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When you live without air conditioning, you learn to embrace the heat.

There are tactics for coping--always having a bottle of rosé in the fridge, keeping the ice cube trays full, or following the cat's lead and lying prone on the tiled bathroom floor (and trying not to think about how clean said bathroom floor actually is). You can also keep the heat down by not cooking.

Like most other avid cooks, I develop food crushes.

For a while, I put toasted cumin in almost everything. I kept a small bowl of it by the stove and would add a pinch here and a pinch there. It was a new (to me) flavor sensation, and I was testing its limits.

One thing about fruit: you never know exactly what you're going to get.

Back in high school, I ate no fewer than one orange a day. I liked oranges, as you might imagine, but under the guise of eating a snack, I was studiously applying my own less-than-rigid, pseudoscientific theories as to how to select a good orange.

I first made kombucha out of frugality. I was a student at the time and making $8 an hour on a goat farm. Fancy lacto-fermented beverages simply weren't in my budget. I scoured Craigslist for a kombucha mother (which now seems somewhat sketchy, I'll admit) and started making my own.

Flour and water. That's all you'll need. Really.

I know, it's hard to have faith in just flour and water--those of us who bake bread have come to love the deus ex machina of instant yeast: its frothy upsurge and predictability. But wild yeasts are no slouches, and they are easily harnessed for bread making, as thousands of years of our ancestry would tell you.

98-degree heat reminds us how unappealing turning on the stove can be… in an apartment… with no air conditioning. We can’t complain too much, since we’re on a low floor and do not get very much direct sunlight, but consumer-grade fans can only take you so far. Still, our current situation is much better than the poorly-ventilated apartment kitchen-closets of yesteryear.

There are plenty of food trends that I just can't get on board with. This is why you may never see me post a recipe for cupcakes on this site. It's not that a cupcake can't taste good. It's a matter of principle. I just don't want to perpetuate a really overdone, tired trend.

The first summer I worked on a goat farm was a scorcher.

North Carolina summers tend towards the hot and humid, but this summer in particular was punishing. The days were unrelenting and bright, sticky in that special way the South and Midwest are.  It gets humid enough so that sweating doesn't do you any good--nothing evaporates and you just end up being hot and wet.

A couple weeks ago, I worked my last day at the restaurant. It was a very bittersweet decision for me, especially as I had grown close to most of my coworkers.


Joy of Cooking App for iPad

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! 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!