Returned from one full week in Charleston feeling as never before what an exciting food town it has become. While I was there to film more Le Creuset demos at their new headquarters with Taste Five Media, as part of the fun I got to explore the town some more. By chance the Spoleto festival was underway and my dear mum was in town with friends. She’d booked a table at Cypress where Craig Deihl continues to serve house-cured salumi that is second to none in the country that I’ve tasted. My favorite was the Braunschweiger, smoked liverwurst. Most interesting charcuterie note was that for his emulsified sausages, such as the mortadella on the left, he grinds the meat five times rather than using a powerful chopper called a Buffalo chopper. Charleston is one of Read On »

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In honor of the noble city of Charleston, SC, which I sadly depart today, I repost a drink I associate with the South. I had a rather tough go with my first julep experience (below), but I’ve come to regard it as one of my favorite cocktails, especially now as the mint has sprouted and the weather has warmed. I must must must thank four souls who have made this thirteen-hour shoot not seem like even an eight-hour day, owing to the fact that they have been spending eighteen-hour days prepping out the six demos I’m filming for Le Creuset. These souls are, of course, the cooks. Nick Garcia, sous chef at Kiawah Island Club. He’s been the ace chef de cuisine. On the other end Tyler Osteen (@jtosteen), jack of all or at least Read On »

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Stephanie Stiavetti (@sstiavetti) writes The Culinary Life blog. Her first book, Melt: The Art of Macaroni and Cheese, will be published next year by Little, Brown. by Stephanie Stiavetti If you’re a regular reader of Michael’s site, then you’re probably one of a class of people that thinks a lot about food. You might make it a point to buy quality ingredients, mostly prepare your meals at home, and generally spend a fair amount of time thinking about what you put in your body. What baffles me, though, is that despite all the grass-fed beef and produce carefully selected at the local farmers’ market, a huge number of the people in this food-conscious demographic still buy crappy, industrially produced cheese. These folks have educated themselves about many other aspects of what they eat, but are seemingly unaware that these Read On »

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It’s Memorial Day and more families than not have someone to honor. Thankfully I have to go back to Dad’s brother, Uncle Bob, who was killed at age 17 as part of a skiing rifle brigade on an Italian mountainside. My dad was only 6 then, but when he was 60 he found the grave of the brother he’d scarcely known. He took a picture, and after I watched Saving Private Ryan, he showed me the photo and I wept. It was exactly like those crosses that open and close the film. Bob was a talented artist and draftsman I’d never know. I long for a world that doesn’t even need a Memorial Day. Until that time, more cooking and grilling together—that makes things better. Would that I could hover around the grill today with Read On »

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As my dear friend, the eminent biographer, Blake Bailey, knows, I am not to be trifled with in the morning. He actually tweeted that he’d sooner breakfast with a cobra. I’m angry that I’m conscious, I’m angry at the world, I’m angry at the stupidity in every direction, the mirror most of all. After I get a few hundred words under my belt and the writing work is underway, well, birds start to chirp and hope begins to dawn. So it was last Friday was when I made the error of checking Twitter first thing only to find this weird Dr. Hyde version of venerable journalist Peter Kaplan, making demands of me. He’s lucky I checked my twitter feed after today’s 750 words of deathless prose as he’s started it up again. Who the hell is Read On »

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