Archive for the 'elsewhere on the web' Category

perfecting the potato pancake on BlogHer

Friday, December 7th, 2012

Happy almost Chanukah! My tips on latke-making are now syndicated on BlogHer. For everything you wanted to know about potato pancakes but were afraid to ask, click here.

anthony bourdain’s medium raw challenge: my essay

Thursday, September 30th, 2010

Anthony Bourdain asked “why cook well?” Here’s my answer, on the Medium Raw Challenge site. (Argh, I’m not sure where my paragraph marks went. Do vote!)

Anthony Bourdain’s Medium Raw Challenge

tuscan porchetta trots into bay area

Wednesday, March 3rd, 2010

At the recent Winter Fancy Food Show, it was my pleasure to sample a number of delectable pork products, among them various hams and porchettas. One of my absolute favorites at this year’s show was Piacenti’s porchetta, imported by The Rogers Collection based in Portland, Maine.

The relatively large booth displayed a number of imported food items, but only a few were laid out on the tasting area at the front of the both. Someone at the booth had neatly arranged small hunks of porchetta on a large white plate for the benefit of curious passersby. I speared one on a toothpick and sampled the wares.

Read more at…

some writers are more equal than others

Wednesday, February 3rd, 2010

Recently, Dianne Jacob—writer, journalist, blogger, teacher, writing coach, not necessarily in that order—posed an interesting question on her blog. With Apple’s new iPad coming out, will publishers rush to include video in articles intended for the web? Will writers be expected to create their own videos in addition to writing? Will web writers be paid even less than their print counterparts?

Says Jacob:

While it’s clear that the iPad is a cool new development, it doesn’t necessarily bode well for publishers or authors compared to print. According to the New York Times, royalties will initially be less. And ‘Publishers acknowledge that digital content should be priced lower than the print content,’ said Carolyn Reidy, chief executive of Simon & Schuster.

Oh joy. Yet another digital medium where we can be paid less to do more.

My three questions for you are: Do you think publishers will pay us to produce video, or will it be a separate discipline, like photography? Are we writers willing to learn this skill? (For those of you already producing video, you’re ahead of the curve.) And, am I just being a crab about this cool new medium?

You can probably guess what my opinion is, from the title of this post alone. I initially responded to Dianne’s post on her site, but I think my comments were lengthy enough to warrant a post of their own. (Who knew I’d have so much to say?)

Says I:

I think it’s necessary to distinguish the medium from the technology used to access said medium. Writers who publish online are already using video as part of their work, albeit usually with other people’s videos. To my mind, the question is how does accessing an article online differ when using an iPad as opposed to any other portable device such as a laptop or smart mobile phone. The screen real estate is larger, and presumably easier to read (and watch videos). But I honestly don’t think the iPad has completely obviated the need for the newspaper just yet. I can read the SF Chronicle on the BART and leave it lying around for the next reader. I can also read the paper on an iPad, but I’d be worried about breaking it, dropping it or having it stolen from me. If I could get a daily newspaper printed on some form of smartpaper (like the intelligent, computerized paper recently shown in the Battlestar Galactica prequel “Caprica”), I probably would.

Still, mobile technology is laggy when it comes to playing video. I avoid watching videos on my iPhone because I can’t stand waiting for the damn things to load. At least a newspaper is still there to read when the BART stalls somewhere in Oakland just before crossing the Bay, as it invariably does. Most mobile devices still fail to get a clear signal under such circumstances. There goes your video and the article in which it’s embedded. Were you wanting to click to the next page? Ah, too late!

All that said, I do think writers who publish online might want to expand their skill set if only to stay relevant. Publishers will take any lame excuse to pay people less than they ought to; the print vs. web canard is just a symptom of the industry’s failure to stay current. It’s offensive and foolish to pay online writers less money while attempting to create a strong online presence. If the idea is to create a more compelling web experience, then surely the writing being published online should be worth the money that pays for it. You get what you pay for, and if the publishing industry is paying less for online work, they’re expecting less. Not the best way to “synergize” one’s web presence. The publishing industry needs to make a fundamental shift in philosophy: web publishing is not secondary, or less than print publishing. Rather it’s a different way of distributing information, which requires a vastly different approach to the readership, the “content” (I hate that term), profits, advertising, and so on. Publishers need to stop dabbling in WWW as though it’s some passing phase, a cesspool populated by idiots and twelve year-olds. People will pay for quality (video game industry, anyone?), and quality means paying people to produce good work, including writers, photographers and, er, the folks who make videos (videographers?).

Head over to Dianne’s site to read the other comments, and leave one of your own.

vegan hot chocolate that omnivores love

Wednesday, December 30th, 2009


Vegan hot chocolate is not an oxymoron. It exists, and it’s delicious. Curious? Read my ramblings and find the recipe at my Oakland Cooking column on

my favorite grocery store

Tuesday, October 6th, 2009

 coconut thin sauce

As a rule, I prefer the farmers’ market to the supermarket. The farmers’ market is so much more vibrant, and of course, the produce is incredibly fresh. But I do have my favorite local shops, among them, one with the unusual name Sun Hop Fat #1. Why do I love Sun Hop Fat and what is that weird looking jar of goo? Find out more at my first post for the

remembering keith floyd

Wednesday, September 30th, 2009

Not many people here in the US seem to be familiar with the larger than life figure that was Keith Floyd. He was a uniquely talented cook, restaurateur and cooking show host in the UK. It has been said of his shows that he would deconstruct the very idea of a cooking show on camera, and then put it back together again before your eyes. I was lucky enough to have discovered his shows on my local BBC station while living in Israel. Read more about why I’ll miss Keith Floyd over at BlogHer.

slow food nation

Friday, September 5th, 2008

taste pavilion @ slow food nation 08

I attended the Taste Pavilion at Slow Food Nation last Sunday evening. This was the first Slow Food sponsored celebration of American traditionally produced foods. The food was enjoyable, the lines were not.

At $65 a pop, was it worth navigating the crowds?

Read more about it at Well Fed on the Town


oakland: food mecca

Wednesday, July 23rd, 2008


OK, maybe not, but there is plenty of good, even great food to be found in my particular neck of the SF Bay Area woods. (If I ever massacre a cliché like that again, please shoot me.)

Check out my update on Oakland eateries over at Well Fed on the Town.

farmer brown

Thursday, June 12th, 2008

Photo by DJ Wallstrom from the Farmer Brown website

I am a sucker for American Southern and Soul foods. Give me fried chicken with hot sauce any time, day or night, breakfast, lunch or dinner. Black eyed peas and rice, cornbread, collard greens with smoky ham hock. I love it all. Just thinking about crispy fried chicken makes me crave it. Our default places for fried chicken tend to be the Lake Merritt Diner and the Home of Chicken n’ Waffles here in Oakland. But recently, we checked out Farmer Brown in San Francisco. Farmer Brown is unique in that the management sources their produce from local African-American farmers, a nice concept, I think. Read more here

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