There's nothing worse than seeing a movie that takes place in your world, and the details are all wrong. Speaking of food, for instance, there's that terrible Catherine Zeta Jones movie, No Reservations, where she plays a chef and works wearing a spotless white chef's coat in a clean, quiet kitchen so big you could pitch a tent in the middle, the reaction to which anyone who has ever worked in a professional kitchen might be: In your dreams! When I saw the movie It's Complicated, on the other hand, I could tell by the way both the kitchen and the food looked that they'd hired a serious food person to take care of those details. (As it turned out, they'd hired my friend, the veteran, brilliant-genius food stylist, Susan Spungen). But it was when I saw the earrings that Meryl Streep wore that I really knew they were serious about getting it right. The earrings were simple drop pearls from the jewelry designer, Ted Muehling. Even though there is so little to them: a delicate earwire ma ...

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Nobody gives up anything unless they have a problem with it. Three days ago, I started a 30-day sugar fast for two reasons. The first reason is that I have a problem with sugar. (The problem being that I like it, and sugar is a problem.) The second reason is that the same day, my friend, Jamie, went into a silent meditation retreat for 30 days, and I wanted to do something in solidarity. It wasn't so much for her, but because I know myself, and I know that when Jamie calls me in 30 days with reports of a life-altering experience, I will want to have had one, too. When I thought of what life-altering thing I could do for 30 days, abstaining from sugar was the obvious choice. What was also extremely obvious was that there was no way I would be able to live 30 sugar-starved days with this Zzang! candy bar (the exclamation point is theirs; I try to abstain from those, too.)  in the cupboard, a candy bar that I pick up every time I am at the Heath Ceramics Store, which, as far as I'm conc ...

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I bought Mario's new book today, Molto Batali: Simple Family Meals From My Home To Yours, as part of a resolution I recently added to a long New Year-inspired list, which is to break out of my tried's and true's and do what I essentially make a living hoping other people do, and that is to cook from (or at least to buy) cookbooks. The reasons I chose this particular book are first, that I love Mario's food. His sweetbreads at Babbo rocked my world the first time I ate them nearly 15 years ago. ("It's all about the duck prosciutto," he said when I interviewed him for my book, Foods of the World: New York). And then there was the book's subtitle, which contains both the words "simple," and "home," two words that should warm the heart of any home cook. Which is why the first question I asked him in an email today, was whether it was even true... 1. Are these recipes really from your home?  ABSOLUTELY! THESE DISHES HAVE ALL BEEN PERSONALLY TESTED BY MY WIFE AND KIDS. thereby assuaging ...

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I've been doing so much cleaning, organizing, and reorganizing lately that I've wondered if I'm subconsciously getting ready to die, or to live large. Assuming it's the latter, the most optimistic thing I did today was buy these colorful candles at Sur La Table. It's a small thing, but isn't it just so hopeful to think you might have someone for dinner to celebrate... anything? And isn't it the little ($1.99) things that make life so rich? ...

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