In which I ponder edible seaweed, making your own salt, and why buying your own cow isn’t really a solution for most people who want to eat quality beef at low prices.


I’m a little late posting this one, but if you are a lover of automats, turn of the century New York, or food history, you might like it. It’s in Bookforum (where there are many, many other great things to read, too).


Candy. Bookforum. My dream assignment. That’s all I’m going to say.


Do you like bao? Or Emerson? Or basketball? Or hip hop? Or lions? Find them all, and even more I can’t possibly begin to describe in my new Bookforum column on chef Eddie Huang and his memoir, Fresh Off the Boat. If nothing else you’re going to find yourself very, very hungry. But he’s pretty hilarious company, too.


Okay, yes, it’s about fruitcake. But really it’s about sending people food as a holiday gift and why you should (in my opinion) do it. Also, I threw in some Greek mythology to distract you from the fruitcake. Click here.


Go out and get Margaret Talbot’s truly wonderful new book about her actor father Lyle and his journey through the byways and bright lights of American entertainment from carnival sideshows to Hollywood, Ed Wood, and Ozzie and Harriet. If you need more convincing than that, read my review in the hot-off-the-internet-presses new Slate Book Review.


Read here about a beautiful, ethereal project called Stone River in the July issue of Landscape Architecture Magazine, where I wrote about it and its creator, Jon Piasecki. I’m amazed by the photos that accompany the piece, taken by John Dolan.


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(for more, visit “About”)

I’ve written two books: Girl Sleuth: Nancy Drew and the Women Who Created Her and Eating for Beginners: An Education in the Pleasures of Food from Chefs, Farmers, and One Picky Kid. For more on those, look in in the “Books” section of this site or click the covers to the right.  I’ve also written for many magazines and newspapers, ranging from the New York Times Magazine and Book Review to Vogue, Slate, The LA Times, and Bookforum, where I currently write a column about food books. Check out “Publications” for some of that work. I’ve published poetry in The New Yorker, the Paris Review and other places; a few poems are available on the “Publications” page as well.

At the moment, I’m deep into Ralph Waldo Emerson, about whose essay “Self-Reliance” I’m writing my next book. See “Emerson Project” for more on that.

I edit and write many other things as well, including book manuscripts, newsletters, and communications and development materials for schools, universities, and non-profit foundations. For more information on what I’ve done and do, please see “Hire.”