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

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.

This is an encore episode of Food for Thought.

I blame my mother. 

Nancy Leson / Seattle Times

I don't expect you to forgive me for that headline. To paraphrase Tammany Hall "Honest Grafter" George Washington Plunkitt, I saw my opportunity and I took it. But I digress. In this week's Food for Thought we come to praise Caesar salad.

Sniff, memory!

May 8, 2013

Some smells always bring back fond memories. Seattle Times food writer Nancy Leson says one whiff of mint, and she's suddenly 6 again. 

Two of my favorites are  flame-broiling meat in a highly air-conditioned room, and the aroma of onion soup on a freezing Quebec day. I guess I just like the memory of warm food smells in a cold environment. Not always, though.

Nancy Leson / Seattle Times

These look like some nice beans. And there's a story behind them, too. In this week's Food for Thought, Nancy and I chatted about what we're putting into the ground this spring, and what we hope to get out of it—including something I never knew could be grown around here.

Nancy Leson / Seattle Times

So says the Hostess company of its frozen food saw. I hadn't known there even was a tradition for frozen food saws. I do know that the Hostess company would never exaggerate, so probably the tradition they mean is that of medieval surgical tools. 

Kevin Kniestedt / Unrepresented

Nancy Leson surprised me when she said she was using cake flour and plain cold water for her dumpling wrapper dough.  I've been using all purpose and just-boiled very hot water. 

Nancy got the recipe from Judy Fu of Seattle's Snappy Dragon restaurant fame and wrote about it recently.  There's something I like about her method. And something I don't.

Nancy Leson / Seattle Times

My friend and fellow–though fancier– eater,  Seattle Times food writer Nancy Leson is just back from the Windy City, and telling wide-eyed tales of exotic dinners.  Nance and her fellow Times gastro-journalist Providence Cicero lucked into reservations at two of the top restaurants in the country, if not the world.

John Lok / Seattle Times

I would. And so would Nancy. She calls Michael Sanders' loaves "perhaps the best bread in town" and says she'd happily pay twice that.  

Only about 50 of these beauties come out of Sanders' oven each day and most of those are going to a Matt Dillon restaurant. But if you get to Sitka and Spruce in Melrose Market early enough, you just might be able to score one.