1. When I was a kid I spent the better part of August standing with my grandfather on the spongy dirt floor of his basement, canning tomatoes and making sausages amid the smell of mold and mud. Even in the dead of winter, when the earth was frozen and the atmosphere static, the basement’s mustiness was inescapable. If you only went down there for a minute— to grab a jar of pickles or bring up an…

  2. "Tita," my eleven-year-old niece says. "Why are you always talking about yogurt?"


    I am living in the Philippines on a Fulbright fellowship for half a year, so the only way I can see my loved ones back home in the U.S. is through videochat. The twelve-hour time difference and the spotty online connection in my Manila condo means that when we do appear on each other's laptops, the moment is precious. I hadn't…

  3. Previously by Lisa Yelsey: A Recipe for Cake Pops and A Recipe for Rugelach. HI. My most recent baking project was to make black-and-white cookies! Everyone in my family likes them, but none of us can agree on a good place to get them. The only real consensus regarding exactly what makes these cookies good is “not stale,” and not-stale versions of these cookies are surprisingly difficult to find. Just like all the other foods people vaguely mention…

  4. Truffle Babybel.
    Potato chip-crusted manchego.
    A full block of whatever they use for Cheetos.

  5. My mother is a sweet, humble woman until you get her to speak of Cuban food. To her, a Cuban immigrant, cooking is as much a part of the soul as any religious experience; a more logical way of approaching Transubstantiation, perhaps, though we are not at all religious. Had the Catholic Church been founded by Cubans, the wafer would be replaced by pastelitos guayaba, the wine with a cafecito. She calls the sofrito the…

  6. I’ve gathered you all here to say goodbye to a caring husband, wonderful friend, and supportive side dish, Summer Squash Casserole, who as we sadly learned today, is to die.

  7. These potato dumplings are charmingly known as "tater tots" in the regional dialect.

  8. Hellooooo athletes!

    Yes, you. You are an athlete. Some of you already have one or more athletic endeavors that you enjoy. Others of you may just have not found (or chosen) your activity yet. Some of you just have a body. So many of us are told that we aren’t athletic, and that we can’t be athletic. Society, friends, authority figures, media - there are lots of people and institutions that

  9. Growing up in New York City, there was no dearth of good sandwiches. I was 10 blocks from Katz’s, 5 from David’s bagels before they moved further uptown, and a block from an Italian goods store that’d make you a hero if you asked nicely. Any of these sandwiches could have been the sandwich, my sandwich. But they weren’t. Instead, it was Subway’s Sweet Onion Chicken Teriyaki.

  10. Realtalk, gang: who is naming our fruits and vegetables? This is madness. Anyways, here are a bunch of tomato names that sound like strippers from the recent film Magic Mike XXL, which I do not think has yet been mentioned on this particular website.

    Big Boy

  11. Kelly Davio's previous Waiting Room columns for The Butter can be found here. The late 1990s weren’t the most auspicious time to become a vegetarian. Meatless food of any real interest hadn’t yet entered the American mainstream, so there wasn’t much beyond lentils or chunks of naked and jiggling tofu to recommend itself in school cafeterias. At the same time, vegetarianism seemed less spooky or militant even to devoted meat-eaters; most people knew at…

  12. Previously: Lisa Yelsey's recipe for rugelach. This post is generously sponsored by A Friend of The Toast, who wants to encourage others to support the site as well. Hi everyone! Hope your summer is going well. Here is what’s been consuming me for several months: CAKE POPS. Like many people, I tried one at Starbucks years ago and then forgot they existed. But then a pregnant friend asked me to make some to give…

  13. Previously: If you can swallow an oyster, you can swallow a man's heart.  Each issue of Cook’s Illustrated begins with a folksy letter with news from down on the old Vermont farm by founder and editor-in-chief Chris Kimball. These charming, old-timey updates remind us all of a slower, simpler way of life, where neighbors stop to swap plowing tips out by the trading post and run when they see Old Henry coming. Who’s Old…

  14. Chickens are contained, caged, squished, bred, anti-biotic’d, fed other chickens. They put the word “processed” right on the package. Chickens are turned-out, rendered, butterflied, quartered, fileted and tendered. The genetic acrobatics it took to go from red guinea fowl from Peru to two legs and a breast in your KFC meal is a testament to the human capacity to transform the world to suit us. Chicken suits us all. It’s the number one meat cooked for dinner.

  15. Kathleen Cooper's previous work for The Toast can be found here. It’s a shame that we don’t often celebrate the creators of small pleasures. Creators of Big Things -- like cars, light bulbs, and antibiotics -- understandably receive a great deal of attention, but when it comes to the small events in history, we seem to suffer from collective amnesia. The origins of the first birthday party are lost in the mists of time.