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Have Card, Will Travel

Throughout my young adult life, a period typically marked by moving from apartment to apartment, I carried the memories of my first eight-month European adventure. No, I didn’t just carry the memories. I carried the cards. If you search online now, you find three ways that small European hotels – the kind that were cheap,…

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Finding Comfort in Food

In food, as in so many things, our highly personalized response to the coronavirus pandemic has striking parallels to, and surprising departures from, the other great trauma of most current lifetimes: the 9/11 attacks. In that case, our leaders told us to go out to eat and spend money. In this case, they told us…

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Detectives, with Subtitles

There are three places among the many I love in Europe that serve as home to three of my life’s greatest heroes. And since I can’t visit the places right this minute, I’m trying to spend as much time as I can with those heroes – who are all, as it turns out, fictional detectives.…

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The Asparagus of Spring

Asparagus can be white if it’s from Germany or purple if it’s from Italy. But for most of us, the long, tapered stalks that announce the arrival of spring are always a delicate green. For many diners, as for many chefs and home cooks, nothing is “more spring” than asparagus. We’ve always loved the stuff.…

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How Ignacio Gave Us Nachos

When a group of Army Air Corps wives went across the border from Eagle Pass to Piedras Negras in the middle of World War II, things looked dim for the Tex-Mex lunch they’d been hoping to enjoy. Knowing his kitchen was closed and his chef had stepped out, a maître d’ named Ignacio Anaya Garcia…

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The Wisdom of Chef Paul

I can’t make Cajun food, Creole food or any New Orleans combination of the two without thinking of the afternoons I used to spend enjoying the company of the late Chef Paul Prudhomme. I’m pretty sure I’ve mentioned in every cooking class I’ve ever taught that he was my No. 1 mentor when it comes…

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The Glory That Is Brunch

Just about the only people who don’t love Sunday brunch are chefs, who insist that being dragged back into their kitchens after a wild, long and late Saturday night is the worst idea that ever crossed anybody’s mind. Everybody else seems to love brunch a lot. There are many claims to “inventing” brunch. Many cities…

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WNO: A Delilah Is Born

Decades before the old Hollywood studio system discovered that Biblical epics could make a lot of money, the opera composers of 19th century Europe discovered the same thing. Toss together a few robes with swords, sandals and gold headbands, and you had the makings of a barn burner. And there were simply more stories in…

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Meatless for the Moment

I was reading a newspaper article from New York the other day, about the thing I probably like least. There’s a hot hip new restaurant serving cheese made from cashews, steak tartare made from split peas colored with beet juice, and even foie gras made from ground sesame seeds. This latest NYC hotspot is devoted…

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Meatball Soup from Mexico

Of all the variations on meatball soup in this world that don’t taste the least bit Italian – from ciorba de perisoare in Romania to bola bola in the Philippines – spiced-yet-also-cooling Mexican sopa de albondigas is our alltime favorite. Make no mistake, we’ve been known to inhale anything with meatballs, but if you happen…

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