06/22/15 2:00pm

Our cooking advice column, Dear Liza, is penned by Liza Queen, one of the pioneers of the New Brooklyn food scene. Her restaurants Queen’s Hideaway and later Potlikker both attracted a cult-like following and transcended easy categorizing, save for their reliance upon Greenmarket fresh foods and Queen’s Southern-tinged style of cooking. Now she is between restaurants–and fortunately for us, answering questions from inquisitive home cooks. Send her your questions here. This week Liza shares her culinary must-reads with us.

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Summer Cooking by Elizabeth David

Let just say, for simplicity’s sake, that Elizabeth David was Britain’s Julia Child. Like Julia Child, she wrote books on food and cooking post World War II, focusing on fresh ingredients and country/home-style cooking of the Mediterranean at a time when processed foods and the mechanization of the food industry was in full swing, new enough and useful enough to be much celebrated.

It is said that she did not like to talk about herself or give away personal details of her life, and that people were always shocked by the “unconventionality” of her life when the prose in her cookbooks was so “dull.”

I always thought that perception was deeply strange as, when I read this book, I always thought her voice and personality come through so clearly: a dry as a bone wit, an impatience with laziness or stupidity, a withering hatred of inferior product, all surrounded with a true sensualist’s love of beautiful food and an awareness of how context fuels the feeling of a meal. (more…)

11/21/14 10:00am
An embarrassment of kale salads. Photo: Annaliese Griffin

An embarrassment of kale salads. Photo: Annaliese Griffin

I’ve hosted Thanksgiving nine times over the past 10 years, and it’s something I love to do. Gathering around a table with a mix of old friends and new faces and then watching the whole thing (d)evolve into a drunken dance party is my favorite thing. It’s always been a team effort, with lots of help from my husband, sister, brother-in-law and friends, and it’s always a labor of love, but over the years I’ve noticed that some people make great guests, others…not so much. Here’s how to up your guest game, from the perspective of a long-time host. Oh, and those of you out there who still send hand-written thank you notes? You are modern day heroes.

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11/21/14 8:39am
Take control of the turkey--it's the main event after all. Photo: Gabrielle Sierra

Take control of the turkey–it’s the main event after all. Photo: Gabrielle Sierra

Ah, Thanksgiving, a magical holiday that gathers friends and family around a table filled with flowers, candles, food and an obscene amount of wine.

Whether you’re hosting a traditional Thanksgiving, or a Friendsgiving before you head to the family homestead, coordinating a big dinner can be hard work, and unexpected issues can crop up before, in the middle and even after the event.

Over the past few years I’ve become a Friendsgiving pro, hosting a group of pals each year before we all scatter across the country, but these lessons work for any big dinner party. Here are a few tips and tricks that can lighten your workload, streamline your planning, and help make your holiday as easy as pumpkin pie. And as sweet as pumpkin pie. And as delicious as pumpkin pie.

Mmm pumpkin pie.

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