Who’s in the Kitchen?

(Please note: this was first posted on my new website

No one is in the kitchen, not even Dinah. Nor is anyone making dinner, not even “simple, easy, everyday meals,” per chef Mark Bittman in an October issue of Time.


No one’s in the kitchen. No one’s home. Photo by: designbuildinhabit

That’s a shame for a lot of reasons.

As Bittman points out, it’s so much healthier to eat at home. A home-cooked meal, compared to the same served in a restaurant, has two hundred fewer calories. It’s less expensive, too.

Sure, eating out is convenient. That’s why fast-food restaurants are so popular. But, when was the last time you had a real conversation at MacDonald’s or Burger King or even Chipotle? Do you even remember your last meal in a fast food restaurant? Who were you with? What did you talk about? Did you try something new?

Currently, Del Webb, the retirement community developer, is running a slice-of-life commercial narrated by a young-looking senior citizen who proudly claims, “I never cooked Thai food in my life, and now I’m cooking it for twenty people.” Well, I used to laugh at the ad, thinking he was treating his guests no better than guinea pigs. Now, I think, why not?

Why not step out of your comfort zone? Why not learn a new skill and make new friends? As a personal historian, I’m all for creating memories, as well as recording the past.

By the way, those of you who didn’t catch my reference to “Dinah in the kitchen” probably never had the pleasure of singing “I’ve Been Working on the Railroad” around a campfire. You can make up for lost time by listening to Muffin cartoon characters here. I’m sure any resemblance to “Hell on Wheels” is purely coincidental.

© 2014 Susan Marg – All Rights Reserved


Bon Anniversaire, Julia Child

I don’t know anyone, at least of my foodie friends, who didn’t want to rush home to make bouef bourguignon after watching Meryl Streep play Julia Child in Julie and Julia. Not many actually gave it a try, as far as I know, not having been invited for dinner, but it’s not too late to crank up the oven to 450 degrees and break out the beef, bacon, and Beaujolais, young and full-bodied.  Her recipes are all over the Internet and her many cookbooks are still in print.

Photo by: WorthThe Whisk

To commemorate the 100th anniversary of the birthday of the popular chef and television personality, this past August restaurants nationwide took part in a Julia Child Restaurant Week.  I offer some of her thoughts on cooking right (if not light), dining out, and eating well.

“The only real stumbling block is fear of failure. In cooking you’ve got to have a what-the-hell attitude.”

“If you’re afraid of butter, use cream.”

“The only time to eat diet food is while you’re waiting for the steak to cook.”

“It’s so beautifully arranged on the plate – you know someone’s fingers have been all over it.”

“This is Julia Child.  Bon appetit.”

© 2012 Susan Marg – All Rights Reserved


“Very fine hamburger.”  Julia Child with Dave Letterman: