Enthusiast, went to an industry party this past weekend where guests were encouraged to choose a sticker that “reflects how you’re feeling.” Options included “not sure why I’m here,” “wearing the wrong shoes,” a…

Jojo, Food52’s General Manager and Super Enthusiast, went to an industry party this past weekend where guests were encouraged to choose a sticker that “reflects how you’re feeling.” Options included “not sure why I’m here,” “wearing the wrong shoes,” and “hoping for the best,” among others.

Photo by Food52
Photo by Food52

As a despiser of small talk, I loved this approach to icebreakers. Some of you may be thinking, “I don’t want to go to any gathering where you’d need icebreakers.” But if you’re an adult on planet Earth, you’re likely to end up at all sorts of dinners, cocktail parties, and weddings where you don’t know people but you’d like to get to know them via something more interesting than: “What do you do?” I hear only New Yorkers ask that, but there’s surely an equivalent lazy opening line in other environs.

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Founder Files: Our Finest Rhubarb Recipes, a Spring Veg Prep Trick & Diner Lingo

Photo by Amanda Hesser

Photo by Amanda Hesser

Above was my Mother’s Day dinner—…

Photo by Amanda Hesser
Photo by Amanda Hesser

Above was my Mother’s Day dinner—roasted salmon over greens, potatoes and asparagus, followed by a rhubarb, strawberry, and mint cake. Note the asparagus without any frippery! Simply steam it and top it with butter and coarse salt. We trade in asparagus techniques here at Food52, but don’t forget to eat them straight now and then, with your fingers, spear by spear.


Catch the Rhubarb Before It’s Gone

We have an unusually deep database of great rhubarb recipes, so I’m here to direct you to some of our finest, most of which came from community members (you can upload your own great recipe here).

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