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Mrs. S

I can't imagine pouring bacon fat over food, either... it just seems wrong, somehow. Very, very wrong. On many levels.


I'm so glad you liked Heat. What a fun romp! And your pasta looks fantastic, especially the tight bacon shot.


I understand exactly what you mean about really enjoying a book and being happy with it, getting to a break in the focus, putting it down and just never getting back to it. Regardless, you made me interested to read both of these.
The spaghetti looks divine.
The bacon fat - I think it's really a beautiful taste, done right to be enjoyed in moderation. Moderation, maybe a huge dose once in a blue moon. Not something to be endulged in everyday and probably not even every week.
I also am impressed with Mario.


I just read your post, walked over to my desk and pulled out the photocopied recipes I grabbed from Garlic and Sapphires a few weeks ago. Sure enough, there was the carbonara recipe, right under the risotto primavera from p.53 and a whole bunch more...I reluctantly returned it to the library. I burned through that and ordered Comfort me with Apples and Tender at the Bone - all three books in five days. We seem to be living food on the same wavelength...and love the dog shots...I think I'll be trying Nicky's Vanilla Cake p.291 soon, just 'cuz...

Best, Nicky (Nicola)

the bee

This looks great and will be dinner this Sunday. Yummmmmmm...
I want to fix some meals for Miz S during the time of her surgery.
Can we all get together so she does not have to cook at all ?
The bee


"And then at the point Bill Buford leaves the Babbo kitchen to go to Italy to continue his cooking adventures I put the book down one night and somehow never got around to picking it up again. It has sat on my nightstand as more and more books piled on top of it, and somehow it still hasn't worked its way back to the top. "

ME TOO! I thought I was the only one. I thought it really de-evolved after he went to Italy. I enjoyed the first half and then it was just "eh".


yummy, i really need to make this. i think i'll take your sage advice and use less pasta for more saucy. more saucey am goooood!!


Thanks for the book reviews. My brother loves those types of books and I'm never sure which ones to buy for him.

Bacon and pasta are two of my favorite food groups!!


Save the second half of "Heat" for good reading if you intend on visiting Italy in the near future. I bought "Heat" at the airport on my way to Tuscany. Little did I know that I was going to be in the exact area that Buford describes so well. This might put a different spin on things. I loved it and could not put it down.


What a winner. Who doesn´t like carbonara? And who agrees on the perfect one? I´m a no-garlic, crispy bacon girl. But I´ll try it, I think


Yummm, one of my favorite comfort food. I like my carbonara with roasted garlic! But I try not to have it too often because it's quite sinful.

I've only read Tender at the Bone and Comfort me with Apples. I'll have to get a copy of Garlic and Sapphires too. Thank you for the wonderful book reviews. :)


Yummm, one of my favorite comfort food. I like my carbonara with roasted garlic! But I try not to have it too often because it's quite sinful.

I've only read Tender at the Bone and Comfort me with Apples. I'll have to get a copy of Garlic and Sapphires too. Thank you for the wonderful book reviews. :)


I thoroughly enjoyed all the R.R. books, too. I haven't tried Heat yet..but it sounds like I should. The recipe looks and sounds great, and I'd be tempted to try a little of the bacon fat too.

I'm curious about the use of the word "wrong", Mrs. S. I can see thinking it might taste too greasy, or be unhealthy, but "wrong"? That's an ethics/morals word to me, and I find concepts of right and wrong disconcerting used in a food context. Maybe I'm misinterpreting your comment?


Lindy --
"Wrong" is used in a separate context these days; outside of the right/wrong reference.

If something is "just wrong" it means that it doesn't fit -- or it doesn't seem appealing.

Or if someone says something mean, yet funny about someone else -- you laugh and say "Oh that's just wrong."

haha .. :-P



Delicious looking! I want to dive into that picture right now. I like that tip about keeping the bacon soft.

I've just gotten into food writing, and will def check out Ruth Reichl's books. It is hard to describe tastes without using the same words over and over.

I also want to read MK Fisher.


I'm from the South, so we think bacon fat is mother's milk! :) I think RR is a wonderful writer, very poetic, as you point out. She has a strong lust for food--and life. As for your pasta--outrageously delicious looking! Too bad I'm not poetic like Ruth. All I can say is ......drool.


You didn't even add any cream. This is a light version! Even without the cream and the extra bacon fat it looks delicious. I've been dieing to read Heat, I'm really behind on the food books.


Will-Yeah, I know the usage-which is not really that new. It was the "on many levels" which made me wonder if there was more to it than distaste or dissonance...


I've devoured every Reichl book, but might be the last food blogger on earth to read Heat. (I'd like to, but I've been in Omnivore's Dillemna land for months now, and see no exit sign in the near future.)

This looks like exactly what my stomach is craving, unfortunate for my arteries. I think I even have the baldergash to pour the bacon fat over, at least once.

Lisa (Homesick Texan)

I have a brand new pack of bacon sitting in my fridge, and now I know what to do with it tonight.

I'd read Buford's piece in the New Yorker a few years ago, and I figured that was enough. Glad to hear my instincts were correct. But I really miss reading Reichl every Wednesday--her reviews were indeed poetic and like reading a good short story.


Your Spaghetti Carbonara looks heavenly and definitely fits the bill, as our fall rains have begun.

Mario Batali's father owns a restaurant in Seattle. I thought you might enjoy this review:


It's been years since I made this dish; I used to use the recipe in the old New York Times cookbook, I think, but I got a little squeamish about the raw eggs, and yes, the bacon fat, but more all the additives than the grease itself. I used to keep a jar of it in the fridge and put big gobbets of it in lots of things, like greens, corn bread, even used it for part of the cooking grease for frying chicken. No more!

But I suppose I could make this once in awhile, it is so good!


Mrs S, bacon fat may be wrong but it's also oh-so right. Dammit! If only it wasn't so often so oh-so right.

Luisa, Heat was a fun romp and I enjoyed the part I read. And I know at some point I'll go back and read the other part.

Tanna, the moderation thing is good advice. Achieving moderation, even defining moderation, is sometimes hard but it's a good thing to strive for.

Nicky, I enjoyed both the other Reichl books too. She's a very enjoyable read. I'm anxious to hear how the vanilla cake comes out.

Bets, I think cooking for Miz S is a fine idea. We'll confer closer to the date.

rachel, it makes me feel better to know it wasn't just me.

Harlee, I totally agree that would put a different spin on it. There's no trip to Italy in my immediate future but if I ever do go, I'll remember that.

lobstersquad, I cannot believe how many versions of spaghetti carbonara there are -- cream is a pretty common variation but I've also seen wine and stock used. Of course, garlic seems like a good idea to me. Maybe a non-crispy bacon and garlic version would be a good compromise.

Christine, roasted garlic sounds good too. And I think you'll enjoy Garlic and Saphires if you enjoyed the other two books.

Lindy, I would recommend Heat even though I didn't finish it. I actually want to go back and re-read some of the parts where he was working in the Babbo kitchen. I'll let Mrs S speak for herself on the wrong thing (I took it the way Will did) but in retrospect I don't know why I was making such a big deal about bacon fat because really I don't think it's any worse for you than butter which while I do try to be somewhat moderate about, I probably wouldn't go on and on about.

Will, ever the linguist. But I'm waiting to hear that you've taken up cooking too.

Anne, I think you'll like Ruth Reichl. I also have a M.F.K. Fisher book sitting on my 'to read' pile which I haven't got to yet.

Sher, I think I want to think of bacon fat as mother's milk -- I'm just fearful. But again, I don't think it's any worse for your health than butter, it just seems worse.

Natalia, that's a good way to think of it! No cream makes it a light version. :-) Thanks!

Deb, the Omnivore's Dilemma is a book I've avoided because I'm afraid of how depressing it will be. I'm reading the Looming Tower instead because I think that will actually be less depressing.

Lisa, nice description of the Ruth Reichl reviews. I only read the NY Times a couple of times a month, usually on the weekends, and for some reason I never look for restaurant reviews.

Bonnie, the spaghetti carbonara is good rainy weather food. Interesting review of Armandino Batali's restaurant, and may I just say, you people in Seattle have a LOT of great restaurant choices.

Rebecca, it's funny, the raw egg didn't make me squeamish at all. It actually seems to get pretty well cooked by the heat of the pasta although it probably doesn't reach the 160 degrees for five minutes or whatever the magic formula for killing salmonella bacteria is. Of course, while I rarely eat uncooked eggs I don't worry about doing so. Funny how some things just seem to be more on the personal radar than other things.

the bee

Ok, let's begin with the fact that your worst cooking week would be my best week ever. Do not beat yourself up. Maybe you could just rest sometimes and tell some funny family stories. (be careful to clear them w/ Ms. S 1st because I want her to still be my friend.
Perhaps you could give us some favorite recipes from childhood? These are always fun. Maybe you could have guest cooks from time to time. Myself, I am looking for a good egg roll recipe that does not include crab.Has anyone done egg rolls? And last,just post anything so we know you are ok.
Baltimore is so cool. A photo spread of that would be great .


phoar - wait for the heart attack! I can imagine that this would taste pretty good but...
I love Ruth Reichl and now am going to look for Heat.

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