In which the author tells you how to run your life -- or at least how to make the most of the fun parts of it.

For instance, inside these pages you will learn how to weather a mortar attack in good spirits; how to avoid booking yourself on the Internet into a bed and breakfast full of twee quilts and dusty tchotkes; and how to plan a dinner party that will stun your guests with deliciousness and style and not destroy your will to live with the amount of work you have to do to pull it off.

These are things I know firsthand, and things people who know me often ask me about (though I usually just book them into bed and breakfasts myself -- identifying ruffled death traps is an acquired skill). I am almost always right about everything (food, style and travel-related, anyway, and often many other things) and if everyone would just do as I say, dinner would taste better, cupcakes would not be dry, your parties would be more fun (for you), and mortar attacks... well, they always suck. I can't do anything about them.

*except laundry. I can't manage my own laundry, much less yours.

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Thursday, September 9, 2010

How to Stock Your kitchen (The Non-Edible Edition)

Here’s what you need, at minimum:

· A stockpot for boiling pasta and lobsters (if you can stand their screaming. It’s like the Silence of the Lambs up in there)
· A saucepan or two. Heavy bottomed so it doesn’t burn the contents.
· A frying pan (I like them large and in cast iron. Non stick, naturally, really easy to clean. They go from range top to oven. You can make fried chicken, pancakes, cornbread – anything really. And they are heavy and the stuff doesn’t burn).
· A 10- inch chef’s knife
· A paring knife
· A serrated long knife (for bread and tomatoes)
· One or two cutting boards (I like wood but there are others that take less room)
· A whisk
· Tongs
· One of these
· A clutch of wooden spoons
· A metal spatula for flipping pancakes, eggs, steak…
· Silicone spatulas in various sizes
· Nesting mixing bowls
· Measuring cups (for dry ingredients) and spoons
· A 4-cup glass measuring cup (Pyrex goes into the microwave)
· A microplaner (for parmesan cheese, zest, chocolate, ginger…I use mine every day)
· A citrus squeezer, or a reamer. I like the squeezer.
· Parchment, plastic wrap, foil
· A tea kettle and/or a coffee maker of some sort.

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