Kitchen science fair

I’ve mentioned before that Valerian gets an upset stomach from eating foods that have a lot of baking powder in them. I’d never heard of this reaction before we met; in fact I don’t think I had ever given any thought to the leavening agents I used. I first read up on the chemistry of […]

A note on dough

For some reason (cold weather?) we’ve got a lot of doughy recipes coming up, so I thought I’d say a few words about working with our tiny friend, yeast.

Hungarian Paprika – a primer

As ginger and soy sauce are to Asian cooking, paprika is to Hungarian cuisine. When I say “paprika”, you almost certainly imagine the spice. The truth is that paprika is much more then the red powder from the shelves of the supermarket. In Hungarian, the word “paprika” means both the spice and the pepper itself. […]

Kitchen cupboard inventory

I remember once, back when Valerian and I first met about ten years ago, we saw a crowd of people gathered in front of a shop, and he exclaimed “oh, they must have bananas!” When I stopped laughing, I asked him what he meant and he explained that under socialism, if word got out that […]


I feel like this article has to be written. I am very disappointed when a magazine like Cook’s Illustrated makes a goulash recipe and it turns out to be something else. I love Cook’s Illustrated and I forgive them. But let’s put things straight in the case of Hungarian gulyás. The biggest mistake people make […]