In Memory of Christopher Idone (The Dirtiest Dinner Ever)

Last Friday the inimitable Christopher Idone died after a long battle with cancer, and two years in hospice. He was one of the best cooks I ever knew — decades ago he lived and wrote about much of what we know about authentic, simple, seasonal, and regional cooking today. His cookbooks Glorious Food and Glorious American Food (and many others) were revolutionary. I met him when I was 25; he was a legend and I was a kid, but I became his editor on Brazil:A Cook’s Tour, and he took a shine to me and we became great friends. He …

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Stop Picking on Those Poor Little Ramps

Did ramps ever think they would be the subject of so much heated debate?  These wild scallions, which grow in some parts of the country for a short period in the early spring, are always the subject of so much contention.  People love them, as uncultivate-able harbingers of spring, people hate them, because anything that is prized and festishized inevitably becomes the object of scorn by those who are “over them”. I’ve written a piece or two, and a recipe or two about ramps.  I love them.  I love them mostly because they do happen to grow near where I …

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I Forget; Are Ramps Still Cool?

Ramps are a source of much pleasure for many, and some controversy. There has been a lot written about them in the past several weeks, as there always is in the early spring, in our seasonally-crazed food world. On the surface, they are a lovely harbinger of spring, wild leeks that are unable to be cultivated, hence part of their mystique (think truffles), and one of the first vegetables to appear in farmers’ markets and chefs’ menus after a winter of tubers and citrus. They essentially taste like a very garlicky leek or scallion. But because food people tend to …

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