books Kitchen Reader

The Kitchen Reader: Tender at the Bone

This is my first Kitchen Reader post (even though I joined months ago), and sadly, it will be a short one. Life has been so chaotic this year that I haven’t had time to bake or read, hence the pathetic number of recent posts. I apologize. This month’s pick is Tender at the Bone, by former New York Times restaurant critic and more recently former Gourmet editor Ruth Reichl. I read this book when it first came out, in 1998, and I was so happy to have the chance to read it again. Ruth Reichl loved food from an early age, possibly as a reaction to her mother’s alarming culinary habits. As she moved through high school and college, cooking was a way to connect with people and make friends. And later, of course, writing about food became her career. Tender at the Bone is a series of vignettes from Reichl’s life, written with self-awareness and insight and a good deal of humor. Best of all, she includes recipes in every chapter, some of which sound pretty wonderful. In another life, I would certainly have tried a few of them before writing this review. Check out the other Kitchen Reader blogs for a fuller review of this book, and I swear I will do better next month.

Dorie ice cream

Tuesdays With Dorie: Burnt Sugar Ice Cream

I really wanted to make this ice cream, from the day I saw it listed as this week’s pick. I was totally going to make this. I love ice cream. I love homemade ice cream most of all.

And then I forgot.

But I made it on Tuesday, and it’s Tuesdays With Dorie, right? It’s still Tuesday. (Even if just barely.)

Because I forgot, I didn’t have any whole milk. Or cream. So I made this with one cup of half-and-half and two cups of skim milk. (I know, I know — all of you ice cream purists are screaming. I’m sorry.)

Even with so little fat, the mix was good. Really good. I could pretty happily have drunk it all.

And then I froze it, and it got better. Wow. If you haven’t made this ice cream, do it now, with whatever combination of dairy products you can come up with. We actually think we like it better with the lower fat content: It was lighter and more appropriate for a hot day like today.

The lower fat content made it softer than it might otherwise have been, and it melted fast. But we didn’t care. It was good.

And back by popular demand, family opinions!

Tim: I really liked the subtle caramel flavor, and it was perfect eating texture right out of the freezer — semisoft rather than hard. Overall, though, I thought it was a little too sweet.

Alex: I thought it was overly sweet, but enjoyed the delicate flavor. I’d eat it again if the sugar was cut somehow.

Ben: At first I thought it was too sweet. Then I decided it was really good.

And Ben, my brilliant second-born, fixed the too-sweet problem: pretzels! He suggested breaking up some pretzel rods and mixing them in, and that indeed made this absolutely perfect — one of the best ice creams I’ve ever had. Yay Ben!

Thanks to Becky of Project Domestication for choosing this recipe for us this week. Go there; get the recipe; make the ice cream. Thank you, Becky. Thank you, thank you, thank you!