Describe your latest project.
My new book is called Italian Grill and it has 140 original recipes for cooking on a grill, indoors or out. Like all of my books, the recipes are based mostly on classic Italian technique and ideology, modified just a little with my own interpretative flourishes.
Introduce one other author you think people should read, and suggest a good book with which to start.
Jim Harrison is America's greatest living fiction writer for many reasons and deserves a Nobel Prize. Although every single one of his books and volumes of poetry and short stories is perfect, I think a great start is The Road Home. As you read anything he has written you initially marvel at the complexity of the characters and the realness of their dialogue, both internal and external. The tale in The Road Home is of several generations of families that Jim has explored before, and their exquisite and bumpy ride through the rich terrain of the Native American cultural and physical landscape in the Midwest. As you read further you discover the true protaganist is Harrison himself, his love and Zen-master appreciation of the natural world, and the toll that world's inescapable intersection with civilization can take on human experience. He is funny to the point of laughing out loud, wise to the point of inspiration, and such a wordsmith that I often reread entire pages for the simple pleasure of their cadences.
How do you relax?
I hang out on the beach at my summer house on Lake Michigan with my two boys and my wife. We swim, we play golf, we shoot fireworks, and we cook together. We have almost no schedule except that we go see music in the park on Friday nights; we bring a picnic and the boys play with all of the kids from the town as well as the camp counselers from their day camp. I tend to get up at six and read all morning till they get up. Then I make breakfast and plan the simplicity of the day.
What makes your favorite pair of shoes better than the rest?
My kitchen Crocs are the Air Jordans of their time: they are light (less than 9 oz. each), accessorizable, and they come in beautiful colors. My fave is orange. They are loathed by the fashionistas, who seem to despise all comfort, but are washable in the dishwasher or the lake and last a couple of years if I take care of them. My kids love them too, as they are simply too much fun and too comfortable to deny. It seems that most of the fourth-, fifth-, and sixth-graders in the greater NYC school system agree with me, which is more than I can usually say about George Bush.
Describe the best breakfast of your life.
I make teddy bear pancakes of my design for the boys and half a bagel with smoked salmon, cream cheese, raspberry jam, sliced onion, and Tabasco chipotle sauce for me. Heaven.
What is your idea of absolute happiness?
Breathing!!! I live it every day. I am blessed with a great family, an excellent city to live in, and plenty of great travel opportunities and business choices that I can share with my associates.
What is your favorite indulgence, either wicked or benign?
Steam showers and noninvasive spa treatments make me feel a little decadent but clear my head and make me silly with happy vibes.
Fahrenheit, Celsius, or Kelvin?
Dude!!?? Celsius ? welcome to the 21st century!
Do you read blogs? What are some of your favorites?
I find blogs to be an excellent source of venting and communication, but an unreliable source of valid criticism in my industry, which is filled with kooks and good sports alike. I make the parallel between blogs and writing on a bathroom wall ? those who like it see it, those who do not can just skip it, but almost any comment will be answered by someone with an opinion and a pen or a crayon. Usually the last person to write on either stands at the top of the hill, but the more provocative the topic or subject, the more times it will be written over, for better or worse.
Recommend five or more books on a single subject of personal interest or expertise.
Five Great American Books:
The Autobiography of Ben Franklin
Moby-Dick by Herman Melville
The Sound and the Fury by William Faulkner
Post Office by Charles Bukowski
Less Than Zero by Bret Easton Ellis