Randoms 4.16.18

First things first: I am curating (sorry!) a small collection of cookbooks that will be sold at Field & Florist, one of the coolest shops in Chicago. My friends Heidi and Molly own Field & Florist, which is a sustainable flower farm in southwest Michigan and, as of last summer, a flower shop/gift shop/art space in Chicago. They’re basically The Best. I picked out a selection of three recently released cookbooks which will be sold alongside some carefully selected vintage titles. I even wrote about why I love each of the books. I am super excited to be contributing to the Field & Florist dream/lifestyle in this small way. Please stop by and check it out, it would mean a lot to me. Tell them I sent you! Or maybe I’ll be there and you can tell me. The shop just opened for the season this weekend and there is so much good stuff.

Erik Hall is a dear friend and all-around-great guy who records and performs music under the moniker In Tall Buildings. His latest album, Akinetic, is wonderful and worth a listen. He’s also touring around a bit and I highly recommend catching him in person if he shows up in your town. I stayed up past my bedtime for his Chicago show.

What are you reading? I finished Conversations with Friends by Sally Rooney, which I can’t stop thinking about. It was so precise. And so far the only author whose inclusion of emails and instant messages hasn’t made me cringe. I learned a lot about writing from the book.

Helen Rosner on the strange and fascinating story of the food scientist (“scientist”?) who fought the Joy of Cooking and how the Joy of Cooking won. read more+++

Milk Bread

Short and sweet: I found this milk bread (more on milk bread here) recipe online, and I love it. It is easy to make and super delicious (don’t be alarmed by the salt content, it is an important part of the pleasure). The recipe makes two loaves, but they freeze like a dream, so you should make both. Simply slice the loaf and wrap well, you can take out a slice or two when you want them and toast from frozen. Breakfast is sorted.  read more+++

Scandibuns and Stranger Things

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It was easy to become a fan of something when we were kids. I wasn’t much of a critical thinker and knew less for comparison so I could easily get behind Star Wars or The Goonies and obsess over the story and characters forever. All kids are superfans. It is somehow more embarrassing for me to do this as an adult. It is harder to abandon all reservations and embrace something so completely. This is my nature, I am a skeptic—often at the expense of my own peace or happiness. I am always a little jealous when I see adults dressed as superheroes at Comic-Con or the wonderful weirdos who have turned their homes into mini-Hogwarts or something equally ridiculous. They seem to have held on to something I lost. But occasionally there are still moments when I enjoy something outright. I am able to ignore think pieces telling me why the thing I love is terrible and partially responsible for global warming. I don’t care. Fuck global warming, I love Stranger Things. read more+++

Nan-e barbari


Chicago has something called the Jean Banchet Awards, which are described on their website as “the only Chicago-based award ceremony recognizing culinary distinction in the Chicagoland area”. That is all you really need to know about the awards for our purposes, other than the fact that they recently added a category called “Best Ethnic Restaurant”. I looked to see if I could find a description of what the organization thinks an “ethnic restaurant” is, but I couldn’t find anything. I guess it goes without saying. It is particularly confusing because restaurants like Momotaro (Japanese), The Radler (German), Osteria Langhe (Italian) are not nominated in the “ethnic restaurant” category but rather in the “best restaurant” category. If they are not “ethnic restaurants” then “ethnic” must be code for something else.

Ugh.

Flour Tortillas


I know it’s not cool to like flour tortillas. I don’t care, I love them. I would go so far as to say I prefer them to their corny siblings. Lump it into the pile of uncool things I enjoy, like early dinners, certain One Direction songs, and thinking about what foods are or are not cool.




I’ve had a little bit of a crush on Josey Baker since I first discovered his blog a few years ago. For those of you who don’t know him, he’s a guy who fell in love with baking bread and became one of the kings of bread in San Francisco (check out this video for more). He’s partially responsible for the toast trend that we discussed earlier. He’s also really charming. I haven’t met Josey, or visited The Mill (his bakery), but I know I’d like him. And having spent the last couple of weeks reading and baking from his recently published cookbook, my feelings have only grown stronger. read more+++

English Muffin Bread


A few years ago I told my friend Sandra that I thought she should be selling toast, that it would be the Next Big Thing. I like to think that I was prophetic, but who knows—maybe I had heard rumblings. It’s now a cliche, and “hipster toast” has been simultaneously ridiculed and worshiped across the land. It would be easy for me to dump it into the same Dumb Stuff category that I reserve for things like Kinfolk, mustache irony, and articles trying to convince us that food and fashion are not strange bedfellows. Except, it’s toast and unlike those other things, it has a soul (for lack of a better word). Though its current moment may be slightly annoying, toast is a food for the ages. We’ll enjoy toast even when mustaches are taken seriously and Kinfolk has found a sense of humor. read more+++

Malted Buttermilk Biscuits for Linda


Sarah Linden is the name of the main character in AMC’s drama The Killing. Her colleagues call her Linden, because they are police officers and that’s how they roll. But for the first few episodes I misunderstood what they were saying and thought her first name was Linda. When he realized this, Bryan had a good laugh at my expense. I still call her Linda.

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Linda (played by the totally amazingly awesome Mireille Enos) is a tough nut to crack. Despite being kind of a shitty (though loving!) mom, a terrible partner (her poor fiancé!), and a loose cannon of a cop (what rules?!) she somehow manages to elicit an unusual amount of empathy from me. I love her. Love. I love her smarts. I love her sense of justice. I love her silence and her rage. I love her Fair Isle sweaters and somber parkas. I love her constant gum chewing. I love her ponytail. read more+++

English Muffins

English muffins are one of the first foods I can remember eating. My mom has always liked eating breakfast at diners, and as a child I would accompany her to various diners on the southwest side of Chicago. This was in the days when you could smoke in a diner, which lent a certain ambiance that doesn’t exist any more. They were pretty magical places full of regulars, and sassy waitresses. Our usual order was two English muffins and an order of bacon (crisp, please!), which we would split. She had coffee, black, and I had orange juice. It was fun.

When I was a teenager I made a lot of English muffin-pizza-things. It was a good after school snack at a time when I was always hungry.

In Paris I like to get the muffins from the American guy at the farmers market on boulevard Raspail. They are delicious, and a good venue for Bordier butter or preserves.

You see, English muffins and I go way back. I keep hoping there will be an English muffin renaissance in Chicago, but it is all bagels right now. Which left me no other choice but to make them myself. read more+++

I Made You A White Pizza

“I made you a white pizza” was said by Jennifer Aniston on an episode of 30 Rock a while back. For some reason it struck me as funny and has stuck with me. Maybe because white pizzas seem a little sillyfoodie, and also Jennifer Aniston. But white pizzas are also delicious. At the time, I thought it would be an amazing blog post title. I guess I still do.

I did make you a white pizza but I was so excited about it that I forgot to take photos. So I made you a red pizza and managed to take some pictures—not because it was any less delicious or exciting—but because I had gotten over the initial shock of having made a good pizza at home. read more+++