The Bookshelf: Jennifer McLagan Chews the Fat

Fat At yesterday’s Beard on Books, author and self-labeled “fat lady” Jennifer McLagan delighted the crowd with her honest talk on fat, the most misunderstood block in the food pyramid. The discussion was largely based on her latest book, Fat: An Appreciation of a Misunderstood Ingredient, with Recipes, which took home the medal for Cookbook of the Year at last year’s JBF Awards. Raised in Australia, McLagan recalls how she “ate fat with pleasure,” always opening the refrigerator to find three different types: butter, lard, and drippings. Fat was used in everything and no one she knew was overweight, a far-fetched world for Americans who subscribe to a religion of low fat or no fat. McLagan also focused on health benefits of fat, specifically the nutrients in high-quality animal fat that keep us happy

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Recipe: Goat Cheese Crêpes with Herb Salad

Goat cheese crepes Tangy and sweet, these unfussy goat cheese crêpes from chef Christopher Edwards are an excellent dish for a Sunday brunch. His recipe calls for frisée and an herb salad of basil, chives, and tarragon. We think any combination of greens is the perfect accompaniment.

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Eye Candy: The Final Touch

Plating foie A crew member seasons a quince, completing a plate of foie gras and Sauternes sauce. Click here to see more photos from Kevin Penner and Matt Birnstill's Beard House dinner. (Photo by Joan Garvin)

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Recipe: Warm Oysters with Prosecco, Cauliflower, and Sorrel Soup

Warm Oysters with Prosecco, Cauliflower, and Sorrel Soup The indulgent pairing of oysters and Champagne is one that is often celebrated simply. But at tonight's Beard House dinner, Seattle chef Ethan Stowell will rearrange the duo into a luxurious soup, incorporating refreshing Prosecco, cauliflower, and bitter sorrel. Keep his simple recipe in mind for a low-key weekend dinner party. (If sorrel is not available, spinach or arugula make great substitutions.)

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Recipe: Jennifer McLagan's Perfect Bacon, Lettuce, and Tomato Sandwich

Fat For our first Beard on Books of the year, we're tossing those healthy resolutions out the window and sitting at the feet of Jennifer McLagan, chef, food stylist, and fat advocate. She's discussing her latest book, Fat: An Appreciation of a Misunderstood Ingredient, with Recipes, which was named Cookbook of the Year at the 2009 James Beard Awards. Supported by common sense and science, McLagan comes to the defense of this unfairly maligned nutrient, persuasively arguing that fat is indispensable to a complete diet and full flavor. (Not that we ever needed to be convinced of the latter.) The book features recipes that get a boost from clever uses of oil, butter, or animal products. One of our favorites is her Perfect Bacon, Lettuce, and Tomato Sandwich: the mayonn

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Eat this Word: Geoduck

geoduck-1WHAT? Ugly duckling. "These are the most bizarre-looking of all clams (and perhaps all foods)," James Peterson writes in Fish & Shellfish of the geoduck, which makes its home in the Pacific Northwest. Waverly Root wasn't much kinder, describing it as a "clam so fat that it cannot close its shell." The bigger specimens of the world's largest burrowing clam weigh as much as 20 pounds, live as long as 150 years, and their neck, or siphon, extends by as much as three feet. They resemble…er…something not polite to write here. But odd-looking as they are, the geoduck has many admirers, culinary and otherwise. "Geoduck meat is delicious," Alan Davidson writes in The Oxford Companion to Food. The siphon meat is stirred into chowders and used for sushi; the body is sautéed. Asians pay as much as $30 per pound to dine on them, according to William Dietrich in the Seattle Times, who also explains that the name comes from the Nisqually Indian na

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On the Menu: January 17 to January 23

on-the-menu-eileen-miller Here’s what happening at the Beard House next week: Wednesday, January 20, 12:00 P.M. Beard on Books Winner of the 2009 JBF Cookbook Award, Fat: An Appreciation of a Misunderstood Ingredient with Recipes is Jennifer McLagan's defense of this unfairly maligned food. Backed by science and common sense, the cook and food stylist convincingly argues that fat is an indispensable nutrient. She also reminds us that it's a capable vehicle for flavor: using popular recipes, like the B.L.T. and french fries, McLagan proves that fat takes foods to new heights. Wednesday, January 20, 7:00 P.M. Northwestern Seafood Extravaganza 2009 JBF Award nominee Ethan Stowell understands that sophisticated audiences

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