Jul 212015

The 2010 signing of Will Write for Food, 2nd edition, at Omnivore Books in San Francisco. I still have that dress! Now I have to remember not to wear it. (Photo by Heather Luhan)

The third edition of Will Write for Food came out last week, and I’ve been busy with promotion. I love in-person events best because I get to see people in real life versus virtual, and wear dresses. Sometimes friends show up for support, which makes these events even more fun, kind of like parties.

So far my summer book promotion — that all-important six-week window — is going Continue reading »

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Jun 302015


The suspense has been killing me. It’s finally time to to tell you about the cookbook chef Craig Priebe and I co-wrote, The United States of Pizza. It comes out September 22, 2015, and today it’s Number 1 on Amazon’s Hot New Releases in Baking list.

Chef Craig and I had so much fun writing Grilled Pizzas & Piadinas that we wanted to Continue reading »

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Jun 162015

At last! I started working on this edition last year and I couldn’t tell you about it until now. The third edition of Will Write for Food, completely updated and with a new chapter on making money, goes on sale July 14, 2015. Today I’m giving away Continue reading »

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Dec 302014

A virtual bouquet for you, dear reader.

Today I’m saying thanks for being a reader. It’s my fifth year of blogging, and I still love writing my weekly post on food writing. Most of all, I love hearing from you and having a conversation.

If you lurk, I’m thrilled to have you as a reader, regardless of whether you’ll ever leave a comment.

If you’re a regular commenter, I’m grateful when you take the time to type something, even if it’s “thanks.”

When you tell me you’re a long-time reader who has finally commented, I love that.

If you have corrected me or told me I’m flat out wrong, I’m thankful that you set me straight or offered a different perspective.

If you have tactfully emailed me about a typo, I am grateful, grateful, grateful. To those of you who Continue reading »

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Jun 262012

On my third date with my future husband, he took me by the house to meet his parents. His mother said she hoped he would find a nice girl and settle down soon.

He did, and she made me a part of the family immediately. Janice Rubin was my mother-in-law for 25 years.

Here she is, licking the straw from a chocolate soda at Fenton’s, an Oakland, CA ice cream parlor she patronized since she was a kid. That chocolate soda, with its mocha chocolate chip ice cream, was one of only two fountain items she ordered. Once she found a food she liked, she stuck with it.

This culinary philosophy was on display when we went to her home twice a year during the Jewish holidays. The courses were the same almost every time, served in order: chopped liver, gefilte fish, boiled eggs in salt water, chicken soup with Continue reading »

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Jul 262011

See those innocent-looking pine nuts? They can poison you! (Photo courtesy of Kent Cameron from A Food Centric Life blog.)

How much do you count on your taste buds, as a food writer? Do you use them every day, as a recipe tester, cook, restaurant reviewer, or just because you love to eat?

Then beware of pine nuts. They can ruin your tastebuds for weeks. Actually, they can poison you.

Last Thursday I ate pine nuts at lunch. The next day, a breakfast of fruit, yogurt and granola tasted especially bitter. Lunch was worse. All three dishes I sampled at a hip new neighborhood place were so bitter I could hardly eat them. While making dinner, I was temped to throw out my salmon chowder because of its metallic taste. It tasted like bad white wine. On a hunch, I asked my husband to sample a spoonful. “Really good,” he pronounced.

That’s when I knew something was wrong. Owen Googled “bitter taste in mouth” and found Continue reading »

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Jan 242011

I planned a dinner last week, hoping to achieve these goals. I wanted to cook for my cousin Dana in Los Angeles, who is dying of cancer.

He requested two dishes that did not go together: spaghetti and meatballs, in honor of his mother’s Italian-Catholic side; and Hamoth, a sweet and sour beet stew made by our Iraqi-Jewish grandmother, which is actually an Indian-Jewish dish.

(Confused yet? Now, if you had an Italian-Catholic mother from New York and an Iraqi-Jewish father from Shanghai, what would your identity be? Dana chose to play the bagpipes.)

I cooked the meal at the home of my friend Mary Ann and her husband Daniel, where my Continue reading »

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