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At a party the other day, a friend asked us if there were any trends in pies this year. The only thing I could come up with was that chess pies have made something of a comeback. Not that they've ever gone away. This is basically why I'm not into trends--I like what I like, so for me chess pie has never been out of style.

When I first heard of Maria Speck, I believe it was on The Splendid Table. I didn't catch the whole interview, but I did get a window into Maria's philosophy. She was talking about the healthfulness of whole grains and how she is reluctant to stand on the soapbox of what is good for you and would rather just talk about how delicious whole grains are.

This week, we're giving away a copy of The Picnic, by Marnie Hanel, Andrea Slonecker, and Jen Stevenson.

As we gallop toward the holidays, I wanted to do a series of cookbook giveaways to feature some of our favorite cookbooks of the year. Most of the books we'll give away in the coming weeks are from authors we know personally, but all of them are books that made us stop and take a second look.

I know folks are always looking for easy breakfasts that they can just grab in the morning, and I have just three words to say about that: I feel you. While I love cooking (I love it so much that it became my job), there's something about cooking first thing in the morning, when you're only three sips into your coffee, that I find really unappealing. It's just a bit much, really.

We have a jam problem. It's an easy problem to have if you do any preserving at all. Jams and preserves are the gateway to canning. They're easy and delicious, and as the seasons roll by you catch yourself saying, "Well, we're going to need to make a batch of strawberry jam" or "We can't go through blackberry season without putting up some preserves." This, my friends, is how it all begins.

For all their voluptuous beauty, eggplants are one of the most misunderstood vegetables in the summer kitchen. Many are familiar only with the purple-skinned Italian eggplants that are as big as your calf and less yielding. Thankfully, there are varieties of eggplant as diverse in hue and flavor as many heirloom tomatoes are from one another.

My great grandmother, who grew up on a farm in rural North Carolina, vividly remembers when chicken was a special occasion dish. She would go outside, catch a hen, kill it, pluck and eviscerate it, and cook it for Sunday dinner. These days, she tells me she's perfectly happy to pick up a chicken at the supermarket.

I grew up on a very familiar basis with corn. Both sets of grandparents grew it every year, and we would eat what they put by year-round. Every summer, we would gather in my grandmother's basement or out in the carport and shuck, de-silk, and cut corn off the cob. Most of it was frozen for later use, but for about a month, corn on the cob was on the menu every day.


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!