The I Hate to Cook Book by Peg Bracken


Peg Bracken. My mother had her book. My mother did not cook. Or at the least, she didn’t like to cook. Peg Bracken was one of a kind, and definitely worth reading.


Some women, it is said, like to cook.

This book is not for them.

This book is for those of us who hate to, who have learned, through hard experience, that some activities become no less painful through repetition: childbearing, paying taxes, cooking. This book is for those of us who want to fold our big dishwater hands around a dry Martini instead of a wet flounder, come the end of a long day.

When you hate to cook, life is full of jolts: for instance, those ubiquitous full-color double-page spreads picturing what to serve on those little evenings when you want to take it easy. You’re flabbergasted. You wouldn’t cook that much food for a combination Thanksgiving and Irish wake. (Equally discouraging is the way the china always matches the food. You wonder what you’re doing wrong; because whether you’re serving fried oysters or baked beans, your plates always have the same old blue rims.)

And you’re flattened by articles that begin “Of course you know that basil and tomatoes are soulmates, but did you know…” They can stop right there, because the fact is, you didn’t know any such thing. It is a still sadder fact that, having been told, you won’t remember. When you hate to cook, your mind doesn’t retain items of this nature.

Oh, you keep on buying cookbooks, the way a homely woman buys hat after hat in the vain hope that this one will do it.


Read more at the Hachette Publishing Group page here:

Comrade V.V. Pokhlebkin’s Treatises on Russian Food


If you want to know anything about Russian food – and I mean extensively and thoroughly know – the man to go to is V.V. Pokhlebkin. Historian, academic, writer, foodie. Today I’m giving you a treasure trove in the form of a link to all of his writings online.


V. V. Pokhlebkin’s SEASONINGS  Seasonings — it with what season, flavor, improve food, mix to it something improving its general taste. Usual dictionaries interpret the concept “seasoning” as everything that accompanies, accompanies food in general and the main food in particular. Such interpretation even more expands sense of this term.

IN TOTAL ABOUT  V. V. Pokhlebkin’s SPICES  Spices — a product of exclusively phytogenesis. And the plants giving spices, belong more than to 30 various botanical families.

The CULINARY DICTIONARY from And to I  am V. V. Pokhlebkin  The offered dictionary offers an explanation, interpretation and a help material (a compounding, nature of application) on all categories of the terms relating to area of cookery: to its history, the theory, practice, raw materials (products), kitchen to utensils, tableware, tools, types of the center etc.

V. V. Pokhlebkin Kniga’s RUSSIAN AND SOVIET KITCHENS of known author-culinary specialist V. V. Pokhlebkin will acquaint readers with history of national kitchens of the people of our country, with the detailed characteristic, features, processing methods of each of them. The main contents is made by recipes of preparation of national dishes. V. V. Pokhlebkin Retsepty’s Russian cuisine of Russian cuisine

UKRAINIAN CUISINE  V. V. Pokhlebkin Sredi of Slavic kitchens the Ukrainian uses wide popularity. It gained long ago distribution far outside Ukraine, and some dishes of Ukrainian cuisine, for example borsches and vareniki, entered into the menu of the international kitchen. V. V. Pokhlebkin Retsepty’s Ukrainian cuisine of Ukrainian cuisine

 V. V. Pokhlebkin’s BELARUSIAN CUISINE  As for purely flavoring qualities of dishes of Belarusian cuisine, they are very high, especially if them use svezheprigotovlenny (for example, the dishes containing potatoes and a flour), hot — “with a heat, about a heat”, instead of cooled down and the more so warmed. V. V. Pokhlebkin Retsepty’s Belarusian cuisine of Belarusian cuisine

V. V. Pokhlebkin’s MOLDAVIAN CUISINE Moldova — edge of rich natural opportunities, edge of grapes, fruit and various vegetables, and also sheep breeding and poultry farming. No wonder that Moldavian cuisine long since uses all these riches. V. V. Pokhlebkin Retsepty’s Moldavian cuisine of Moldavian cuisine

AZERBAIJAN CUISINE  V. V. Pokhlebkin Svoyeobraziye of Azerbaijan cuisine is that, possessing some similar lines with other Transcaucasian kitchens — existence of the same type of the center (тындыр), kitchen utensils and food raw materials — she created a bit different menu and as a whole other flavoring scale on this base. V. V. Pokhlebkin Retsepty’s Azerbaijan cuisine of Azerbaijan cuisine

V. V. Pokhlebkin’s ARMENIAN CUISINE  Armenian cuisine — one of the most ancient kitchens in Asia and the most ancient in Transcaucasia. Its characteristic features developed still, at least, in a millennium B.C., during formation of the Armenian people and remain in many respects throughout more than three millennia. V. V. Pokhlebkin Retsepty’s Armenian cuisine of Armenian cuisine

GEORGIAN CUISINE V. V. Pokhlebkin  Speaking about Georgian cuisine, it is necessary to tell about the main distinctions of cuisines of the Western and East Georgia caused not only a different environment of these two big areas, but also known Turkish influence on cuisine of the Western Georgia and Iranian — on cuisine of East Georgia. V. V. Pokhlebkin’s Georgian cuisine. Recipes of Georgian cuisine

BALTIC KITCHENS  V. V. Pokhlebkin Baltic kitchens — Estonian, Latvian and Lithuanian — have a number of the common features caused by similarity of an environment and historical development of the people of Baltic. V. V. Pokhlebkin Retsepty’s Lithuanian cuisine of Lithuanian cuisine, V. V. Pokhlebkin Retsepty’s Estonian kitchen of Estonian kitchen. V. V. Pokhlebkin Retsepty’s Latvian kitchen of the Latvian kitchen.

V. V. Pokhlebkin Govorya’s CENTRAL ASIAN KITCHENS about the Central Asian kitchens, it should be noted their community, on the one hand, and some isolation of the Turkmen kitchen from Uzbek and Tajik — with another. Recipes of the Central Asian kitchen.

ЗAPOLYARNY, MONGOLIAN, JEWISH KITCHENS; KITCHEN OF THE FINNO-UGRIC PEOPLE   Three large national culinary directions are presented to V. V. Pokhlebkin not only in the territory of the CIS, but also beyond its limits. These are the Mongolian, subarctic (polar) and Jewish kitchens. All of them considerably differ and from each other, and from considered in the book. V. V. Pokhlebkin Retsepty’s polar kitchen of Polar kitchen. V. V. Pokhlebkin Retsepty’s Mongolian kitchen of the Mongolian kitchen. V. V. Pokhlebkin Retsepty’s Jewish kitchen of the Jewish kitchen. Recipes of Finno-Ugric kitchen of V. V. Pokhlebkin

 V. V. Pokhlebkin Moda’s my KITCHEN on sandwich-type, so-called “buffet”, on consumption of “quick food” — “fast food” — takes in the last decade and Russia.

Recipes of dishes of ethnic cuisine of the people of Russia and USSR. Russian national recipes. Recipes of dishes of Russian cuisine. Russian cuisine recipes. National recipes of the people of the USSR.

The Agrarian Standard by Wendell Berry


Wendell Berry writes on many things. Food is one of them.


The large agribusiness corporations that were mainly national in 1977 are now global, and are replacing the world’s agricultural diversity, which was useful primarily to farmers and local consumers, with bioengineered and patented monocultures that are merely profitable to corporations. The purpose of this now global economy, as Vandana Shiva has rightly said, is to replace “food democracy” with a worldwide “food dictatorship.”


To read the entire piece, go to Orion Magazine.

The Second Bakery Attack by Haruki Murakami


Murikami’s short story dances with deep hungers as it circles nonchalantly around a normal, everyday bakery.

I’m still not sure I made the right choice when I told my wife about the bakery attack. But then, it might not have been a question of right and wrong. Which is to say that wrong choices can produce right results, and vice versa. I myself have adopted the position that, in fact, we never choose anything at all. Things happen. Or not.

If you look at it this way, it just so happens that I told my wife about the bakery attack. I hadn’t been planning to bring it up–I had forgotten all about it–but it wasn’t one of those now-that-you-mention-it kind of things, either.

What reminded me of the bakery attack was an unbearable hunger. It hit just before two o’clock in the morning. We had eaten a light supper at six, crawled into bed at nine-thirty, and gone to sleep. For some reason, we woke up at exactly the same moment. A few minutes later, the pangs struck with the force of the tornado in The Wizard of Oz. These were tremendous, overpowering hunger pangs.

Our refrigerator contained not a single item that could be technically categorized as food. We had a bottle of French dressing, six cans of beer, two shriveled onions, a stick of butter, and a box of refrigerator deodorizer. With only two weeks of married life behind us, we had yet to establish a precise conjugal understanding with regard to the rules of dietary behavior. Let alone anything else.


Continue reading this story here at

Corn: Our Mother, Our Life by Margaret Visser


One-ingredient histories have become an important part of our current reading and writing of food. Here’s one on corn – that ingredient both loved and hated – written way back in 1986.


Screen Shot 2014-08-24 at 8.27.39 AMTo continue reading go to Much Depends on Dinner by Margaret Visser, Chapter One.