NY Times Food Writer Melissa Clark on Changing Your Dinner Game

Most book signings include a discussion, maybe the reading of an excerpt, and perhaps a short meet-and-great. They are also typically hosted in a bookstore or library. Melissa Clark’s book signing on November 13 will be hosted by Moderne Barn in Armonk, and would more aptly be described as a “meat and eat.”

The writer behind the New York Times’ popular “A Good Appetite” column, Clark is also the author of nearly forty different cookbooks, many of which center on easy, but not necessarily simple, deliciousness.

“They’re not super simple and they’re not going to be super fast, but what they are is convenient,” she says. “One of the most important things that I want to promote or help people do is be happier cooks. Any time I ask you to do something in a recipe, it’s the shortest way to get from Point A to End Point, which is ‘Absolutely Delicious.’” She adds: “I’m never going to publish a recipe just because it’s easy. It has to be easy and delicious at the same time.”

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Dinner: Changing the Game exemplifies this theme by cataloguing easy to follow recipes that all include either a less common ingredient or an innovative twist on classics, things like burgers made with chorizo or sheet pan chicken with spicy harissa.

“People get into cooking ruts. We end up just cooking the same thing because we can’t think of anything else to do. What I wanted to do is take recipes that are pretty familiar to people — roast chicken, macaroni and cheese — and add twists to those, and then offer things that might not be as familiar to people, like grain bowls: they’re not hard, and they’re so healthful and colorful and delicious.”

“I try to set it up so that you know when you’re entering a recipe what you’re in for, if you need to plan ahead, order something online, or ‘Can I just whip this up from stuff I have in my house?’”

Clark’s newest cookbook, Dinner In An Instant, applies the same school of thought to the “Set it and forget it” crowd. “There’s a ton of books out there for slow cookers and electric pressure cookers. This one gives you options that you don’t usually find.”

When it comes to Westchester dining locations, Clark fully recommends The Inn at Pound Ridge by Jean-Georges. “It’s fabulous. And beautiful.”

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“When I was growing up in Brooklyn in the ‘70s and ‘80s, pretty much everyone fled to Westchester. My parents didn’t, but we have a lot of friends so we get up there pretty often. It’s gorgeous.”

Executive Chef Ethan Kostbar at Moderne Barn will be preparing a four-course tasting menu to accompany event, including one recipe lifted right from Clark’s book: warm squid salad.

While her 11:30 a.m. signing is already long sold out, you can hop on the waiting list by sending your name, number, and desired ticket quantity here; (tickets are $85), or you can try a variation on her calamari salad for yourself at home.

Curious for more insight into everything from health, weddings, and local business happenings to golf and hearty Westchester eating? Make sure to surf through all of our daily blogs


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