A former picky eater, Stephanie V.W. Lucianovic is a writer, editor, and lapsed cheesemonger in the San Francisco Bay Area. A culinary school grad with an English lit degree, she has written for CNN.com, MSNBC.com, Popular Science, The New York Times, The Washington Post, and The Boston Globe. Additionally, she has been writing for KQED's Bay Area Bites since its inception and is the website editor for KQED's Emmy-award winning show "Check, Please! Bay Area."
Stephanie was an original recapper at Television Without Pity and worked on a line of cookbooks for William-Sonoma as well as in the back kitchen of a Jacques Pépin cooking show. Her first book, SUFFERING SUCCOTASH: A Picky Eater's Quest To Understand Why We Hate the Foods We Hate (Perigee Books, 2012) is a non-fiction narrative and a heartfelt and humorous exposé on the inner lives of picky eaters that Scientific American called "hilarious" and "the perfect popular science book for a reader that doesn't think he or she wants to read a popular science book."
Stephanie lives in Menlo Park with her husband, three-year-old son, assorted cats, and has been blogging at The Grub Report for over a decade.
Follow her on Twitter at @grubreport
Well, they're all saying that Barack Obama is our first president in a long time to be just a "regular guy." And what do "regular guys" do, just like you and me? They go out to eat, and then they go on Check, Please! and they talk about it!
No, I'm totally serious. Barack Obama will be on Chicago's Check, Please! (the original incarnation of the show, by the way) on January 16th, 18th, and 20th, according to the Dixie Kitchen & Bait Shop website.
It's funny how things come full circle. My mother grew up in Glendale, CA, and when she went halfway across the country for college, my grandmother started sending her California-grown pomegranates in the mail. For four years, the U.S. Post Office carried round, ruby-skinned exotic fruits from California's sunny climes directly to the frozen tundra of Michigan.
After the holidays' repeated culinary excesses, my mouth, stomach, and soul are all screeching for something quite simple and healthful. This lentil soup always fits the bill. I'm not sure if it's the folic acid-loaded lentils or the fresh, cleansing flavor of the parsley that does it for me, but whatever it is, I'm hooked.
It's no surprise that with the excessive amounts of cooking, cleaning, wrapping, and holiday stress that comes from missing family and friends, Christmas movies can really sock it to your emotional core. Give yourself a night off and huddle up with some classic homey movies, some comforting local take-out, and several boxes of Kleenexes.
Let's face it -- Christmas is not about the joy of giving and receiving. It's not about the much-disputed birth of Christ, or miracles, or even the tarting up of pagan trees while singing Songs of Cheeses.
It's about whether you get your chocolate on odds or evens this year. It's about whether your older sister will force you to give her your day's haul of chocolate. That's right my friends, this month is ALL about Advent calendar chocolate.
I am really not a carrot cake fan. Not at all. It's quite possible that I hold a childish resentment against it for dressing up a vegetable as dessert (I tend to look at zucchini bread with the same jaundiced eye, truth be told), but more than that, I just never had a carrot cake I liked enough to make it myself or voluntarily choose it for dessert. Enter Catherine and Jeff. Since they were stopping by after their Thanksgiving feast, we thought we'd offer them a Prosecco nightcap, a cozy chat, and a tour of our new home (still in a state of dishabille). To our surprise, Catherine showed up with a sizable hunk of carrot cake just for us.
Looking ahead at this week, it would make perfect and predictable sense for me to contribute yet another Thanksgiving-themed piece to the steaming, teeming masses already out there. However, I will not.
I am not being obstinate. I am moving. After five+ years in the same tiny (albeit well-appointed) San Francisco apartment, my husband and I are relocating for the suburbs where he can have a five-minute bike ride to work and I can have a larger-than-life kitchen while ferreting out fresh food finds. So, taking advantage of the 8 days off Stanford gives their professors, we are talking boxes and bubble-wrap, not turkey.
Over the summer, Catherine -- for whom I once designed a simple birthday cocktail to go along with her gift of St. Germain elderflower liqueur -- asked if I would shake up a special wedding cocktail. Her only request: it had to be red to match her dress.
But American canned beer? Bah! Once again, I am so happy to be proven wrong. On every trip home to Minneapolis for the past few years, I have been tempted to tour the Surly Brewing Company in Brooklyn Center, MN. The name of the company alone was enough to intrigue me, but then I got a load of the beer names: Furious, CynicAle, Bitter Brewer, and Bender. Just add Grumpy, Sleepy, and Dopey and they could be the Seven Drunk Dwarfs of beerland.
At sixty-eight, my Dad has professed himself confused as to why I want to work on a farm, since it was a job he did out of necessity and not pleasure. However, he listened patiently when I went on at great length about locavores, the connection between farm and table, and Jen Maiser, and a year later, he sent me the following childhood recollection. Given how natural it was for my grandparents to source, buy, and eat locally, I'm not surprised Dad has been somewhat unimpressed by all the chatter surrounding the newest eat local resurgence. What I want him to know is, in many ways, the current eat local movement honors our parents and grandparents who got it right the first time around.
Noshing on sticky buns the approximate size of your head is a Midwest breakfast tradition. I came to this realization early in life when, on a trip Up North to a friend's cabin, we had some relief from the constant yodeling (on the radio, not the parents, though it was the their choice of music for three hours straight) when we stopped at Tobie's in Hinckley, MN. Halfway between Minneapolis and Duluth, Tobie's is a famous rest stop/family restaurant where people mostly load up on enormous rolls, sticky with caramel and studded with nuts, while reading all about the famous Hinckley fire on informative place mats.
KQED's October issue of The Guide has a little piece about the new Jacques Pépin show, More Fast Food My Way, premiering this Saturday. I must to admit to snorting when I saw that the article's timeline of a day in the life of the show started at 10:30 a.m., because the back kitchen was there between 7:00 and 7:30 a.m., and Jacques himself was in not too much later.
When the rain that was roiling menacingly in the bloated clouds over Minneapolis finally let loose and spattered down just as we arrived at the St. Paul Farmers' Market, I was worried. Did I just ask my friends to meet me out in inclement weather? Did we have enough umbrellas? Did we have extra layers, sweaters, or jackets? Would they Camille home, nursing sore throats, coughs, and eventually succumb to an effectively romantic wasting disease complete with lace hankerchiefs?
I'm a very impatient person, but on this trip to Minneapolis patience and forbearance paid off in spades. That said, St. Paul-based Izzy's Ice Cream was harder to get into than SPQR at 7:00 on a Friday.