5@5 - Ruth Reichl
May 20th, 2011
05:00 PM ET
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5@5 is a daily, food-related list from chefs, writers, political pundits, musicians, actors, and all manner of opinionated people from around the globe.

There are two types of people in this world: those who care what is in their refrigerator and those who don't.

To some, the refrigerator is a sacred place - a heavily curated affair of artisanal cheeses and greenmarket produce. To others, it's a wasteland of half-used bottles of condiments with Chinese take-out landmines thrown in between.

No matter your refrigerator style - whether crisper clutterer or bare bones - if you keep your fridge filled with the right ingredients, Ruth Reichl says there's always a last-minute meal on the horizon.

Reichl is the editorial advisor of the newly launched, Gilt Taste. Previously, she was editor-in-chief of the now folded and dearly departed Gourmet magazine and served as the restaurant critic for The New York Times.

Five Foods You Should Never Be Without: Ruth Reichl

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Box lunch
May 20th, 2011
12:00 PM ET
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Sink your teeth into today's top stories from around the globe.

  • Recipe search engines: friend or foe in the kitchen? - New York Times

  • Things Anthony Bourdain will never do again. - AOL News

  • What 20 chefs would eat before The Rapture. - Esquire

  • Two parents in Virginia are suing Four Loko for their son’s death. - Washington Post
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Filed under: Box Lunch • News

Give squirrel a whirl
May 20th, 2011
09:15 AM ET
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I have a squirrel guy. His name is Buddy and by trade he's a sound engineer, but in his heart of hearts, he's a hunter. Buddy doesn't hunt simply for sport; he, his girlfriend and his son cook only meat and fish that they have personally dispatched.

If Buddy's willing to share meat with me, I say, 'thank you' and take what he's offering. I know his kill was clean, quick and respectful, it'll be expertly cleaned and dressed, and no way am I going to find anything of its variety or caliber in my local butcher shop or supermarket.

That doesn't mean that when he offered me a brace of squirrels, I didn't initially have pause. I got over that pretty pretty quickly - and deliciously - and you should, too. Here's why.

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Filed under: Favorites • Hunting • Ingredients • Meat • Squirrel • Taboos

Breakfast Buffet
May 20th, 2011
09:00 AM ET
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While you're frying up some eggs and bacon, we're cooking up something else: a way to celebrate today's food holiday.

Get on your boots and grab your favorite little basket - May 20 is National Pick Strawberries Day!

We're all about the berries today and the rest of May because this month is also dedicated to celebrating strawberries - even if strawberries aren't really berries at all because its seeds are on the outside.

But just like a puppy wearing bunny ears on Easter, we're happy to think of strawberries as whatever they want to be because they're so darn delicious.

Almost like family - dinner with the staff
May 20th, 2011
08:00 AM ET
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The term "family meal" often evokes a 'Leave It to Beaver' tableau: the father figure at the head of the table, the mother in her signature pearls passing around a cream-of-something casserole. Two children flank the table, and they all politely ping-pong questions about each others’ day and which neighbor is coming over for dinner later in the week.

Now, add about 60 more people to the table. Replace the pearls with chefs’ whites; take away the Corningware casserole dish and add stainless steel buffet pans. After the mountains of plates are cleared, the diners are not off to catch the nightly news or be tucked in - they’re going to feed 300 more people.

Welcome to staff meal – more commonly referred to as “family meal” within the industry – the standard pre-service sustenance for restaurant workers.

They, too, ask about each others’ day – specifically, how the gnocchi special came out or the guests who are coming to dine that night, whether regular customers or a recent graduate celebrating with a whole roasted pig.

It's the end of the world as we know it – so let's go dine
May 20th, 2011
07:45 AM ET
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If the doomsday sayers of the Family Radio ministry are to be believed, the people of Earth are set to to meet their end on May 21, 2011. Saying farewell to one's nearest and dearest and preparing a howdy-do to to one's eternal fate is pretty grim business; might as well face it on a full stomach.

May 20th, 2011
07:30 AM ET
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Pssst! Got a sec to chat?

We are utterly thrilled when readers want to hang out and talk – whether it's amongst themselves or in response to pieces we've posted. We want Eatocracy to be a cozy, spirited online home for those who find their way here.

Consider the daily Coffee Klatsch post as your VIP lounge – the primary comments thread for readers who'd like to chat about topics not related to the articles we're running. That way, everyone knows where to find each other, and each post's comments section remains on topic.

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Filed under: Buzz • Coffee Klatsch

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