How to Shop For Cheese, According to An Expert

That Cheese Plate is a column by Marissa Mullen—cookbook author, photographer, and Food52’s Resident Cheese Plater. With Marissa’s expertise in all things cheddar, comté, and crudité—plus tips for how to make it all look extra special, using stuff you …

That Cheese Plate is a column by Marissa Mullen—cookbook author, photographer, and Food52's Resident Cheese Plater. With Marissa's expertise in all things cheddar, comté, and crudité—plus tips for how to make it all look extra special, using stuff you probably have on hand—we'll be crafting our own cheesy masterpieces without a hitch. This month, Marissa is sharing how to make the most out of shopping for cheese.


Shopping for cheese can be an intimidating process. There are countless styles to choose from, wide price ranges, different milk types, and many countries of origin. In my years of cheese plating, I’ve learned to always invest in good cheese, specifically cheese from a farmstead or small-batch dairy farm. Typically at these smaller operations, the animals are treated sustainably, and the cheesemaking process isn’t completely mechanically produced. The cheese is the base of your creation, acting as the founding flavors to build pairings upon. With high-quality cheese, the sensory experience is much more impactful.

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How to Keep Your Scrambled Eggs From Getting Rubbery

We’ve teamed up with Eggland’s Best to share egg-cooking mistakes we’ve probably all made before—plus, what to do instead so a good egg never goes to waste again. Speaking of good eggs, we’re fans of Eggland’s Best Classic Eggs. These farm-fresh eggs n…

We’ve teamed up with Eggland’s Best to share egg-cooking mistakes we’ve probably all made before—plus, what to do instead so a good egg never goes to waste again. Speaking of good eggs, we’re fans of Eggland’s Best Classic Eggs. These farm-fresh eggs not only taste great, but are an excellent source of vitamins E, D, B2, B5, and B12, as well as lutein and omega-3 fatty acids. Even better, they stay fresher for longer compared to ordinary eggs, making them one of our go-to fridge staples.


Eggs were one of the first things I ever learned to cook, and they’ve been a go-to staple ever since—for a quick breakfast, baked good, custardy dessert, appetizer, and more. Though making eggs may seem like an easy task, there's been more than one occasion where I’ve accidentally let a perfectly good egg end up in the trash can.

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Everything You Should Know About Agar-Agar—& How to Cook With It

Gelatin is not vegetarian. This is not a surprise to you. The good news is that there is a vegan substitute for gelatin called agar-agar, which is a product derived from algae. Agar-agar looks and acts similar to gelatin, but it’s made without any anim…

Gelatin is not vegetarian. This is not a surprise to you. The good news is that there is a vegan substitute for gelatin called agar-agar, which is a product derived from algae. Agar-agar looks and acts similar to gelatin, but it's made without any animal products at all, making it just right for any home cook or baker. What might be a surprise—especially if you're not vegetarian, vegan, or avoiding pork for any reason—is just how many things include gelatin as an ingredient. Marshmallows, many chewy candies, panna cotta. Jell-O. All of them owe their texture to gelatin, in all its swingy, bouncy, jiggly, chewy glory. I've been crossing my fingers, as a vegetarian, for a gelatin substitute that would replicate that texture perfectly. But alas, even the staunchest of vegans would admit that nothing can match gelatin's elastic, jolly properties. However, there is one product that may come close—the algae-derived agar-agar, aka agar. Ahead, find out exactly what agar is and how to use it in place of gelatin.


What Is Agar?

Agar, which you can buy in health food or Asian specialty food stores (usually in either powder or flake form), is a thickening and gelling agent, and most use it to make a firm, Jell-O-like food. You use it the same way you would gelatin, too: Dissolve and hydrate the agar in warm liquid and let set. Agar is one of those ingredients—like wheatgrass, hummus, and sprouted bread—that sounded like the punchline in a health-conscious parent's kid's lunch box, until it became cool: Although agar-agar has been used for centuries in Asian cooking (it was discovered in Japan in the 17th century), it has been seeing popularity elsewhere, especially in vegan cooking (see: the raindrop cake's debut at Brooklyn food festival Smorgasburg, where it goes for a cool $8 a pop). You may also recognize agar-agar from your chem lab days: The stuff folks cook with is the same stuff that's poured into Petri dishes for culturing bacteria.

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Every Question You Should Ask Before Signing a Lease

Rent Like You Mean It is a series all about giving our rental spaces a new lease. We’ve rounded up a whole host of refreshing spruce-ups (and cover-ups), impactful DIYs (plus how to get them back to square one when you leave), and peeks at real-life re…

Rent Like You Mean It is a series all about giving our rental spaces a new lease. We’ve rounded up a whole host of refreshing spruce-ups (and cover-ups), impactful DIYs (plus how to get them back to square one when you leave), and peeks at real-life rental transformations. Because a lease should never stop you from having a space that feels like yours—even if it’s only for a year.


I learned so much from a decade spent living in New York City, but one of the biggest things was just how hard it is to find an apartment that’s right for you. We’re talking literally a full time job searching for your next dwelling, only to find out it’s the size of a closet/is a fifth floor walk-up/is off an out-of-commission subway line/has already been rented/insert New York City real estate tragedy here.

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Yes, You Should Be Cleaning Your Air Conditioner—Here’s How

The first heatwave of the year hit New England this week, bringing several days of 90-degree temperatures and leaving my boyfriend and I scrambling to install window air conditioners throughout our house. Of course, our ACs were stashed in the basement…

The first heatwave of the year hit New England this week, bringing several days of 90-degree temperatures and leaving my boyfriend and I scrambling to install window air conditioners throughout our house. Of course, our ACs were stashed in the basement over the winter, which meant they were covered in dust, cobwebs, and the occasional spider, and we had to clean them thoroughly before popping them in the windows.

If you’re in a similar situation, there are several steps you’ll want to take to clean your air conditioners before installation. Luckily, the whole process should only take an hour or so, meaning you’ll be able to enjoy cool, refreshing breezes before the day is over.

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The 4 Basque-Pyrenees Pantry Essentials in My Kitchen

Welcome to Asha Loupy’s Pantry! In each installment of this series, a recipe developer will share with us the pantry items essential to their cooking. This month, we’re exploring four Basque-Pyrenees staples in Asha’s kitchen.

As a longtime home cook,…

Welcome to Asha Loupy’s Pantry! In each installment of this series, a recipe developer will share with us the pantry items essential to their cooking. This month, we're exploring four Basque-Pyrenees staples in Asha’s kitchen.

As a longtime home cook, former grocery buyer for a specialty food shop, and now recipe developer, my pantry remains much more well-traveled than I am—from Malaysian sambal and shrimp paste to Pragati turmeric from Andhra Pradesh, to Spanish extra-virgin olive oil and Basque peppers. The euphoria I was filled with at the first thought of sharing my pantry was quickly replaced by stomach-dropping dread—what region or country was I actually qualified to write about?

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Here’s How to Properly Shut Down a Grill After a Barbecue

Inspired by conversations on the Food52 Hotline, we’re sharing tips and tricks that make navigating all of our kitchens easier and more fun.
Today: Shutting down a grill is just as important as starting it up. Read More >>

Inspired by conversations on the Food52 Hotline, we're sharing tips and tricks that make navigating all of our kitchens easier and more fun.

Today: Shutting down a grill is just as important as starting it up.

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How to Clean Your AirPods Without Ruining Them

Whether you’re trying to find one of them, worrying that your pet ate them, or actually wearing them, you probably aren’t thinking about cleaning your AirPods. For some of us, it’s only when we take them out and find a particularly gory glob of earwax …

Whether you’re trying to find one of them, worrying that your pet ate them, or actually wearing them, you probably aren’t thinking about cleaning your AirPods. For some of us, it’s only when we take them out and find a particularly gory glob of earwax stuck to them that it even occurs to us that, much like our sheets or shower curtains, our beloved wireless earbuds should probably have their own cleaning schedule. In addition to avoiding the jarring visual described above, it’s also in the interest of our health to do so.

“The ear canal is a dark, warm, moist, closed space and is prone to infection,” explains Erich P. Voight, MD, associate professor of otolaryngology—head and neck surgery—at NYU Langone Health. “Blocking it off with anything can cause the environment to get infected. If the object placed inside is ‘dirty’ then an infection is likely.” He adds that ear infections are usually indicated by pain, swelling, itchiness, and even hearing loss or fever. If you’re experiencing these symptoms, regardless of your AirPods’ cleanliness, get in touch with your healthcare provider.

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How to Make Your Cleaning Routine *Way* More Efficient

We’ve teamed up with Miele to share smart tips and tricks for making your cleaning routine more productive. But before you get started, you’ll need the right tools—check out Miele’s HomeCare collection to find out which of their vacuum cleaners is righ…

We’ve teamed up with Miele to share smart tips and tricks for making your cleaning routine more productive. But before you get started, you’ll need the right tools—check out Miele’s HomeCare collection to find out which of their vacuum cleaners is right for you.


There are two types of people in this world: those precious few that thrive on the before-and-after thrill of deep-cleaning a toilet and...the rest of us. For many (raises hand), cleaning remains something to avoid or procrastinate through creative clutter shuffling. But what if cleaning could become the most productive part of your day—where you not only get the living room rug fluffy and clean, but you also catch up on that true-crime podcast episode you’ve been meaning to listen to.

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7 Simple Cooking Tips for Your Eco-Friendliest Kitchen

With The Climate Diet, award-winning food and environmental writer Paul Greenberg offers us the practical, accessible guide we all need. This new release contains fifty achievable steps we can take to live our daily lives in a way that’s friendlier to …

With The Climate Diet, award-winning food and environmental writer Paul Greenberg offers us the practical, accessible guide we all need. This new release contains fifty achievable steps we can take to live our daily lives in a way that’s friendlier to the planet—from what we eat, how we live at home, how we travel, and how we lobby businesses and elected officials to do the right thing. Here, Paul shares a whole host of simple tips to make our cooking—and yes, our kitchens overall—a whole lot more sustainable.


With the news this month that Eleven Madison Park, by some measures the most famous restaurant in the world, has gone vegan, I think it’s safe to say climate-conscious menu planning has gone mainstream. Queries for vegan recipes now regularly top Google food searches and any number of plant-based meat replacements are now widely available at American supermarkets, potentially pairing with millions of tons of emissions off of our meals.

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