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March 6, 2024 34 mins

In 1972 Florence Fabricant was living in East Hampton and reveling in the pleasures of farm-fresh produce. There weren’t many careers in food writing at that time, but she forged one, and is now a prolific cookbook author and the longest-running food writer for the New York Times. For more than fifty years she’s been sharing new restaurants, recipes, food and wine with her readers. She joins Martha to talk about her earliest food memories, her latest discoveries, and what exactly clam pie is. 

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Speaker 1 (00:00):
I'm maybe a natural journalist because I'm a really died
in the little skeptic.

Speaker 2 (00:05):
I've got to prove it to myself. Hello everyone, Today
we have a very interesting guest. Florence Fabricant, also known
as flow Fab, is the longest running writer in the
New York Times Food section. She is the longest running
amongst the talented team of food writers at the New

York Times. Her weekly columns Front Burner and Off the
Menu explore the new and interesting in the culinary world.
She also writes the Pairings column that appears alongside the
wine reviews. She's authored thirteen cookbooks. Her most recent work
is The Ladies Village Improvement Society's one hundred and twenty

fifth anniversary cookbook. Florence and I have both wined and
dined and tasted and explored around the world, and we're
here today to talk about the best of it. Welcome
to my podcast, Florence. It's so nice to see you.
Wonderful to see you. Martha, so nice. And we've talked
like this a couple of times in our careers, and
I certainly have known you for a very very long time,

very long time. You started at the New York Times.
What year nineteen seventy two, oh, seventy two, And then
in nineteen eighty two I wrote my first book when
I sort of came into the culinary world.

Speaker 1 (01:21):
And I wonder what year we first met. You're nineteen
seventy seven. Okay, so well that was in Westport. What
was I doing catering in a store at my little store? Right?
We have friends in reading who gave me a heads
up about it?

Speaker 2 (01:37):
Oh they did, yeah, oh nice? And there she is,
the intrepid reporter coming out from New York to do Westport, Connecticut.
But that wasn't so far and Westport was like the
hotbed at that time of all kinds of great things.
Paul Newman was our favorite. Robert Redford would come and visit,
and we had an awfully good time there in Westport, Connecticut.

And that's where I really started my catering business and
started writing books when I started entering the Florence fabricant world.
But we also have our Eastampton connection. I had my
house on Lily Pond Lane, and I was an avid
supporter of the Ladies Village Improvement Society. And you edited
that beautiful cookbook, authored, actually authored and edited the Beautiful Cookbook.

It's a lovely compilation of favorite recipes from well these
chefs and other people celebrities.

Speaker 1 (02:26):
Yes, the difference between that one, I mean until that book,
more or less. There was another one before, but it
was kind of drab. But until that book, it was
the first sort of real color photograph professional cookbook. Prior
to that, they were these spiral bound jobs that had
been done starting in the log I don't know, sometime

one hundred years old.

Speaker 2 (02:48):
That was tradition for all these Ladies clubs to have
that spiral bound. I have many of those from all
kinds of times at all, and I love them. Every
now and then you find a recipe that becomes part
of your repertoire, and I just love them so much.
And I wrote the Heather Kirkland, who is my producer
on this podcast, look at this giant pile of papers

about you, Florence. She included my forward to that book.
And it makes me miss Easthampton. I sold my house
two years ago, and I kind of missed lily Pond
Lane and the elm trees and the beauty of that town.
Because the Ladies Village Improvement Society, of which you've supported
society for so long. The villash ladies do protect those

elm trees. They really kept the beauty of that town
and protected all the important buildings.

Speaker 1 (03:36):
I think one of the reasons it was founded was
because they decided that the village needed sidewalks, and they
were the ones that pushed that campaign and at.

Speaker 2 (03:47):
The same time put those sidewalks over the roots of
the elm trees and didn't hurt the elm trees because
they are still alive and well, towering over those beautiful
shady streets. And I love that town. It is, of
all the Hamptons, I think the most beautiful Hampton. Yah.

Speaker 1 (04:03):
It's also in many ways the most diverse in terms
of the culture and the art scene and so forth.

Speaker 2 (04:09):
Yeah, and Florence lives not far from where I lived.
But what did you learn about food out into the Hamptons.

Speaker 1 (04:15):
I learned really the difference between fresh picked in grocery
store fresh picked in supermarket.

Speaker 2 (04:23):
Because of all the farm stands.

Speaker 1 (04:24):
Yeah, well, that's why I started writing about food. It
would drive me crazy to see people buying the supermarket
tomatoes that were pale pink in July when their neighbor
probably had a pile of freshly picked from their garden
on a car table in their front yard and a
jar for the money, right, And it really was something

that would I felt I needed a megaphone because so that's.

Speaker 2 (04:49):
Really really what started you. Yeah, oh yeah, I decided,
I mean I was. It's complicated, but you know, well
it had a very good education. She went to college
Phi Beta Kappa. You have garnered many, many honors in
the culinary world, which are very impressive. But to find

out that your love of food and your intent to
write about food came from that is very interesting and
very telling.

Speaker 1 (05:17):
I mean, I grew up, grew up in a household
with parents who were foodies at a time when they
were not, and my mother was a superb cook. In fact,
a year ago Mother's Day I did a story about
her and her recipes and what I learned from her.
What was her favorite recipe, Well, it was a recipe
for lambshanks that she got from a restaurant that no

longer exists. I think it was in the East thirties
called Balkan Armenian Bulkan Armenia.

Speaker 2 (05:43):
I ate there. I loved Armenian food, Oh my.

Speaker 1 (05:46):
Gosh, with green peppers and red peppers and onions and nice.

Speaker 2 (05:51):

Speaker 1 (05:51):
Well, the way I wrote the story was, I said,
every time I sliced onions, I think of my mother,
and it's not because she makes me cry. It's because
she's onions so carefully, and that's I learned that from her.

Speaker 2 (06:03):
Well, I think a lot of what you wrote about
about the freshness of food and the importance of using
fresh ingredients not just supermarket ingredients, really encourage a lot
of people to start their backyard gardens. Also, well, you're
much more of a gardener than I was. I'm a serious,
serious vest gardener now and I am harvesting today. You
would be so happy to see my solariac. I grew

solariacs this big this year and pure white inside. They
are so beautiful. I've never had celariac like that before,
not that large and not that sweet. So your love
of food comes from travel, from what you've traveled so much.
And you are fluent in French. You studied Did you
spend your junior year in France?

Speaker 1 (06:43):
Yeah? OK, and then I have a graduate degree in French.

Speaker 2 (06:46):

Speaker 1 (06:46):
My love of food I grew up with it. I
can remember being very young, for or five years old
and we'd go to a Chinese restaurant and it was
very important to me to get the amount of soy
sauce that I put in my egg drop so just right.
It had to be the right color, and I worked
at it, and I can remember that as of being
a very young child. I can remember hating a kind

of pudding cold junket.

Speaker 2 (07:11):
I hated it. Oh, junket. I actually liked junket that
came out of a package. Yeah, And that was kind
of liked it because we were not allowed very much
sugar in our family, so every now and then if
we had something like the chocolate putting out of a
box or a junket, it was kind of a treat.
But I agree with you right now, I couldn't. I

couldn't eat that. If you see.

Speaker 1 (07:33):
I remember the first time I ever had pecan pie.
I think it was at a White Turkey in Midtown Manhattan,
and I was fascinated when I guess it was the
waiter or the chef, because I wanted to know how
it was made. I probably was ten years old or
some and how you start with all of the nuts

and the filling mixed together, but the nuts rise to
the top and make their own crust, so to speak.
I thought that I had to go home and make one,
because I couldn't believe that that's how it happened.

Speaker 2 (08:05):
Besides your parents, who really influenced the way you thought
about food.

Speaker 1 (08:09):
I had an aunt who was more like a grandmother
to me. My mother's oldest sister was also a very
good cook. Later on, I devoured what I could read
in the New York Times at Gourmet magazine, and and
then my parents we would go to the top restaurants.
We lived in Westchester, but we'd go to the theater,

and beforehand the routine was to go have dinner at
the Algonquin, and I remember they they did a chicken underglass.
I remember the first time I ate sweetbreads there. I mean,
these are all very vivid.

Speaker 2 (08:40):
I loved going to the Algonquin. That was really quite
a treat. What about le Vaudor do you remember that?
I do? Oh, and did you go there for escargo? Yeah?
I remember taking my very young daughter in the nineteen
late six I guess like nineteen sixty eight or nine
or something, and she loved Escargo even as a very
young young child. Where else did you eat you well.

Speaker 1 (09:02):
I can remember my father taking me to Chamboard and
they had all the different sized champagne bottles in the window.

Speaker 2 (09:09):
Such a beautiful place.

Speaker 1 (09:10):
And I wouldn't go into the restaurant until he gave
me the names of all those. But you know the
Nebeka Nezzar and the Jeriphone and the Ralphazar.

Speaker 2 (09:20):
Those are so beautiful. And then the kitchen there, do
you remember the kitchen was open to the seating area
to the restaurant with those copper pots and pants hanging.
I love that restaurant. Yeah.

Speaker 1 (09:31):
My father would take me to Dominic's on Arthur Avenue
because my mother hated it. Oh, so he would haul
me up down there, and oh, my father would.

Speaker 2 (09:43):
My father would take me to Chinatown and we would
eat Chinese food, or to Houston Street so we could
go to Rustling Daughters in those places. I remember going
to Luchow's, Oh yes, remember Luchaus, Oh my gosh, and
Rubens for apple pancakes on fifty eighth Street after the theater.
So you began writing about food for the Easthampton Star
in nineteen seventy two. Why did you start there?

Speaker 1 (10:05):
Well, as I say, I thought I needed a megaphone
to I mean, I had friends who I was the
one They always asked where who's got the best?

Speaker 2 (10:12):
But were you married then? Oh yeah, oh yeah, you're married. Okay,
what year did you get married? Nineteen sixty? Oh I
got sixty one. I got married. Florence is still married
to her same husband, same husband, and I am not.
And your daughter actually designs some of people.

Speaker 1 (10:28):
Sign the lviis, Oh yeah, we've done six cookbooks together.

Speaker 2 (10:32):
Oh great, Oh great, so she's a graphic designer. Yeah.
What newspapers in nineteen seventy two are looking for a
food writer?

Speaker 1 (10:38):
Well, the Easthampton Star wasn't looking for a food writer.
And it never occurred to me to be a food
writer as a full time career. I was debating whether
to go to law school, and I mean I was
out of college. I had worked in market research and
advertising straight out of college because it was the only
job I could get that didn't require me to be
a secretary. I tried to find something using my wrench

and couldn't. So, and I stopped working to be a
full time mom when my daughter was born, and I
wanted to go back to work because seventy two both
kids would be in school full time and looked into
various and sundry and in the meantime, I'm in Easthampton
over the summer and people are buying iceberg lettuce in

the supermarket. Is making me crazy. So I suggested to
Everett Raptory, the editor of the Star, a food calm.

Speaker 2 (11:32):
This is the Easthampton Star, which is such a charming newspaper.
So what did he say?

Speaker 1 (11:37):
He said, write a sample. I said how many words?
And he said four hundred? And it took me two weeks.

Speaker 2 (11:42):
I mean, what was it? What was the first column? Tomatoes? Uh? Huh.

Speaker 1 (11:47):
But I have to say, you know today I could
write back column in the shower of words.

Speaker 2 (11:52):
Of course, Well you get practic. Practice makes perfect.

Speaker 1 (11:55):
And I said to myself, if he agrees to pay me,
I'll do it. And I started doing it, and within
six months I was getting assignments from the Time.

Speaker 2 (12:05):
So there you have it. So they found you there. Yeah,
and you've been writing for the Times ever since. Yeah.
It's a fantastic career. And very few people stay at
such a job for that long and a mass such
a wide audience. Because you have a very wide audience,
you have made a tremendous mark in the world of food,
and the chef better platform, and chefs love you. It's

no better platform in my view than the New York Times.
End of story.

Speaker 1 (12:33):
I could possibly be a blogger today and make a
ton of money, but it's not where my head is.

Speaker 2 (12:39):
Yeah, I agree. I read that. It's the first thing
I do in the morning when I wake up. When
I woke up and I read the New York Times
cover to cover on my iPad. Today is Wednesday food,
although the food articles come out online like the day
before or the day before that.

Speaker 1 (12:55):
Actually the non alcoholic line story was first published on
and I think Thursday. The thing about the Times is
number one, it's run by it's owned by people who
believe in journalism number one and number two, there is integrity,
and I appreciate that.

Speaker 2 (13:24):
Who was at the food section when you started there in.

Speaker 1 (13:26):
Nineteen eighty, Well, Jeene Hewitt was there. Oh, I love
Jeane Hewitt, mem Memi.

Speaker 2 (13:32):
Sheraton, uh, Marion Burrows, Marion Burroughs, Moira Hodgson, Frank Prile,
every name very very familiar to those of us who
really did read The New York Times. Yeah, whose restaurant reviews.
Did you like the best?

Speaker 1 (13:46):
That's an interesting question. I would say maybe Craig Oh.

Speaker 2 (13:52):
Remember, oh, I'd loved him.

Speaker 1 (13:53):
Was there when I was there? Yeah, because he kind
of set a standard. And what I so admire about
him is that the restaurant reviews were not about him,
That's right. They were about the food. He wanted to
communicate with an audience, and his opinions were important, and

he believed what he believed, but it was not He
was never a grandstand show off.

Speaker 2 (14:20):
You're right, you're right, and that was And so you
got to know him, Yes, I did you out in
the Hamptons. Yeah. It was so exciting to get to
know Craig Clayborne, whose books I loved and whose own
recipes I liked so much. Ye too, Yeah, I remember
going to one party with him and James Beard, so extraordinary.
What are some of the stories that help you build
your presence in the New York Times? Do you remember

the different stories.

Speaker 1 (14:43):
I'll give you a really to me kind of a benchmark.
I got an assignment from the magazine some I don't know.
I guess it was in the mid eighties to write
about one restaurant west of the Mississippi one restaurant. Brian

Miller was going to write about one restaurant east of
the Mississippi, and he opted to write about the rhine
Beck Inn. I forget who was the chef there at
the time. It was somebody pretty famous. I started to
think about it, and a few months previously I had
visited for the first time, and it was fairly new

at the moment. At that time, it was quite new
Matsuhisa in Los Angeles, and I had never been. I
had had Japanese food. Sushi was beginning to show up,
and I had never seen a restaurant with a thirty
page menu, and I thought the food was amazing, the
squid pasta, for example, and the rock shrimp tempura and

the black cod. I mean, his landmark recipe dishes that
he still produces and so does everybody else in the world.
So that's what I wrote about. Oh, I'd like to
read that.

Speaker 2 (16:04):
And I never heard from him until he opened. You
did not hear he did this. Matsuhisa is the formal
name of Nobu the great chef Nobu Matsuhisa.

Speaker 1 (16:16):
And his first restaurant was matiz Yes, it was on Losienica,
so It wasn't. It wasn't a pretty restaurant. It was
very very simple.

Speaker 2 (16:24):
Sort of in a strip. It's enlarged greatly and they
have that huge parking lot on the side and they
and during COVID they covered that over and people ate
up so well.

Speaker 1 (16:35):
Fast forward to opening Nobu in Manhattan and Robert de
Niro and uh Drew and so forth, and Nobu was
there and when he met me, he said, you know,
I never thanked you.

Speaker 2 (16:49):
For writing about Matsu. I said, that's okay. I must say.
I am a big fan of Nobu and what he's
done for Japanese cuisine in America, bringing it from Japan
to Peru and then to New York. I had a wonderful,
wonderful book launch party there, I think for my weddings book,
and he was charming. If there's a Nobu, I go

and visit. I was in I think maybe it was
Saudi Arabian. I went to a Nobu. Wow, he's all
over the place. Yes, yea. You know they're opening a
Nobu hotel on the Upper East Side and they're beautiful hotels,
really beautifully tasteful. Now, how is the food editorial team
organized these day? There seemed to be a lot of
new names, tons and lots of names. The department is

now more than one hundred people. Oh really, that went
an off premises test kitchen and everything else, and so
many new recipes every single day, feeding that insatiable desire
for easy, for fast, for one pot. I mean there's
a lot of stuff going on. Pan yep, sheet, pan cooking. Yeah,
all of that. So it's one hundred people, now that's huge. Yeah.

Speaker 1 (17:54):
A lot of it devoted to video, because video and
photographs and all of that is what drives eyeballs to
the website.

Speaker 2 (18:03):
Yes, it's very important. In your New York Times column
front Burner, you review new foods, food stores, cooking products.
What do you look for in products and places that
you select?

Speaker 1 (18:15):
Well, the column is evolved over the years, and the
mandate for the past several years has been new products,
new stores, new people, new events, and so forth, which
is extremely helpful for me because it helps me narrow
down what I'm writing about, because otherwise I'd go nuts.

Speaker 2 (18:33):
How many objects do you get a week to review? Well,
I always get a lot. I only get what I want, Okay.
The percentage of the times people send their things to people.

Speaker 1 (18:43):
Do send stuff, but I've tried to limit that down
to almost zero because I don't want stuff that I
haven't requested and I'm not interested.

Speaker 2 (18:50):
I see. So, what are three products in the last
in twenty twenty three that you would highly recommend to
someone like me or anybody, any reader.

Speaker 1 (18:58):
Well, the line of you know, there are a million
chili crists now. And I got a new chili crisp
pitched like every single day, No thank you, but the
line by this company, fly by Jing, I haven't seen that.
I like what she does. It just came out with
a chili crisp. It's different because it has pumpkin seeds

and things like that, so it's crunchier and I really
like that.

Speaker 2 (19:23):
Oh okay, And then what else?

Speaker 1 (19:25):
I got samples of these baked goods from Alexis Gamblin,
who's French and he just started this company che Tonton,
and he does a very interesting take on a pecan pie,
which is not a filling in a crust, but it's
more like a short red crust. It's a very short

pastry with the pecan filling running through it, and then
the top surface have glazed pecans all over it, and
then he does a little cookie versions of those. He
calls them little cakes, and I think that those are
kind of great. And the third well that turn up
Malcomber turn up from upstate that originated in Massachusetts. White

is that white and it's very big and it's sweet.
I just picked all of mine and it's kind of rarity.
Oh it's they're so beautiful. They are as big as
like softballs. I have a new raised bed garden. So
everything this year grew incredibly well and blemish free, which
is very nice. Fence turnip comes up pure white and

no blemishes. You know you're doing something right. Absolutely, those
are very nice fines.

Speaker 2 (20:40):
So if you want to know the latest and the best,
read the Wednesday edition of The New York Times Florence fabricat. So,
how has your audience changed or has it? When The
Times moved much of the food content but behind a paywall,
because now you know, you go to find a recipe
and it's so you have to join the New.

Speaker 1 (20:59):
York Well, there there are two kinds of paywalls. Is
the paywall for subscribers, yes, which is expensive. The subscriptions
of The Times online is very expensive. The cooking website
Cooking dot n lie Times dot com. If you're not
a subscriber, is a separate paywall, right and you could

subscribe just to that. Yes, and I think it's been successful.

Speaker 2 (21:24):
I mean, the oh, it must be if you have
one hundred employees working in there.

Speaker 1 (21:28):
The digital keep subscribing, the numbers keep going up and
up and up. And the other thing, the other discovery,
if you want to talk about discoveries, is I've been
following that's non alcoholic lime seeing. Yes, I was just
going to ask you about that very I mean, I
had a big story recommending whites and reds for Thanksgiving,
and the whites are the best ones. In the beginning

were the sparklers. Sparklers because the carbonation sort of compensates
very nicely for the lack of alcohol.

Speaker 2 (21:57):
But the whites have.

Speaker 1 (21:58):
Been getting better and better, and now the reds are
coming along. I think they need they need work.

Speaker 2 (22:04):

Speaker 1 (22:05):
There are a couple that have appealed to me. Beers
are amazing, And what shocks me is that more restaurants
are not putting them on their list, putting you know,
they have them by the glass, Let people buy a bottle.
The nice thing about non alcoholic wine forgetting everything else
is you can enjoy it at lunch regardless of your

attitude exactly.

Speaker 2 (22:27):
But it's the best variety. Can you make some suggestions
for not all well?

Speaker 1 (22:31):
I tend to prefer varietals. There are companies that do
non alcoholic wines that are concoctions with tea and not
using wine as the base, that try and mimic wine,
and I haven't found much that appeals to it. So
how is a non alcoholic wine made well? There are

several methods. One is through. They can use a centrifuge,
They can use reverse osmosis. There different techniques that are
used to get the alcohol out, to take the alcohol
out now. I have found Sauvignon blanc to be quite
reliable because it has good acidity, good minerality, and across

the boards. Sauvigno blancs I've tasted have done pretty well
on the red side and also reestling. Reestling, there's a
something called gruner Ice, which is a blend of grunervelt
Leaner and it also holds up on the red side.
They're just beginning to figure it out. Most of the

reds are a little flat, a little sweet, they don't
have that complexity that you and the tannins you expect
in a red wine. But I've got a couple that
I haven't opened that I'm waiting to try.

Speaker 2 (23:56):
So what you see happening in food right now that
you find so exciting.

Speaker 1 (24:02):
Well, more and more of paying attention to the environment,
paying attention to seasonality in a very honest way instead
of just saying it's all farm to table and then
serving raspberries in December. Come on doing their homework, when
chefs do their homework when they go shopping. And I
think it's increasingly important, and you know, carbon footprint and

all of that figures into it, but you cannot take
away from the need to keep things local as little
industrialized as possible. Wheat has changed so much, so much,
and it's not good for you. And it drives me
crazy that restaurants are serving Parker House roles. You know,

I would I look for whole grains all the time now,
But I think that there is more and more attention
paid to that aspect, and I think that that's a
good thing. More vegetable friendly menus across the boards as well.
So what do you think of Levin Madison Park.

Speaker 2 (25:04):

Speaker 1 (25:04):
I think what he's doing is commendable. I don't love
everything he's doing. I'm sure you probably feel the same way,
but it's certainly very interesting. You know, Cafe Chelsea in
the Chelsea Hotels, they have a main course, my talkie
mushroom oh Puavre that is so delicious and it's so
big you can't I couldn't finish it. But it's just

delicious and it's a main course. And I think the
more you see that, the better, you know, the eating
less meat, of course, maybe more fish, but maybe maybe
more vegetables. Yeah, and the vegan the vegan crazes is
quite astonishing to me that people are trying it and
trying it and trying it.

Speaker 2 (25:46):
Yeah. I just had a young woman on my show
on TV the other day who made it smoothie. She thinks,
she really really believes and that her smoothie in the
morning will compensate for her not eating pretty much the
rest of the day. And it's all. It's all, it's
like oat meal and not too much fresh stuff, but
purple potatoes and all all kinds of adages which I

don't think take the place of a fabulous green vegetable Now,
I agree with you.

Speaker 1 (26:14):
I think you know, these vegetable pills in a bottle,
I don't believe in that at all. I believe in
real food, and I think that there are elements in
real food that you get that you cannot reproduce by
taking a pill or that kind of thing.

Speaker 2 (26:30):
Right in nineteen eighty four. Notwithstanding, I think, I think
we have a long way to go before we're going
to be just eating pills or drinking just weird smoothies.
I don't want that to happen, not in my lifetime.
Of the changes that you've seen over the years in food,
what really surprised you? What surprised me?

Speaker 1 (26:50):
I think most recently over the past let's say decade
or so, is how fast stuff catches on. And I
think a lot of that has to do with social
I think sort of a watershed moment might have been
back in the late eighties when restaurants started serving redicio

and arugula and using balsamic vinegar, and suddenly everybody wanted
to buy those things. I mean, in the past, if
you ate something in a restaurant, I can remember growing up,
you weren't interested or going to try and reproduce that
restaurant dish at home, unless you were my mother. That's
another story, but most people didn't. And now I think

the availability of arugola and redicio and some of these
other ingredients that the availability and the ease with which
people can buy and use garlic. When I was growing up,
there wasn't a hell of a lot of garlic around.

Speaker 2 (27:50):
Oh and I have like eighteen varieties of garlic in
my garden and they all are different and they are
all delicious, cooked different ways.

Speaker 1 (27:58):
And then I think about something like what Dan Barber's
doing with these new vegetables, the garlik Have you tried that?

Speaker 2 (28:05):
Oh? I just had a dinner with Dan where he
served garlik's, which is a cross between a leak and garlic.
It was delicious. He just brazed them very simply and
they were delicious. And he's working with a group that
is called the New Organic Project. They are trying to
verify what is organic and what is not organic. Organic

is just a word now and the supermarkets it's slapped
on and.

Speaker 1 (28:28):
I see people selling organic salmon. I said, what what
is that?

Speaker 2 (28:33):
Right? Yeah, how could that be? But in the vegetable
department especially, Yeah, we don't know that it's organic or not.
In order to age gracefully stay healthier, we can't fill
the hospitals with ailing people. We have to know what
we can eat that's going to keep us really going. Yeah. Absolutely.

Speaker 1 (28:52):
The one thing about the l the Highest Cookbook I
don't know if you're aware of, is that it is
a salmon free cookbook, surf free. Well, I did not
know about that. Salmon doesn't belong in East Hampton.

Speaker 2 (29:04):
Yeah, they can't be fished there and they cannot be.
But you do have something that I see the signs
that I went to that little place on the way
to Amagansett where it says clam pies on a sign
of nailed to a tree. What the heck is a
clam pie? Oh, it's delicious. There's my recipe in the book.
Oh that's your clam pie. Goes way back.

Speaker 1 (29:23):
I mean, if you go back to the Spiral Bound
lviis cookbooks from the nineteen forties, say you'll find clam pie.
It's a two crust pie and the filling is chopped
up clams, usually onions and potatoes and whatever clam juices
as a pie filling. Oh, so it's like a stuffed
clam in a crust. Well, it's not as finely mince.

There's no bread or anything, and it's not as finely
minced as it's almost more like a clam pizza topping
without the cheese, okay, in a crust. And in fact
I've used like a clam pie sometimes it has bacon.
Also use that filling mixture to make caesadillas as odors.

Speaker 2 (30:03):
Oh, I bet that's good. It's delicious. I bet that's good.
But clams now are like two dollars each for a
little clam. Do you have a special little clam spot
in Easthampton where you go dig your own?

Speaker 1 (30:16):
I don't dig. I buy them, but I open them.
I think clams are easier to open than oysters.

Speaker 2 (30:21):
Oh. I have a clam knife now, an oyster knife
and a scallop knife, because they are growing scallops in
Maine in the ocean on long ropes hanging down into
the sea, and they are delicious and you can really
enjoy them braw. You can have them as crudos, so nicely,

so good. Well, you've hosted a speaking series. I want
to mention this at Guildhall where you are on the board.
Do you have any favorite moments of those events? Well
with you? Oh yes, well that was that was so
fun and it was still out crowded.

Speaker 1 (30:57):
And we had a really nice sign and you brought
this amazing corner cope, you have vegetables and flowers from
your garden. It was But I'll tell you the very
best was Anthony Bourdain. Oh well, he was always the best.
He was outrageous, funny, just amazing, and people were hanging
from the rafters to hear him speak.

Speaker 2 (31:18):
Wow. He was unforgettable. So six of your books were
designed by your daughter, thirteen books to date. What do
you like about working with your daughter? We get along.
We've got a very good relationship. Yeah. And how do
you stay curious? Because you're very curious. Well, I've always
been curious. I've always said that if i'm if I'm
no longer learning something, I'm going to stop. But you

talked it like this, turnip, I've got background on it,
or somebody is doing something unusual and I learn about it.
I'm always learning. I'm always researching. Somehow I'm going to
be writing about Mark Kolanski's onion book. Oh and I
was fascinated with a lot of what he had to say,

I bet I haven't seen it one of the things
I've said. I was reading it, and coincidentally, it reminded
me of Thanksgiving because when I was growing up, there
were always creamed onions on the Thanksgiving menu, and he
has a whole chapter about cis Wow of all things. Yeah,
I haven't made creamed onions for a very long time.

He says, they're out of fashion. And what's your advice
to young food writers or these youngins who want to
write a cookbook, what's your advice? Do homework?

Speaker 1 (32:34):
Don't just accept what people tell you. Look it up,
go back and do your homework. It just shocks me
how accepting people are of certain things that are just
not true or accurate, and that they don't do diligence
in terms of getting information. If they're publicists working for

a client, they accept what the client says whole cloth,
without ever make asking a question. I mean, I can't
tell you how often I've said to a publicist who
is pitching a product. Let's say a condiment, and I'll
say have you tasted it no? Or a gadget have
you tried it no? Or you could use such and

such website. Have you gone to the website to see
if it works?

Speaker 2 (33:24):

Speaker 1 (33:25):
I mean, how can you do anything without digging. I'm
maybe a natural journalist because I'm a really died in
the little skeptic and I got it.

Speaker 2 (33:36):
I got to prove it. I've got to prove it
to myself. Well, you're you're a great and your columns
show it. Thank you so much for sitting down with me.
You can find Florence. Florence's writing in The New York
Times each week, and you can follow her on x
at flow fab F L O F A B. Thank you, Martha.

This is a pleasure.
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