My experience as a food reporter, professionally trained chef, and avid home cook has given me a fairly liberal perspective on the Food Universe. I’m pretty willing to try anything–from a consumption or production standpoint–and decide afterwards whether it seems worthwhile or not. I’m definitely not: vegetarian, vegan, gluten-free, wheat-allergic, locavore, weight-watching, or teetotaling. If I had to state clearly and unequivocally the terms of my personal Food Creed–the principles that guide my Eating, Cooking, Shopping, Thrill-Seeking, Basic Alone-in-the-Kitchen Self–they would be these:


1. Every calorie should be a wanted calorie.

I don’t believe in eating anything–healthy or unhealthy–that doesn’t provide maximum pleasure per calorie. I would rather eat a salad with no dressing than one with diet salad dressing, which tastes to me like a pure chemical bath. If I urgently need a cookie, it’s going to be a Mallomar.

2. Don’t pay a restaurant to serve you something you could make just as well (or better) at home.

Self-explanatory, I think. Here’s the French Fry Corollary: Don’t bother making at home something they can do much better in a restaurant.

3. If you have a block about doing or making something in the kitchen, that’s an indication that you have an opportunity to learn something new.