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All You Can Eat

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Topic: Reading about eating

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June 10, 2013 at 2:42 PM

Eat a fish, save the oceans

PPfinalcoverWorld Oceans Day, June 8, was a reminder to reflect on our relationship to wild fish and the dwindling numbers of many species. Can we stop plundering the oceans and still feed a world population rapidly approaching 9 billion?

In a new book, “The Perfect Protein: The Fish Lover’s Guide to Saving the Oceans and Feeding the World,” Oceana CEO Andy Sharpless and co-author Suzannah Evans tackle that big question, outlining the issues and presenting solutions. Sharpless will be in Seattle on Wednesday, June 12, at 7 p.m. at the Elliott Bay Book Company on Capitol Hill for a reading followed by a Q & A session.


The book also addresses the consumer’s dilemma: How can we find and choose responsibly caught seafood? It includes recipes from top chefs, among them Eric Ripert, of New York’s famed seafood restaurant Le Bernardin, and Hajime Sato, the owner of Mashiko, Seattle’s first sustainable sushi bar. Sato will also attend the Elliott Bay Book Company event.


In an interview on KIRO Radio’s “Let’s Eat” that aired June 8, Sato talked about his decision to carry only sustainable seafood at his West Seattle restaurant.


“I’d been teaching on different occasions and in class they began asking where fish come from. I had to study about it.  I found out some were not sustainable. When I started to look into it, I began to feel like a hypocrite.”


Comments | Topics: Andy Sharpless, Asian Restaurants, Hajime Sato

December 6, 2011 at 7:00 PM

Food lovers on your gift list? Buy local (authors, that is)

“Buy local” is a constant theme in the food world, so why not do your part during the holidays by biting into a stack of food-centric books by local authors? Among the giftables in that impressive 2011 collection are moving memoirs, homegrown how-tos and culinary diversions, including these:

[Seattle Times/Courtney Blethen Riffkin]

Unlike my husband, I’m no doughnut freak. But — fry me a river! — that changed when I got my mitts around “Top Pot Hand-Forged Doughnuts: Secrets and Recipes for the Home Baker” (Chronicle Books, $16.95). In it, Top Pot’s Mark and Michael Klebeck (along with invaluable help from food writer Jess Thomson) divulge their homegrown approach to homemade doughnuts, including wintry wonders like Peppermint Snowdrifts and the flamboyant coconut-topped Pink Feather Boas that helped make Top Pot the holiest of holies.


Comments | More in Cookbooks | Topics: Reading about eating

November 28, 2011 at 6:00 AM

Seattle sushi-sensei Shiro Kashiba’s book offers wit, wisdom

Holding court in Belltown, Shiro Kashiba’s eyes, darting under expressive brows shaped like Mount Fuji, miss nothing. And that’s saying something. Three days a week you’ll find Seattle’s pre-eminent sushi chef right where he wants to be: standing behind his sushi bar, celebrating the fact that at 70, he’s doing what he dreamt of doing as a grade-school boy in Kyoto.

These days he has something else to celebrate, and so do we: the publication of his memoir, “Shiro: Wit, Wisdom and Recipes from a Sushi Pioneer.” Beautifully photographed and illustrated, filled with memories spanning seven decades and two continents, the book chronicles his years spent as a sushi apprentice in Tokyo’s Ginza district and brings us up-to-date with Seattle’s contemporary sushi scene.

That scene began in 1970 in old Japantown, where Shiro stepped up to Seattle’s first full-service sushi bar. It continues today, our sushi sensei now having mentored a cadre of sushi chefs who’ve been opening restaurants all over town.

“Shiro: Wit, Wisdom & Recipes from a Sushi Pioneer.” You’ve got to read it.

At Shiro’s, the boss is as much an entertainer as an educator, his wit as sharp as his knife. “Sayonara!” he shouts before wresting the heads from a pair of wriggling spot prawns, sending them to the kitchen for frying. “These are from Hood Canal,” he instructs, proffering the sweet meat over vinegared rice as sushi nigiri. “Local!”


Comments | More in Chefs | Topics: Reading about eating, sushi

October 11, 2011 at 5:13 PM

Book Larder: Seattle’s community cookbook store opens in Fremont

Fifteen years working in human resources at Microsoft was enough for Lara Hamilton. Hungry for change, “I knew I wanted to do something in food, but I wasn’t sure what,” recalls the owner of Book Larder, Seattle’s only dedicated cookbook store and culinary events-space, making its debut Wednesday, Oct. 12 in Fremont.

The catalyst for change came, as is so often the case these days, via Twitter.

At the suggestion of food-focused friends, Hamilton began to “follow” Kim Ricketts, owner of Kim Ricketts Book Events and the culinary matchmaker behind Cooks & Books — the food- and wine-fueled schmoozefests that bring together chefs, cookbook authors and the people who love them.

Kim tweeted that she wanted help bringing chefs to Microsoft,” looking for an on-campus contact interested in lending a hand, Hamilton said. Unaware that her virtual Twitter-pal was the name behind a popular speaker-series held on the Redmond campus, Hamilton answered the call. And that’s how the HR-specialist soon found herself rubbing elbows with (and hoisting books for) celebrated chefs like Thomas Keller and David Chang, an on-the-job opportunity that would become the start of a life-altering career change.

Lara Hamilton, at Book Larder, open Wednesday at 4252 Fremont Ave. N.

[Seattle Times/Mark Harrison]

Soon after, she quit her job. And when Ricketts offered her a new one in September 2010 — managing the Cooks & Books events — “I jumped at it,” said Hamilton. “I love cookbooks, I love working with people. It was all perfect.” Until her friend and mentor was diagnosed with multiple myeloma and primary amyloidosis.


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August 29, 2011 at 2:15 PM

Bon Appetit! I’m a Lucky Peach and a nod to Lewis Lapham

That was some glorious weekend! For me, at least. I admit I felt guilty entertaining friends Saturday evening, with Mac smoke-roasting chickens while so many of my family and friends rode out Irene, including my sister Jill, who lives “down the shore” in South Jersey and spent her 50th birthday in evacuation land. (Yo, Jill! I saved you a thigh!) Here’s hoping that your friends and family come out of the disaster as unscathed as mine did, and that as floodwaters continue to rise and fall, everyone stays safe.

And now, on a much happier note, allow me to turn to that not-so-guilty pleasure: reading about eating. Yes, summer’s coming to an end (insert your “summer” joke here), but my endless pile of food-related material is never ending. And high on my list of must reads is this tasty trio.

Two quarterlies and a monthly = a world of good eating.

Here’s why:


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July 19, 2011 at 7:00 PM

“Food Lovers’ Guide to Seattle” author Keren Brown’s a doer

Ask Keren Brown what she does for a living and she’ll tell you, “I’m a food entrepreneur.” Dig further, and you’ll learn she’s also the force behind the food-industry networking events known as “Foodportunity,” the voice behind the “Frantic Foodie” blog and author of the new “Food Lovers’ Guide to Seattle” (Globe Pequot Press, $14.95), an insider’s look at the very places I’d send you if you’d ask me where to find the best food in town.

Her Food Lovers’ guide is so comprehensive — sharing everything from restaurants to road trips, specialty shops to food-focused events — I’d be quick to hand that compact paperback out to new arrivals the minute they hit the streets. It’s exactly the book Brown needed when she arrived here five years ago, knowing little about how to cook and nothing about the local food scene.

So, how did this 32-year-old Montreal native, who taught at a Berlitz language school in Israel during her 20s, go from naive newbie to Seattle food maven? That’s what I wanted to know.

Q: You were raised on Chef Boyardee and boxed mac ‘n’ cheese, learned to appreciate local foods while living abroad and knew exactly one person when you arrived here: your husband. These days, you’re hosting hundreds of folks at sold-out Foodportunity events and impressing the folks at, who dubbed you a 2010 “Doer of the Week.” OK Ms. Doer: How’d you do that?


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June 6, 2011 at 9:43 AM

Well fed and well read: chapter one, my weekend edition

That was some lovely weekend. Mine started with a Friday evening visit to Shiki (translation: four seasons), the lower Queen Anne sushi bar and homestyle Japanese restaurant owned and operated by longtime Seattle sushi chef Ken Yamamoto. And it ended with the sun over the yardarm in my best friend’s backyard, where we celebrated the season by grilling a Copper River sockeye on a cedar plank.

Yes, it tasted as good as it looks. I hooked this four-pounder at QFC, where whole Copper River sockeye was selling for $6.99 a pound.

Of course, my weekend wasn’t all about eating. Given how much I love to read, time spent doing so (and in my book, there’s never enough of it) is always part of my weekend routine. And what do I read about? Two guesses. Here’s some of what I learned:

The June/July issue of Saveur, which I finally got down to reading, gets down and dirty with a special issue paying tribute to cooking with fire. The magazine takes a cross-country, cross-cultural look at our “BBQ Nation,” kicking off with a taste of the South courtesy of my favorite food writer, John T. Edge.


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July 28, 2010 at 1:24 PM

Tech savvy or troglodyte? I’ve come a long way, baby

To all the food bloggers, chef bloggers, food photographers and All You Can Eater commenters who make my work less like “work” and more like fun, I’ve just got to say: “Thanks for sharing!” And to others who pooh-pooh the concept of (over?) sharing online, I have this to say about that: I get it. You see, it wasn’t too long ago when I learned you can trust someone under 30 — and the tech-toys that come as naturally to them as singing “I’m Old Fashioned” did to Ella Fitzgerald.

My brave new food-focused world, always at my fingertips. That’s a good thing. And a bad thing — depending on who you’re talking to. What do you think?

Back then, Karen Gaudette was my next-desk neighbor at the Seattle Times and a fledgling food writer with a learner’s lust for her new beat. As her elder stateswoman, I’d regularly answer her queries regarding restaurants, cooking and obscure foodstuffs, and she’d reciprocate by answering my questions about cell phones, photo-sharing software and social media — among other things that cleanly divided us into two camps: tech-savvy 20-something reporter and food-focused troglodyte. I’d talk about strawberries. She’s talk about BlackBerrys, and our conversations regularly went like this:


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April 7, 2010 at 10:10 AM

Seattle Edible Book Festival: “Last call for edible books!”

Forget the annual Seattle Times Peeps-show (I’d be ineligible to enter): every year I promise I’m going to try my creative hand at the Seattle Edible Book Festival, entering the literary fun-fest where readers cook-up goofball ideas marrying food and books. Like this one:

“Are You Bare Bun? It’s Me, Margarine” [Nice work, Janet Fryberger, whoever you are.]

My, how time flies. I was prepubescent when Judy Blume published “Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret.” (Drippy Norman Fishbein! Mean Nancy Wheeler! Go-Bras!), recently re-read. I loved it at 10, and even more decades later.

I’m keeping my fingers crossed I find time to make it to the festival, held Saturday April 10 from noon to 3 p.m. at the Good Shepherd Center in Wallingford. Tickets are $10, free if you enter the contest. All the info you’ll need to compete or attend is right here.


Comments | More in Fairs, Festivals, Special Events | Topics: Fun stuff, Kid-friendly, Reading about eating

February 1, 2010 at 9:59 AM

Missed Sunday’s paper? Lots of food stuff. Read all about it.

Every Sunday morning — if I’m lucky — I get a good hour to sit and read the paper the old fashioned way: by holding it in my hands. Yesterday, I was impressed to see how much coverage the Seattle Times gave to my favorite subject. Here’s a taste, just in case you missed it:

Could you feed two people on $12 a day, or feed yourself on $7? That’s the question posed again this year by United Way of King County during Hunger Action Week — an annual effort to raise awareness of the plight of those living on food stamps. Reporter Nancy Bartley profiles culinary student and food blogger Eric Rivera, (who took the challenge last week), and more to the point, a single mother who, like millions of others across the nation, is challenged by those financial constraints throughout the year. Read the story here.

The Footprint Issue of our Pacific Northwest magazine dug into the greenery of “a new edibles ethic” with a grow-your-own cover story courtesy of garden-guru Valerie Easton. Val profiled the ways in which gardeners might give it up for foodstuffs. The photo spread encompassed the edible landscape and Green Lake-neighborhood garden of Tom Douglas’s right-hand woman Shelley Lance (who blogs right here) and her husband, Frank Shoichet. What Val didn’t mention is the couple have close ties to another well-publicized garden: the Obama’s (their personal chef, Sam Kass — who tends the tomatillos at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue — is Frank’s cousin).


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