Dear Milk Streeter,

It’s the old joke—good news and bad news. The good news is that our new kitchen/office is ready at 177 Milk Street in downtown Boston and it looks fabulous. And the charter issue of Milk Street Magazine is off the press and headed towards the bindery. Copies will be in the mail by early October. The bad news is… well, it’s not really bad. But it is hard work. Because now it’s time to deliver on our promises—our new radio and television shows, the Milk Street Cooking School, and, of course, the next issue of Milk Street Magazine (regular publication begins with the March/April issue). A busy fall ahead.

I recently interviewed Nigella Lawson and asked her about how she responds to the often-asked question of guilty pleasure. Her response? “Look, if you feel guilty about pleasure, you don’t deserve to have pleasure.” Could not agree more. I also interviewed Naomi Duguid, author of Taste of Persia, and she described meeting an old woman in an apple orchard in Armenia who invited her back to her home. Naomi describes the scene after she is served an apple and a cup of tea, “We don’t have a language but there’s just this feeling… it’s a huge world but hands across the sea, hands across the table. That’s what I have to say.” The image stays with you—an apple on the family’s best plate, sipping tea in the twilight, and the common language is food.

The Christopher Kimball Live!: Culinary Mystery Tour events are going well—just did Portland, Maine, and New York City. There are seven cities left on the calendar. Audience questions from the New York event included, “Are you spiritually a Buddhist?” “Sugar, fat, salt—are they all evil?” “When did you abandon bland and embrace flavor? Aging taste buds?” and “Fine cuisine cooking with marijuana—any tips?” Had no good advice for the latter!

Our Milk Street Cooking School opens in late October. The Milk Street Session with Fuchsia Dunlop sold out in just a few hours but we do have tickets for our Milk Street Menu class which includes our meat and chickpea stew, salted avocado with marjoram vinaigrette, pistachio and herb couscous salad, harissa, and caramel oranges. The stew uses a garlic trick that I love. Take a whole head of garlic, remove any loose papery skin, slice off the very top and simply drop it into a stew or soup and let it cook. When done, squeeze the entire head, cut side down, and the soft cloves will drop into the pot. The flavor is subtle and won't have that classic garlic bite and heavy aftertaste.

Our fall tours are sold out, but we’ve added two new events that let you taste our food, ask us questions, and see our space. Taste of Milk Street and Taste of Milk Street: The Holiday Edition are faster than a cooking class and more involved than a regular tour.

In the recipe department, we just finished up our browned butter-cardamom banana bread, which is banana bread for grownups. We bloom the flavors of the cardamom by heating it in brown butter before adding the bananas and baking. Really nice.

In the book department, I just interviewed Jonathan Balcombe, the author of What A Fish Knows. Fabulous read. Did you know that reefs have “cleaning stations” where fish queue up to get parasites removed? Some cleaners, to get more business, even offer a little free massage! The other amazing story was about groupers and moray eels teeming up to fish together. The eel gets the small, hard-to-get meals and the grouper goes for the bigger fish in open water. The ocean version of The Odd Couple.

I leave you with a quick story about an older gentleman who used to sit outside Sherman’s Country Store in the summer. I stopped by to get some beer around 5 p.m. and said in passing, “Nice day!” He thought a bit and replied, “Yup, so far!” Vermonters just don’t like to go out on a limb.

Christopher Kimball Founder,
Christopher Kimball's Milk Street