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Life has been very full of late. The image that comes first to mind is that of an apple tree loaded with fruit, branches hanging, deeply bowed. At some point it ceases to matter what kind of apple--McIntosh, Pippin, Empire, Arkansas Black--but rather the sheer quantity of them. It is an image of bounty, to be sure, but it is also precarious. Disastrous, even.

Sometimes it’s easy to get lost in the archive of cookbooks we have amassed over eight decades. Before our move from Tennessee, the family treasure trove of culinary literature took up the better part of a thirty-by-twenty-foot room… on tall shelves and in stacked boxes!

What to do with leftover ham roast from Easter? Almost a moot point: practically anything you want! Diced in omelets, fried and chopped on a bed of sautéed asparagus, in stratas and frittatas, Benedicts, stuffed in chiles with cheese and herbs… the options are endless. This recipe, however, is born of fond memories and an unexpected treat at the farmer’s market.

Spring is an exciting time for a lover of green things. I can't decry winter's panoply of strange roots and fanciful squashes--by the time the weather gets cold, I'm ready for hearty preparations and "hibernation" food.

I remember when my biggest financial worry was having to put gas in my car. My parents bought me a 2001 Ford Focus for my 16th birthday. I'm pretty sure a Ford Focus isn't even remotely a cool car, but I loved it beyond reckoning. Of course, as an oddball 16-year old growing up in suburbia, I would have been happy with any car. It was the embodiment of freedom.

For the past couple years, I've been making laminated pastry doughs almost once a week. A "laminated dough" is anything that gets butter folded and rolled into it--think puff pastry, croissant dough, and Danish dough. I distinctly remember the first time I made croissants. It was a decidedly amateur attempt, and one that briefly set the oven on fire on Christmas morning.

Champiñones al ajillo. I first had this dish in high school, made by the hands of my first love, Carla, from Madrid. Nothing fancy… really approachable for any cook, no matter their experience level--mine was certainly negligible at the time, confined mostly to caramelizing onions and crafting oddball omelets.

Last night, while I helped plate a three-course meal for 50 people in the kitchen where I work, a coworker and I started fantasizing about opening a little diner. This place would serve breakfast on the weekdays and dinner on the weekends; barbecue, crab boils, blue plate specials--generally, really good, homey food.


Joy of Cooking App for iPad and iPhone

After three years of collaborative effort with our friends at Culinate and Scribner, it is our pleasure to introduce the Joy of Cooking for iPad and iPhone! Please check out this full-featured, digital version of the 2006 edition. In addition to the recipes and indispensable reference information our readers know and love, the app has many features that are brand new to JOY:

  • Built-in recipe timers (you can have multiple timers going simultaneously)
  • Search for and filter recipes by key word, ingredient, cuisine, season, technique, diet, and more
  • Create shopping lists from within the app
  • Convert any recipe to metric automatically
  • Give voice commands or have recipe steps spoken to you
  • Create menus in the app
  • Share recipes from within the app
  • Color photography

Truly a JOY for the 21st century! Download by directing your browser to Don't forget to review the app!