Stories related to food in Seattle, including Dick Stein and Nancy Leson's weekly commentary Food for Thought.

Nancy Leson

For sheer utility, the Ziploc stands right up there with Velcro and duct tape. The web is full of sites like Weird Things to Do with Ziploc Bags. But I have a couple of uses for them that I haven't seen listed.

avlxyz / Flickr

Finally! It's nice and cloudy and cool and rainy. In this Food for Thought Nancy Leson and I talk about some of our favorite cold weather food.  Strangely, two of our favorites come from places where the weather is anything but cool.

Rachel McKee / Flickr

Nancy Leson isn't all that big on candy, but she is sweet on a new candy cookbook.

One recipe the Liddabit Sweets Candy Cookbook offers is for candy apples, and not those brownish toffee apples, either.  This recipe's for real-deal shiny red ones.

Nancy Leson

Betwen us, Nancy Leson and I probably have a greater number of rolling pins than we have pin numbers. I've got about seven of 'em rattling around in my rolling pin drawer. Leson stopped counting at well past that. But these days, pretty much the only one I use I cannibalized from a broom.

Nancy Leson

Near as I can figure out, the only difference is that fresh cider isn't filtered. It's brown and cloudy instead of brown and clear. Nancy just made some in the rig pictured above. 

In this week's episode, she lists just some of the many varieties of eating apples available around here right now.  But Americans didn't always grow apples to eat.

Dick Stein

OK, I admit it. I'm not big on throwing dinner parties. But Nancy Leson sure is, and in this week's Food for Thought adventure, she tells all about her last one. I must admit I'm envious. But at least I got those swell bandages.   

Here's a recipe for just one of the enticing dishes she served.

Heather W. /

So how long would you be willing to stand on line for a table at a popular restaurant? Ten minutes? A half hour? Longer? Not KPLU’s Dick Stein, as he tells Seattle Times food writer Nancy Leson on today’s Food for Thought.

Nancy Leson

...Even though he should have. When I described her recipe on my old Jazz Kitchen feature, he swallowed hard and forced a  smile and an "...interesting." Then we both cracked up. 

And now, the authentic eat-it-if-you-dare recipe.

Nancy Leson

This week, Nancy Leson demonstrates Martha Stewart's clever method for peeling a whole head of garlic.  Nothing could be simpler. And not only is it easy and fun, it (wait for it...) really, really works!

Nancy Leson

I like everything made from tomatoes.  I just don't like the tomatoes themselves.  Or anything containing identifiable parts of them. 

Yet when Nancy Leson plied me with some of the  green tomato relish she'd made, I had to admit I liked it.  

Nancy Leson

This  Food for Thought installment is half about on-screen cookbooks and their various apps and half about clams.  In dreaming up a headline I started with Do Clamoids Dream of Electric... but that was as far as I could get. Which may be just as well. 

Anyway, Nance thinks that cooking from a screen is the way to go.  Even if  you don't agree, but you do like clams, read on.... 

Anna King

We’ve all been there. You’re hungry. You want something good, but there’s no time. You hit the vending machine for sugar or salt.

Two recent Washington State University graduates want to change that. They've launched an urban apple delivery service called Apple-A-Day, and it’s taking off.

Thanks to all who contributed an amazing 481 haiku to the contest. There were so many clever and inventive entries that Nancy and I are gladder than ever that we didn’t have to judge. But you did.

Here are the top three:

Nancy Leson

I won't even go near a Fig Newton, but Nancy loves them so much she even makes her own as seen in the second picture above.  

I'd always thought that other than my ex's potted Ficus, figs only grew in the Middle East. Who knew that a-figianados of the fruit were cultivating them right here in the Pacific Northwest.  Everyone, apparently, but me.

Anna King

Wine grapes throughout the Northwest are ripening faster this year because of the hot dry summer. Vineyard managers and winemakers are preparing for a breakneck harvest over the next few weeks—that is, if it stays warm.

This year, eastern Washington had record-setting heat in July, while Oregon had consistently warm weather. Growers throughout the Northwest are hoping for cooler temperatures so the grapes don’t race to ripeness.

Nancy Leson

For some folks, a dish is just the landing pad you sling the hash onto.  Not so for Nancy Leson.

Cold Food, Hot Contest

Aug 7, 2013

With hot weather comes cold food. In this episode of Food for Thought, Nancy Leson offers a cold soup made with grapes, cream cheese and cucumbers among other things. I talk about those pickles up there. But wait—there's more! Be very excited because you're just...

Justin Steyer / KPLU


A haiku is a 17 syllable verse form in three lines of five, seven, and five syllables, respectively.  The opening lyric to Moonlight in Vermont, a hit song with lyrics that don’t rhyme,  is a haiku:

Pennies in a stream
Falling leaves of sycamore
Moonlight in Vermont.


Some guy. / Some Guy Photos

My Food for Thought co-conspirator Nancy Leson says that Seattle restaurants and chefs are mentioned in quite a few of the novels she's read recently. Not surprisingly, Tom Douglas and his restaurants are mentioned in several.

Nancy Leson

We've  gone far beyond Coke vs. Pepsi around here. My Food for Thought co-conspirator Nancy "Ms. Fizz" Leson has a real jones (no pun intended) for Rachel's Ginger Beer.  Just hearing her talk about it makes me want some, too. Even though my favorite soda flavor is...


In addition to being delicious, salty duck eggs offer more than 1,000,000 percent of your USDA daily sodium requirement. And their virtues don't end there.

Nancy leson

Say goodbye to broken nails. Bid adieu to those earsplitting pneumatic cherry stone extractors. Give the old heave-ho to the danger and expense of specially trained cherry-pitting Komodo Dragons. 

Now there's a safe, easy method for removing cherry pits, says Nancy Leson. And it's probably not what you think. 

Nancy Leson / Seattle Times

According to my Food for Thought pard  Nancy Leson, the #1 reason to go to all the trouble of home-grinding your own 'burger is because it will taste way better.  

Reason #2? It's really not all that much trouble. Plus you'll know exactly what's in it. Which, she suggests, might include bacon or chorizo. Which can never be bad.

Ft. Nisqually Living History Museum

I've received many invitations to judge cooking contests which I always decline with thanks. I've just never felt comfortable doing that. 

But when Chris Erlich, the Event Coordinator for the Ft. Nisqually Living History Museum invited me to a sampling of authentically-prepared 1855 Washington chow, I couldn't resist, especially since I got to wear a real-deal 1855 outfit.

That's right. The only difference between me and a real ham is that a real ham can be cured.

K. Kneistedt / Hair on Fire Productions

I knew that  recipe was dangerous the moment I saw it. Six Thai peppers? A half cup of chile oil? And that was just the start of the hot stuff. Naturally, I couldn't wait to make it. 

Because he'll eat anything (except tofu), I invited Weekend Edition host Kevin Kniestedt over to have some. We were in agony. And we couldn't stop. Maybe you'd like to try it.

Gabriel Spitzer / KPLU

Starbucks will begin posting calorie counts on its menu boards and bakery cases nationwide next week—something it’s already required to do in King County.

First, let's spoil this tale right away by telling you the 19-year-old man in Virginia who downed a quart of soy sauce on a dare survived.

It's a happy ending of sorts. But the guy had a close call. And you definitely don't want to try it.

While there's been quite a debate lately about whether the salt in the modern American diet is risky, there's no question that a massive amount of salt ingested quickly can lead to death.

"Open #&%" sez me!

Jun 12, 2013
Nancy Leson / Seattle Times

The fold out spout that doesn't.  The pull-ring that pops off so violently it spews the carton's contents all over your hands, the counter and your new pants.  Little foil closure tabs  so absurdly tiny they'd make Tinkerbell look ham-handed. 

We cover them all and more in this week's Food for Thought.

When photographer Ajay Malghan looks at this image, he sees the Virgin Mary. But you might see something entirely different — a flower petal, maybe. Or a sea slug.

Or how about ... a carrot? Yes, ladies and gentlemen, that is a picture of a sliced carrot.

And this? It's not a supernova. It's not the Eye of Sauron. It's a strawberry.

Let's do lunch!

May 29, 2013
swamibu / flickr

In my whole life I've never even had a one-martini lunch. I stay right here in the KPLU Jazz Bunker, wolfing down last night's leftovers.  If you think  Seattle Times food writer Nancy Leson  is lunching more luxuriously, think again.