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Author Archive: "Lynne Rossetto Kasper"

Past Glories: Ma Gastronomie Returns and an Old Book Is New Again

In hearing that Ma Gastronomie, the book about French restauranteur Fernand Point, was being republished after decades out of print reminded me of how valuable seemingly out of fashion food books can be. Point was a one of a kind, larger than life, obsessive lover of food and all that went with it. Even though I didn't eat at his restaurant until 22 some years after his death, his presence was everywhere, and the food shined. For me that meal in 1977 was the beginning of a chronological study of how modern French cuisine had evolved. But let's get back to the book, because the story is all there.

Ma Gastronomie was first published in 1969 in France. The book is an icon for many chefs. For me it was the beginning of understanding modern food. Fernand Point was a French chef and restauranteur who trained in the traditions of Escoffier. In the 1920s he opened a restaurant south of Lyon called La Pyramide. People adored him and ...

The Writer’s Trap and Why Irwin Goldstein Doesn’t Eat Chicken

Every writer knows this trap. The words just flow onto the screen, your soul in all its naked brilliance is becoming one with the page, you are not merely writing truth you are bringing it to life with every stroke of the finger.

Experience yells in your ear, "Do not under any circumstances hit the send key!" Go away for at least day, then come back and read. Brace yourself, because nine times out of ten your brilliance is drivel. Rarely does writing slip out this easily.

That said, I am taking a chance. At a food writers conference a decade ago a story came out of my head that was dangerously like the experience I just described. Yet, as I read it again, I realize I'd like to send it out on its own. It's a kind of writing that doesn't fit into most of what I do. So in the spirit of "This is what I wrote and please take it as you will," here is the story that came out of a writing exercise back then. ...

Dinner Dynamics

Several years ago an email came in from a listener that ran like this:

Dear Lynne,
Dinner dynamics intrigue me. Gather a group at a table and inevitably someone ends up being ignored while everyone else talks. It is hurtful, yet is there a solution?

My original answer was this: If you get to decide who sits where, arrange guests by personal chemistry. Seat generous engaging types who naturally bring out the best in others next to shy ones. Pair up outgoing, potential scene stealers who love to talk. They'll work all evening at enthralling each other, while giving the table just the right measure of entertainment.

Years ago an even better solution existed. Etiquette dictated you talked to the person on your right through the first half of the meal and the one on your left during the second half. Pretty civilized.

Since that email there's been more musing over this question of dinner dynamics, not a little personal trial and error experimentation, and a lot of gathering of wisdom from others. Today, in interviewing designer Isaac Mizrahi, I found ...

Pork Theft and Improvising

Someone has taken off with my pork roast. It was in the downstairs freezer, a frozen lump a lot like all the other frozen lumps that numbly bear witness to my inability to throw out anything remotely eatable.

I know why someone took it. The thief didn't care that the roast comes from one of the great pork farmers in the market, or that the roast was the pork connoisseur's cut, the shoulder butt. Whoever nabbed my roast probably grabbed it because it was one of the few items in the freezer dated after 2004.

When we were moving from Denver to Brussels in 1981, friends held a mock freezer auction, selling off the contents of our freezer as archeological finds. The 1976 demi-glace brought $225. Think what that would be in today's money. I cannot bring myself to throw out food; nor can I bring myself to using up what I see as once-in-a-lifetime culinary opportunities.

But I digress. I dubbed this missive "Improvising" for a reason. My perfectly marbled hunk of Duroc pork was gone and ...

A Writer’s Take on “What I Did On My Summer Vacation”

When the body was hauled off the plane a week ago Sunday, any resemblance to the bright eyed, highly verbal creature that had left St. Paul three weeks before was purely coincidental. I was finally home after a 20-day stretch on the road doing a book tour to promote our new tome, How to Eat Supper.

( Now, from the outside looking in, book tours look like a string of days at the beach. You do stage shows, cooking demos, all kinds of interviews for press, radio, and TV, and intimate little dinners at very good restaurants with 50 or 60 folks who have paid amazing amounts of money for the privilege of being in the same room with you. Yes, for this little window in time, it is all about you, and your deathless prose.

Reality is something else again. Usually this "you time" begins at 6 AM, goes nonstop to midnight. It always includes running to catch yet another plane for yet another city, and always presents the ...

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