Yesterday in a moment of editorial justice the New York Times ran an article about my friend Susan Spungen and her work on the soon-to-be-released movie, Julie & Julia. Susan is a food stylist, but she's not just any old food stylist. It's arguable that she is responsible for the way in which the food looks in the magazines and cookbooks that we read today. I met Susan 15 years ago in Bridgehampton, when she worked as the food editor for the just-launched Martha Stewart Living. I was the 10 years younger, unemployed and adrift girlfriend of a chef friend of hers.  When I met Susan, I could not believe that someone could get paid working with food--and not being a cook. Se was my idol and then became my friend. Several years later, I read an article in some obscure (to me anyway) design journal that said that Susan's work at Martha Stewart Living had forever changed the look of food on the page. With its soft, pinprick focus, natural light, it had an organic look so delicious you ...

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The Great American Melting Pot I'm not much of a kitchen gadget person—one task wonders make me feel that the American marketing machine is winning—but every once in awhile I buy myself something for the kitchen that makes me so happy, and makes so much sense, I wonder how I ever lived without it. Most recently, I bought an All-Clad Butter Warmer. It's a gorgeous, stainless-steel miniature saucepan--the scale and design is as simple and perfect as that of a paper clip—another personal favorite. It's just right for heating a cup of coffee, warming chocolate sauce, and, of course, melting butter. I've had my butter melter for about ten days and have used it almost as many times—usually for melting butter, but the truth is I practically make up reasons to break it out. Today the excuse was garlic confit. The garlic here is cooked so low and slow that the radiator heater in my New York apartment—or the sidewalk on some recent afternoons in Hollywood—would provide the perfect amount of he ...

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Ack! This just in via twitter... @carolynncarreno nice article, but in '06 McDonald's owned 51% of Chipotle, it's not an urban myth. McNews link. After a stormy night of cooking and wine, I can't think on this except to say: Something is off. Will someone at Chipotle please tell us: What is up? ...

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I stopped by Chino Farm yesterday, thinking they were open on Mondays during the summer but it just goes to prove I haven't been anywhere near these parts in the summertime in awhile. The farm was closed, which turned out to be even better, because it gave me the opportunity to visit with the family and ask "How's biz?" Tom Chino, one of many siblings who run the farm, told me they'd been a bit slow this summer, but that in the last couple of weeks, they've been really busy. The Chinos have a lot of restaurant accounts, and in San Diego, the type of restaurants that buy Chino produce are viewed as special occasion restaurants—or the kind of restaurants that are hit hard by the recession. "We've been really busy," Tom said, in an uncharacteristic moment of... what's the word for the opposite of complete humility, utter self-deprecation?... "So what accounts for the busy-ness," I asked? Could it be that the affects of Food Inc. are trickling down to the consumer and the farm? Could it b ...

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