Parma Day 2

prosciutto di Parma in Torta

The Osteria La Maesta in Emilia-Romagna is a lovely family-run open-air eatery where the good life is made of simple, delicious bites and a bottle of Malvasia seco frizzante. Addictive fried puffs of dough called Torta Fritta…

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Parma : Ghirardi Onesto producer of Prosciutto di Parma

Paolo with freshly-showered hams

I was lucky enough to spend the morning inside the Ghirardi Onesto production facility in Langhiarano as a guest of the Consorzio del prosciutto di Parma where, along with Elissa Altman and Rowan Jacobsen, we watched Paolo, the production manager, show us everything from salting the hams to showering (the hams) to testing with a ...

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le club sandwich Italiano

le club sandwich for dessert

Not only did Chef Rossetti pull out all the stops, he also has a tattoo of the prosciutto di Parma crown…on his thigh. He showed it to me on his iphone but would not let me get a photo.

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Summer, Lucini, and the Essence of Amalfi…

photo Dan Schumacher

I’ve been working all week with talented (and hungry) writers in Seaside, FL at the Floating Island Writers’ Workshop. Aside from my editing duties and acting as Camp Director, I’ve been making sure all are well fed. We’ve been able to appreciate fresh local Gulf seafood from Goatfeathers; thankfully, this part of the Gulf hasn’t ...

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Afternoon Snack: Chivda, Indian Peanut Trail Mix

Chivda Indian Trail Mix

Suvir Saran decided to toast up some chivda, “Indian Trail Mix” for our book signing at Sundog Books later this afternoon. Thanks to the NATIONAL PEANUT BOARD, we were spoiled with treats–everything from travel peanut butter snacks to delicious ROYAL OAK Peanut Brittle, a favorite of the participating writers.   As he searches for spices, I hear ...

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Yale: Celebrating Our Sweet and Savory Heritage

Yale Master Marvin Chun and Miya's Bun Lai

This is a belated note to say thank you to Yale, Master Marvin Chun of Berkeley College, and students Paulina, Eunju, Jerry, Christine and so many more for hosting a wonderful gathering of students and authors to discuss food, words, and what it means to follow, not what others want for us, but to take ...

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First Bites: Alaska

Sue, Paul, Neil

From the moment I landed in Alaska, I have been overwhelmed by the abundant and majestic beauty of this other world, which explains why so many have come here from elsewhere and found a place to call home. I was fortunate to spend the day with Sue and Paul–former Atlanta residents–who fell in love with this ...

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Seattle Eats and More


  I love Seattle, love the water, the favas and morels on every menu this time of year, fresh crab and oysters…the markets. Spent 3 glorious days and dined at, among other places, Restaurant Zoe and Tom Douglas’ Serious Pie. (You can order the decadent triple coconut cream pie from the bakery next door for dessert.)      

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Reward Yourself: Go Green with artichokes, fresh garbanzos, mint, and more

artichokes with fresh mint, lemon slices, fresh thyme

I just got back from a quick 24-hour trip to speak at Berkeley College at Yale (more on that in the next post) and now, 5 airplane and 2 shuttle rides later, it’s time for a relaxing Sunday supper with friends. We’re cooking up a perfect simple menu to celebrate the season: leg of lamb ...

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No Grits, No Glory

fried green tomatoes on basil goat cheese grits

I’m into the final testing of recipes for Tupelo Honey Cafe and their upcoming cookbook. Today, I had a kitchen full of grits–McEwen and Sons stone ground grits, quick-cooking, yellow, blue…Here are some shots from today’s testing: fried green tomatoes and basil goat cheese grits. A dash of Tabasco green pepper sauce is always a ...

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Every Day in Tuscany, a new memoir by Frances Mayes

Tuscany in bloom

I was recently honored to write a guest Amazon review for the wonderful new memoir by Frances Mayes. Frances, a poet at heart, is one of the most gracious and generous people I know, and EVERY DAY IN TUSCANY (Broadway Books) is one of the best books I’ve read in a long time. EVERY DAY IN ...

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Tupelo Honey Cafe Cookbook Shoot in Asheville, NC

tupelo honey cafe fried chicken blt

Fried Chicken BLT, just one of the many Southern-inspired dishes you’ll find in the cookbook. Those of you who have been keeping up with the recipe testing I’ve been doing for the forthcoming Tupelo Honey Cafe Cookbook know that I am almost finished and in need of a major juice cleanse (and some soul-soothing, body ...

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The Floating Island Writers’ Workshop

2010 Floating Island Workshop with Kim Sunee

Last summer, we held our first and very successful writing workshop in Seaside, FL. There were poignant stories, fish tacos, salted caramel cupcakes, wine, Champagne, the sea, a roving gourmand (aka Pableaux) who cooked up red beans and rice, twilight dancing, and so much more. I’ve received many requests to organize more writing workshops at the ...

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Catie’s King Cake Royale


Many of you have emailed me about Catie’s King Cake Recipe. It’s here (below). To cheer on the Saints in the Superbowl, we had a big gathering. Among many delicious bites, we had Essington’s “I Guess I’ll Go On and Be Tender Now” Ribs, Muffalettas w/Central Grocery Olive Salad, Martha’s Bourbon Pralines, Indian-Spiced Wings, flaky ...

(Includes a recipe for Catie's King Cake Royale)

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Chocolate Pecan Pie

Heart of Darkness Tomato Tart

More recipe testing for the upcoming Tupelo Honey Cafe Cookbook. And Brian’s Tomato Pie (think almost Pimento cheese in a shell) was the hit among taste testers…Cookbook coming soon. Thanks to Beau for the photo.

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more recipe testing–discovering the joy of Ritz crackers

Brian's Ritzy Oysters (photo Dan Schumacher)

I don’t remember growing up eating Ritz crackers, but since I’ve been testing recipes for the upcoming Tupelo Honey Cafe Cookbook, I’ve had the pleasure of buying and eating these golden rounds of buttery goodness. Chef Brian Sonoskus at Tupelo Honey Cafe in Asheville has lots of good tricks up his chef’s coat, including crumbling ...

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Thanksgiving, One Plate at a Time

Thanksgiving 2009

Earl Grey-Cranberry Relish, Roast Turkey with Prunes and Kumquats, Grammy’s Cauliflower Gratiné, Straight-Up Cornbread Dressing, Sweet Potato Yeast Rolls, and more… For those who have asked for some of the recipes for this meal, the Sweet Potato Yeast Rolls came from We found the honey butter recipe could be cut in half or use leftovers ...

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Book Club Groups, Trail of Crumbs, San Franciso to Birmingham

Jessica Collins (photographer) Anja Simms, Melissa McMahon, Christina DeChristopher, Laura Sloan

I don’t know how books help but sometimes they do make us feel a little less alone… I’ve been very fortunate to participate in many Book Club meetings where readers have gathered to discuss Trail of Crumbs. The book lends itself to lots of good food and drink and some soul searching. It’s amazing how people ...

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A spoonful of passion


Eating L.A.: Osteria Mozza, Street Food and more…

Osteria Mozza, L.A.

Here are some quick tasting notes from a few days spent in L.A.: At Susan Feniger’s Street, I discovered a new (to me) hangover remedy–Singapore-style–Toast spread with thick Kaya (coconut) jam that you dip into runny egg yolk drizzled with soy sauce. Author Pat Tanumihardja is working on a Kaya recipe to share but sent this ...

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