Why You Need Editors

The evidence is overwhelming that someone has gathered up the world's editors and placed them on a ship to sail around the globe, over and over, all by themselves, never to dock again. How would you like to be author of that boat's daily newsletter, or its menus? ("No, I beg to differ, our style requires two Ls in "fillet"!) Just as bad editing drains the life from a living thing as does as any fanged character on Alan Ball's True Blood, good editing does the opposite. Sometimes that means as little as a kind word to a nervous … [Read more...]

Hip! Hip! Yaphank! — or What to Do on Your Weekend Vacation

Most everyone old enough to know who Irving Berlin is knows that "Oh! How I Hate to Get Up in the Morning" was written in 1917 at Camp Upton in Yaphank, Long Island when the composer was called "Sarge." It became part of a musical revue called Yip! Yip! Yaphank! I know it's not Yip, Yip, Yaphank or Yip, Yap Yaphank, both common mistakes, because the New York Times review of its 1918 run at Manhattan's Century Theatre (on the Upper West Side!) spells it with the three exclamations -- way before the decimation of all our copy desks, so it must be … [Read more...]

My First ‘Out There’ Recipe, or Why I Am Not Elizabeth David

Lettuce Soup. For vegephiles. To my friends Meredith, Sasha, and Daphne.If you can score a real head with dirt still on it, or harvest your own -- I know, lets out most of my faithful correspondents -- or just pretend with what's left in the fridge, this recipe will make your lettuce almost sumptuous. And, unless you're an Asian cook, chances are this will the first time you've put heat to this particular leaf.Ingredients: that lettuce, and it can be a few days gone, because it will still throw its faded lettuceness into the broth; garlic … [Read more...]

A Quasi-Kosher 4th With Yankees, Mets, Weinsteins

One of the reasons I became what people call a "food writer" was my clam-broth baptism in the behemoth, much-mourned Brooklyn restaurant called Lundy's. That fish palace on Sheepshead Bay coalesced a constellation of 20th-century American values: collective melting-pot festivity (it seated more than 3000), the promise of local unpolluted cornucopia (littlenecks and fluke from right outside, sort of), institutionalized racism (underpaid all-black staff), and working-class strife (a bloody strike). My personal … [Read more...]