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A Beginner's Guide to Olives: 14 Varieties Worth Seeking Out

Olives have been a part of the human diet for thousands of years, long before the canning industry, grocery stores, and martinis came into play. But a few decades ago, your average American knew only a few varieties—some were green, some were black, some were pitted, and the best ones were pimento-stuffed...and that was that. Today, we dig a little deeper into the diverse and versatile world of olives. More

9 Vermont Cheeses To Get Your Hands On

Nowhere is better to bask in the wealth of handmade USA cheese than in Vermont, a true cheese-lover's paradise. It's the state with the highest number of artisanal cheesemakers per capita: over 40 of them. And many of them are making some decidedly fine cheese. I would suggest trying all artisanal Vermont cheese that you encounter, but to help narrow things down, here are some wonderful ones with which to begin. More

The Irish Cheese Revolution: 6 Irish Farmstead Cheeses You Should Know

Irish cheeses are defined by erratic weather and wild landscapes. With no rulebooks and a history of tiny farms doing their own thing, the Irish cheese landscape is one of small volume, seasonal products, and funky finds. This makes discovering Irish cheese a particularly rewarding endeavor for cheese lovers. Here are 6 farmstead cheeses to look out for. More

Grocery Girl: Salad Bars Make Me Happy

Go crazy with creamy cubes of tofu, balsamicy chicken, avocado, sweet peppadew peppers, sun-dried tomatoes, crunchy sesame sticks, blue cheese—whatever your heart desires. And since my heart tends to desire everything, I usually end up with a giant, expensive salad. More

Grocery Girl: How a Grocery Store Merchandizes Products

Before a few weeks ago, I gave merchandizing about as much thought as bird watching (zero). Then I learned that merchandising is the art of staging a store to attract customers to specific products. And in grocery stores, where thousands and thousands of foodstuffs compete for attention, merchandizing is a big deal. More

Grocery Girl Goes Grocery Shopping

With my new apartment kitchen cabinets nearly empty and my heart clamoring to get busy in the kitchen, I know it's time to embark on some hardcore grocery shopping. I recently realized I had no staples besides a small box of what I had carted with me from my former home—some flaky Brittany fleur de sel, Valrhona cocoa powder, a canister of steel-cut oats, and a few stray bags of soba noodles. Here is my current shopping list. More

Grocery Girl: My Life Working for a Grocery Chain

Some days I am in jeans and sneaks running around the stores, hanging up signs on ladders and telling customers where the oatmeal is; or giving out umbrellas to VIPs and helping orchestrate a teen cook-off. No two days are alike. I get to do a lot of writing: waxing poetic about standing rib roasts, or Catalan olive oils, or Basque cheeses, or frozen veggie burgers. More

Grocery Girl: Identifying Yourself as a Food Person

We plot what we will eat next. We daydream about what we ate yesterday. We set our sites on the perfect ice cream cone, the ideal curry, the ramen to put all other ramen to shame. A great meal brings brightens us down to the soul, inspires us, elates us. And we delight in its details and myriad components—the shopping, the planning, the prepping, the cooking. The sights and smells and flavors; the conversation and nuance and joy and possibility. More

Grocery Girl: What Your Grocery Store Says About You

It's often easy to see what a grocery store is all about the moment you walk through the doors. I remember my first time in Dean & Deluca as a bright-eyed, food-loving child. The beautiful, impeccable sculptures of perfect fruits in wicker baskets. The precise, long rows of fancy chocolates. You know what's on the other end—the "value" places with nary a bell and whistle, the supermarkets that are cheap. More

Grocery Girl: Opening a Grocery Store

This is my first grocery store opening, and I'm most awed by the scale. Even the larger restaurants where I've worked have been like families. Everyone knows each other and more than enough of each other's business. At my restaurant openings, the VIPs were friends of the owners, neighbors, perhaps a big deal chef around town. Here we're talking Mayor Bloomberg. It's a whole 'nother ballgame. More

Served: Is Cheese Good for You?

People are afraid of cheese. It's usually older customers who ask about low calorie, low fat, or low sodium cheese. My coworker is from Italy, and no amount of fat free cheddar-buying ladies can help him wrap his head around this "light" cheese phenomenon. "It doesn't make any sense. Cheese is fat," he ponders. "Fat free cheese is like meat-free beef!" More

Served: A Day at the Grocery Store

The routine is as follows: pack and process cheese, help customers decipher between Sbrinz and Tomme du Jura, find out for a distressed mom where we have sauerkraut ("but not in bags!!"), weigh out precisely 1.2 pounds of pot cheese for an ancient lady with a big smile, field calls from cheese wholesalers, nibble on caramelly Piave, dole out samples of Etorki, joke with guys at the deli counter next door. More

Served: Hello Groceries and Cheesemongering!

The cheese manager threw me a white chef's jacket and a baseball cap emblazoned with the store's logo, and I got to work. I wrapped up buttons of ash-coated chevre in slick bundles of plastic, labeled and dated them, stacked them symmetrically on the shelves. I scooped up feta and feta brine and weighed out the packages. I built beautiful sculptures of goat gouda, and comte, and sheep's milk yogurt. More

An Ode to Fedora, Ziggy Piggy, and Restaurant Off-Hours

Carey, this is incredibly beautiful. I feel you. I adore this. Thank you for writing.

A Fond Farewell To National Managing Editor Erin Zimmer

Erin, What a lucky girl I am to have gotten to know you and work with you! Love and luck on your next chapter. You are amazing!

In Our Community Corner: Meet Erica Jacobs (aka: 'Teachertalk')

So great to read a bit about you. I have loved your comments and appreciated your kind words for YEARS and wondered about the person behind Teachertalk! Wish you all good and delicious things!

Where to Eat Near Columbia University

@ simon, thank you! I love the Abbey, and the other spots are new to me and now on my list to check out.

@teachertalk I miss my column, too, and thanks so much for the kind words. I'm resolving to you and to me to write more!!

Where to Eat Near Columbia University

@simon, like what?

9 Awesome Italian Cheeses Everyone Should Know

@conaglio yes...la tur is very much in that vein, and totally awesome. same for brunet (goat's milk)--so luscious and wondrous!

9 Awesome Italian Cheeses Everyone Should Know

@coppertone24 I love me some burrata. I was eating some last night and kicking myself for not including it. Here's a great burrata piece by Carey from back in '09: http://www.seriouseats.com/2009/04/making-burrata-the-meta-mozzarella-in-puglia-italy.html?ref=search

@dana bach I'm no allergy expert, but here's an article that shows that people sensitive to cow's milk are often sensitive to buffalo milk as well: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2683364/

Goat mozz exists--it's a little drier and very mild. I'd use it in cooking, but choose something else to snack on.

9 Awesome Italian Cheeses Everyone Should Know

@scalfin Pecorino Toscano is hard, but pliable. And there is nothing closely cheddar-like in the Italian cheese lexicon--but subbing asiago wouldn't hurt anyone.

9 Awesome French Cheeses Everyone Should Know

J.W. Hanner, I love Epoisses! But I prefer Langres--same genre/vibe, but a little more nuanced. In my humble opinion.

Grocery Girl: The Private Label Conundrum

Thanks for reading, chiming in, and encouragement! I'm working on it. Still finding my niche at work, and with Grocery Girl. I'm confident more adventures will unfold.

Grocery Girl: The Private Label Conundrum

@nycpunk1 I'm sorry to hear that. But thank you for your honesty. hang in with me...I'm still figuring it out, but I'm invested in making it better than ever!

The Complete, No-Nonsense, Slightly Neurotic Guide to Making Great Latkes

Max, I love this post! I gotta get me some latkes stat!

Grocery Girl Goes Grocery Shopping

@Pavlov--such a simple meal. We were trying to be healthy so it was a kind of kicten sink salad with roasted spicy chickpeas and corn, avocado, arugula, chevre, and a ton of veggies...yum! Not much cooking at all. But good eating.

Grocery Girl Goes Grocery Shopping

Grocery Girl: My Life Working for a Grocery Chain

Serious Eats Is Five Years Old: Happy Birthday to Us!

happy happy birthday serious eats! love being a part of this wonderful place, with these wonderful people!

Grocery Girl: My Life Working for a Grocery Chain

adam, thank you!
i love your ideas...will use them for sure.
(no self-checkout, though!)

Grocery Girl: My Life Working for a Grocery Chain

@dyrima most olive oil is made using the process of "continuous filtration" or "continuous cycle" these days.

this is a good explanation: http://italymondo.com/blog/olive-mill-making-olive-oil

Grocery Girl: My Life Working for a Grocery Chain

I hear you. Hard to write dirt about your employers when they're your employers. It's a challenge to be honest and not offend anyone, etc. Brainstorming ways to accomplish this and hold your interest too!

Grocery Girl: Opening a Grocery Store

@tklin so exciting!! can't wait to hear what you think of the store.

Served: Leaving Restaurants for Groceries

Thanks :)
@TrashedOut me and Micky are going strong, and not working together has proved good for us. He will be spending a lot of weekends in NYC, and I will be spending a lot of weekends in Philly!
@TeacherTalk can't wait!

Served: Learning to Feed Myself Better

Thanks for all the wonderful comments! Was feeling a bit nervous to write this stuff, and you guys make me feel really glad that I did. By the way, it was a fabulous, memorable dinner and worth a pound or two :)

Served: The Blessing and Curse of Our Garden

Right now, the staff is wearing black pants, black shoes, button down white shirts, and ties for the men. T shirts and polo shirts are a bit casual for us...but I don't want anyone to suffer either!

@minijen I like the inside/outside section idea! Especially because on those brutally hot days, many guests do prefer to dine indoors with AC.

@teachertalk good idea re pictures :)

Served: The Accidental Manager

I have learned that small = better for me, no question. There are about a million things that are great about where I am now, and I do need to remind myself to appreciate that!
The grass is always greener. But I am idealistic enough to long for a career where passions, interests, and talents line up pretty well with what I'm doing all day. But every job has its tedium!
Thanks for thoughtful response!!

Served: The Accidental Manager

@ericambrose I know there are better things out there! No one should feel like their work is inducing vomit. Let's both look for something amazing and right for us...

Cook the Book: Asparagus with Butter and Soy

Add the creamy yolk of a gently poached egg to blanched and lightly charred young asparagus dressed in butter and soy—that's it. Hearty and salty in the best way, the kind of plate that makes it easy to think about becoming a seasonal vegetarian because, really, who needs steak when you have perfect asparagus and runny poached eggs? More

Served: What Is My Restaurant All About Anyway?

I want us to be the best restaurant in Philadelphia. We already have the most stunning garden. My goal: best food and best service. Not best Farm to Table. Not best Fine Dining yet Casual Unpretentious Atmosphere with Molecular Touches. Just a really solid, wonderful restaurant that gets better every day. A place to come to on any given night, or to celebrate something special, and leave feeling really good. Is that possible. And if so, is that enough? More

Served: Christmas with Restaurant People

I blog by day and wait tables in a New York City restaurant by night. I'm excited to bring you Served, dispatches from the front of the house. Enjoy! D. was the effervescent wine director at an awesome restaurant nearby, and a regular at my place. A year ago, D. sat at the table by the cheese case, waiting for his girlfriend. He had just finished work and was bursting with energy. I, on the other hand, was fading fast. I poured him a glass of aglianico and we chatted. “Do you have Christmas Eve plans?” he inquired. I didn’t. Five minutes later, that had changed. Feast of the Seven Fishes The Feast of the Seven Fishes, also known as... More