Top | Newsletter 2011

Culinate Newsletter March 2 11

(mailing, James Berry)

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 h1. Dear readers,

 Culinate is primarily about home cooking, but today two chefs are on my mind; both have compelling food-centric tales to tell, and both have new books.

 I first read about Grant Achatz in 2005, when he opened his now-famous Chicago restaurant Alinea — a place at the forefront of molecular gastronomy in this country. In 2007, when I read that Achatz was diagnosed with stage 4 squamous cell carcinoma of the mouth, it seemed to me to be about the worst diagnosis anyone could receive — especially a chef.

 In his preface to [%amazonProductLink code=1592406017 "Life, on the Line,"] Achatz recounts the moment in 2008 when, after months of radiation therapy, so thin and ragged that he could barely speak, he received the James Beard Award for Outstanding Chef in America. In his acceptance speech, he talked about working with Thomas Keller at The French Laundry, learning something he called "the push": discipline, intensity, dedication, tenacity, and drive. That discipline, Achatz said, would serve him well as he navigated the perilous waters of cancer. He is now healthy and is opening a new restaurant in Chicago. Talk about inspiring. (Read more about Grant Achatz in Janet Fuller's Chicago Sun Times profile.)
 Meanwhile, for years I have loved reading bits of memoir by Chef Gabrielle Hamilton, proprietor of the Manhattan restaurant Prune. With her new book, [%amazonProductLink code=140006872X "Blood, Bones & Butter,"] Hamilton laces together her story, from a childhood where food, parties, and cooking defined a family — until they didn't — to an adult life where food and meaning are inextricably bound. I can't wait to dig into this one.

 While wintry weather persists, and produce offerings aren't as inspiring as they will be in a month or two, now is a good time to find cooking inspiration in reading — and to lose yourself in one of these food memoirs. 

 Just don't forget to make dinner.
 Kim Carlson
 Editorial Director

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story1text: "They may not have made it to the Oscars, but these three films — about growing, eating, and wasting food — are worth a look." 
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story2text: "Here's a slaw recipe everyone will like, with roots that go way back — well, at least to the '90s." 

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recipe2text: "Love spanikopita but resist making it because it's just too much hassle? Here's an easier version."

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