Monday, February 27, 2012

Introduction to In the Kitchen with Arlen

On one of those perfectly breezy New York fall days, my father was enjoying a dish of  baked ziti I had prepared for Sunday dinner. From his street-view seat,  he noticed his neighbor walking by the house with his six year-old son, and asked that I call them in;  I immediately added two more settings and served Joseph and his son.

“You know, Nathan,” my dad pronounced to the six year-old, who glanced up in between ambitious bites. “Food is love!”

Nathan smiled, swallowed, and responded: “Yes. I know that. My daddy says that, too.”

So I guess I wasn’t the only one with a father that has been singing the importance of food as nourishment for the heart as well as the stomach. Growing up in a home with parents  who voiced that philosophy has given me the great desire—and satisfaction—of cooking for family and friends. Thankfully my father’s palate has always been one that welcomed new flavors (though yes, he does have his favorites—and will be the first to tell me when something doesn't make it to his top-picks' list!), which has also inspired me—along with having two kids and a husband, taking lots of trips, teaching students from around the world, and writing cookbooks—to continue the family tradition of shared Sunday dinners, and of trying new dishes from around the globe.

Now, as foodwriter, cooking teacher, and English as a second language teacher, my interest—while still on the food—is also on the stories behind the creators of these dishes. In New Rochelle alone, a historically diverse city of about 77,000, located just outside New York City, we’ve been witnessing (and savoring!) the birth of so many new chefs, restaurateurs, and their creations. 

My goal with this blog is to bring you not only some of the dishes of chefs and home cooks,   but also the tales behind the recipes and their creators.  

Yes, food is love. Cooking for friends and family expresses this. Enjoying new tastes and tales can bring compassion and understanding—not to mention  richness —to our repertoires, cooking and otherwise. Enjoy!
With Dad just before serving baked ziti a few Sundays ago. Photo thanks to Peter Gargagliano.

(Ah! Recipe for my baked ziti to come!) 


  1. Congrats Arlen on your new blog. Since you know I love your books and recipes, I will be checking in weekly to read about your food adventures and to get that recipe for ZITI !

    Can't wait to read more ... xxoo Darcie Rowan

    1. Thank you for the amazing support! Ziti coming tomorrow! xoxoox

  2. Arlen this is lovely! I can't wait for these posts.

    I'm curious to know all of Tony's "top picks list" and to see how many I have tried at your house!! The brownies have got to be on there, right??

    Big hugs!! Julie Spielvogel

    1. Julie,
      You have probably sampled many of the treats I'll showcase but hmmm...didn't think about the brownies!
      Big hugs right back to you!

  3. Arlen! What a great connection for me to my family, our food and traditions. I'm sure I'll have many opportunities in the coming months to experience both envy and joy for you because of the NY food and mostly because of the family dinners. I raise the preverbial glass and toast to your continued success and some great blog entries....Salute!
    xxoo across the miles - Gina
    PS - terrific photo!!

    1. Gina! Yes--lots of our family food will be here...
      Toasts right back to you, and I look forward to more of your comments. Miss you!
      Ah--glad you liked the photo...

  4. Arlen, congratulations on your blog! It will be so much fun to read regularly. I love the ziti story because it brings to mind how festive and welcoming all the meals with you are. And it is so like my uncle to invite everyone to enjoy good food. It is a beautiful photo of the two of you, too.

    your cousin, Donna

  5. Thanks, Sweetie! I appreciate it--and can't wait until you come back to join us for more!
    Love right back to you,