That chubby guy, from the thing. Yeah. I'm the one who used to work in the frozen pizza factory, remember?

  • Location: Los Angeles, CA
  • Favorite foods: Everything from asparagus to a rare ribeye to a chili-cheeseburger. I have far more of a weakness for salty and savory than for sweet. Bring me a steak and a baked potato, and skip the dessert.
  • Last bite on earth: I plan to never have a last bite, as I have no intention of dying.

Latest Comments

How to Make Quick Dill Pickles to Top Burgers and Sandwiches

Good timing! Just yesterday I was looking at recipes for bread and butter pickles. Alton Brown's technique is pretty similar to this, but he says that after you pour the brine over the cukes and let them cool, you're supposed to let them "ripen" for a week in the fridge. Is there anything to that?

The Ultimate Beef Stroganoff

This was very, very good. Absolutely no problem with the recipe. But... serves four? More like twelve!

Easy Skillet Baked Ziti With Sausage and Ricotta


I can only hope that anyone looking at this recipe sees this warning and avoids disaster, unlike me.

WARNING: This is a recipe designed for a specialized pan of a specialized size called a 4.5 quart saute pan - the capacity of a largish pot that you could make a soup in. It's very wide, and a few inches deep. It's not a skillet, not even a big cast iron skillet. It's a specialized sort of pan that not many people own and that is quite expensive. Apparently you could also use a half-sized dutch oven. But what you can't use is a 4.5 quart pot. I know this for certain, because it's what I ended up trying after realizing that I didn't have anything even remotely like a 4.5 quart saute pan.

Just thought somebody should mention it. It's mentioned in the Equipment section, but I bet I'm not the only person to think "well, it's supposed to be a skillet recipe, so I'm sure it'll work in my 12 inch skillet."

Hey, @Kenji and Serious Eats editors: From now on, maybe when you call something a skillet recipe, make sure it can actually be made in a skillet? Just a suggestion.

The Comfort Food Diaries: In Praise of the Chicago Hot Dog

@VYinLA: There was a place in the Valley, in Van Nuys as I recall, that was a Chicago-style dog place. I think it was called QT Dogs or something stupid like that, but they did make a good Chicago dog and Italian beef. Sadly, they went out of business.

The Comfort Food Diaries: In Praise of the Chicago Hot Dog

Every time we flew to Chicago to visit my in-laws in West Rogers Park, at least two meals were mandatory: Sausage pizza from Malnati's, and a dog from Superdawg. (I always thought that an Italian beef from Portillo's should have been on that list too, but neither my wife nor my in-laws seemed to feel as strongly about them.)

They've since moved out to the far suburbs, but I would still eat a Superdawg right now.

The Food Lab: Here's Why McDonald's Burgers Don't Rot

Death, taxes, articles about how bad The Kids These Days Are (with an option for Probably Because of the Terrible Parenting These Days), and breathless accounts of McDonald's burgers not rotting: These things are inevitable. I remember when Kenji refuted it the first time, but it seems nothing will kill this particular meme.

The Comfort Food Diaries: All I Want Are Some Potato Skins

You're welcome, Keith, and I'm glad you quit smoking (because man, it sucks but it's hard to know how much it sucks until you get away from it), and also, if you still have a mom, please give her a kiss from the mom-less.

The Comfort Food Diaries: All I Want Are Some Potato Skins

Anxiety in your mid-30s is pretty common, even extending to regular anxiety/panic attacks. It tends to fade as you get a bit older. So said my doctor, anyway, and it's proven to be true in my case.

You don't have to be Midwestern to love potato skins. I grew up in Los Angeles and I'll still eat them any old time, although... I have to admit I don't know where I'd go in my neighborhood to get them. Once I find it, you should come on over and I'll happily buy you some potato skins and drinks. You'll have to smoke outside on your own, though, that's another thing I left in my 30s, along with the anxiety attacks.

The Best Creamy Chicken Enchiladas

I forgot to say so at the time, but I made these and they are, indeed, spectacular. I might cut down on the cream cheese just a wee bit next time, but that is not by any means to say these weren't amazing as the recipe is written.

In Praise of Ugly Food

Hmmmm. This is tough. I've always been willing to champion dishes that taste good but aren't visually appealing ("stop whining and just eat it" is my motto). But it does seem a bit odd to tout their visual aspect as a virtue.

How Thanksgiving Killed My Restaurant Career

" I also learned that the world's most decadent stuffing is made by folding diced foie gras into cubes of toasted brioche."

Sweet mother of mercy, I want this recipe.

The Food Lab: Here's What I'm Eating on Thanksgiving

I have never cooked a Thanksgiving dinner, because we're always at my dad's place, which is on the same property as my grandparent's house. For years my grandmother has put on a feast for upwards of 50 people, but in the past few years she's simply not able to do as much as she once could.

Which means there's one thing we probably won't be having, that's been an integral part (many family members think it's the best part) of our Thanksgiving dinners: My grandmother's noodles. They're extremely floury, cooked in turkey drippings and chicken stock. Everybody loves them. I've tried to recreate them using recipes I found on the internet, and came up short. I asked for the recipe once, and the units of measure were eggshells, but I lost the recipe and anyway I don't think she was telling me everything.

It will kind of be the end of an era, and a bit of a bummer.

Want the Best Thanksgiving Stuffing? Consider the Oyster

Yeah, there's always a dish of oyster stuffing at my family's turkey day table. I know that for sure, because I have to be careful not to take any of it due to a severe shellfish allergy.

Ounces and Grams: Why Mass Is Not the Best Way to List Ingredients

I liked this, but then I've always been much more willing to be slapdash about ingredients when I'm cooking. (And luckily my wife is the baker in our family). I used to be religious about measuring everything, but I've found that once you know what's going on when you cook and why you're doing something, a recipe is a guideline, not a holy text.

Oh, and by the way, Kenji, apropos of nothing in this post but related to your book: I had no idea you could microwave metal bowls. Naturally I tried it, with great trepidation at first but with growing confidence the more I did it. I'm thoroughly amazed, and I'll probably never buy another Pyrex bowl. Some day, you should do a Food Lab on the science of what's going on with metal in microwaves!

The Food Lab's Ultimate Creamed Spinach

This is interesting - I had no idea it was supposed to cook low and slow. The recipe I've used calls for cooking the spinach, taking it out to cool a bit, squeezing it in a towel, and rough chopping it. Meanwhile you make a bechamel, then stir in the spinach.

I will have to try this method. I wonder how it will differ in taste and texture.

(The main thing I've learned, so far, is to wash the bejeezus out of the spinach, because there is nothing worse than grit in your creamed spinach.)

2-Ingredient Never-Fail Cream Biscuits

Made these last night. It does what it says: Incredibly easy, very tasty biscuits with just two ingredients. They're good as is, though next time I think I'll just a little bit of salt to the flour, maybe a teaspoon.

And I guess I'll have to keep making them, since I bought a whole bag of self-rising flour which I don't have much use for. Darn, how terrible. :)

This Is the World's Easiest Biscuit Recipe

@leapfrog22 The trouble with satire this good is that it's almost indistinguishable from actual comments/questions that pop up on almost every recipe.

This Is the World's Easiest Biscuit Recipe

Kenji, a long time ago I swore to myself that I wouldn't nitpick typos in your articles, but I couldn't help it with this one, just because it's pretty awesome if you say it out loud:

Most of use aren't going to make enough biscuits in a lifetime to hit that stage...

Mosta youse guys ain't never gonna make enuff biscuits to be that good, so fuhgeddaboutit!

The Food Lab's Foolproof Onion Rings

@cnlforbin Right? When it comes to my greatest pleasures in life, they're all legal. Not necessarily *wholesome*, but legal.

Staff Picks: Our Favorite Kitchen Shortcuts

@Kenji, your storage solutions are genius and I intend to apply them as soon as I can, if I can.

Dumb question(s), though: Do you re-use containers you get from the deli/takeout, or do you buy them somewhere? I would assume they're available at restaurant supply stores, but do you have to buy in bulk? And do you just throw them out (or put them in the recycling bin) when you're done?

The Food Lab: How to Make the Best Carne Asada

This was great, Kenji. I spent a large chunk of my youth (and a smaller chunk of my adulthood) in California's Imperial Valley, where they take carne very seriously, even if they do pronounce it like "carny." Every time I'm down there I try to visit Ramey's on my way back and score some amazing Brandt Beef ribeyes and a few packages of carne, which freezes just fine as far as I can tell.

But perhaps next time I'll get off my lazy duff and make it myself, and this looks like a great way to start.

What Is a California Burrito?

@veronykah: This answer is 5 years too late, so I doubt you'll ever see this, and for all I know you don't even live in LA any more, but... there are a number of Mexican places in LA that make California burritos. Cactus Taqueria, which has four 5 locations in Hollywood and the Valley, has them. If you search Yelp for "California burrito" in Los Angeles, a bunch of places pop up. Hopefully there's one near you!

Forget Boiling! Use Less Salt! Plus More Tips for Better, Easier Pasta

@kenji: This marks the third time in five years I've groaned at your "penne pincher" pun. It's nice to have traditions.

How to Season and Maintain a Wooden Cutting Board

Just seconding @Ocean - it really would be nice to have a link to the comments at the top of the story. Thanks! It would also be nice to have a link to my account somewhere on the home screen, as well, so that I can easily get to stuff I recently commented on - again, to make it easier to check back in on a conversation.

Charcoal Versus Gas Grills: The Definitive Guide

Interesting, and for me, timely. I've used my Weber for 10 years, but lately I've been considering getting a small gas grill for the sake of convenience.

I'm quite intrigued by the infrared grills, though. Do you think at some point you might do a test on them? I'd like to know how they perform before I go out and buy one. It seems like they could give you the convenience *and* the dry heat of charcoal, although obviously not the charcoal flavor.