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Sharing The Kitchen

By Dorothy Kalins, November/December 2009

Author Dorothy Kalins remembers the people who taught her how to cook.


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Melissa is a better cook than I’ll ever be, but it is the soapy exuberance of her after-dinner work that I recall when I’m up to my elbows in dirty dishes, remembering to lovingly wash the bottoms of those pots.

Camille follows me into the cleverly engineered kitchen of her Manhattan apartment. We’ve just had dinner in her dining room which is painted the kind of confident red only a top interior designer can pull off, and I’m in search of some milk for my coffee. She opens a carton and Owwf! It smells awful. It’s gone bad. For years after that, she’d leave this message on my answering machine: “Come for dinner. We have fresh milk!”

They may not be homemade cookies in fancy tins or jars of fruit preserves tricked out in gingham headscarves, but the generous advice from the kitchens of my friends are gifts nonetheless. Each time I make a biscuit, or prepare a salad, or stuff a chicken, or stir a risotto, or peel an apple, or sniff a carton of milk for freshness, I hear their voices and they comfort me, warm as a hug.

Dorothy Kalins, former executive editor of Newsweek and founding editor of Saveur, produced My New Orleans: The Cookbook by John Besh (Andrews McMeel, September 2009).



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