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Adam Richman's 'Straight Up Tasty': The Worst Cookbook of the Year?

Adam Richman's 'Straight Up Tasty': The Worst Cookbook of the Year?

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If, for some reason, anyone misses the TV gorge-fests of Adam Richman, a struggling actor who was hired a while back to host a Travel Channel show called Man Vs. Food in which he seemed to be eating himself to death, such a person can now relive the actor's TV excess through 150 recipes that, his publisher claims, define his experiences with food. Why Clarkson Potter, a highly respected publisher of prize-winning cookbooks, would stoop to release a title by Richman is beyond my understanding. The publication of his book, Straight Up Tasty, proves that the publisher is not above scrabbling around in the pop culture gutter for a buck.

I am the “expert” who runs, a page about food writing and cookbooks. I asked my assistant Gillian Speiser to put together a round-up of Clarkson Potter’s releases for this spring. She gamely created a page with the publisher’s impressive list, which includes new titles by Mark Bittman and Christina Tosi. Mark is a friend — we bonded when we both worked at the New York Times and encouraged the paper to add bicycle parking in their headquarters building. I respect Mark as a progressive thinker about food — not just because of the bicycle thing.

But I don’t respect Adam as a food person. Notice on the cover of his book, out in May, that there seems to be no mention of the Travel Channel, nor of his show. That relationship was frayed even before his Instagram tirades last year in which, amongst other offenses, he told a commenter to "grab a razor blade and draw a bath. I doubt anyone will miss you."

I know from the reporting I did for my book about the Food Network that the parent company of Travel, Scripps Networks, was concerned that Adam would have a heart attack or some kind of stomach explosion incident as a result of his TV show — which would have been bad publicity, to say the least. (It might also be bad for Adam, but let’s keep our priorities straight. Scripps — ticker symbol SNI — is a publicly traded company with a market cap of $9.5 billion).

So, no more Adam trying to eat meat sandwiches bigger than a breadbox. No more sweaty dude with cheering crowds pushing him. Travel Channel let the Instagram storm pass and is debuting a new Richman show April 1, Man Finds Food, during which he does stuff like eat a burger at a Thai restaurant and discovers an inside-out grilled cheese sandwich at another place. I'm not compelled to watch the actor's explorations. Are you?

Whether his recent weight loss means there will be no more clouds of sweet-smelling smoke drifting from his trailer as he prepares for shoots and no more crew members who gripe about him is not yet known.

Here’s the difference between Adam and someone who is still beloved by Travel Channel: Andrew Zimmern, the dude who eats weird critters. Andrew is a food person through and through, a restaurant veteran, a cook who can make hand-pulled noodles on his own — a mensch.

Support him. Or buy Clarkson’s other books. Let Adam’s fester. This is not the business Clarkson or any of us ought to be in.

Would You Eat Food That Resembles an Eyeball? A Look at America's Most Exotic Fruits

Adam Richman is showing just how delicious some of America's strangest foods can be.

The author of Straight Up Tasty: Meals, Memories, and Mouthfuls from My Travels took Inside Edition around New York City to try out all kinds of unique fruit, including one that looks like an eyeball.

On his new show, Secret Eats, he tries out interesting foods from across the world in hidden restaurants and off secret menus.

One fruit, longan &mdash a relative of the lychee &mdash looks like an eyeball when you peel it back, but it's actually quite tasty.

Another fruit, a prickly pear, looks like a potato on the outside and like nothing you've ever seen on the inside. The texture was as interesting as the taste. When opened, it looks like a pomegranate.

Richman tried them, saying: "Well done, nature!"

After purchasing the exotic fruits, Inside Edition took them into the kitchen with Nikki Dinki, author of Meat on the Side: Delicious Vegetable-Focused Recipes for Every Day, who showed how to incorporate the oddball fruits into an everyday diet.

She advised to take a dragon fruit and mix it together with more mainstream fruits like raspberries and blueberries.

For the longan, she suggested combining it with flatbread, ricotta cheese and chives.

Bobby Flay's scrambled eggs aren't complete without smoked salmon.

Bobby Flay is a man with many recipes. He has shared his tips for the perfect cast iron scrambled eggs, a recipe for scrambled eggs with goat cheese, and the internet has even tried to master his famous scrambled eggs from Gato.

But if you want the most basic Bobby Flay recipe for scrambled eggs, look no further than his brunch-worthy eggs. His special ingredients for "the best scrambled eggs" are smoked salmon, scallions, and goat cheese butter.

Frequently bought together


About the Author

ADAM RICHMAN is the host of the Travel Channel series Man. v. Food. He earned his master's degree from Yale University, has appeared in several TV shows, and has worked in many restaurants around the country. He lives in Brooklyn.

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.

Beyond Sprouts, Pilates, and Orange Iced Tea

I wake up on an air mattress in a near-empty room in mid-Wilshire.

Palm fronds do a frenetic interpretive dance in the late morning half-light streaming through the vertical blinds.

The rolltop desk left by the previous occupant is loaded with sides (short pieces from scripts that actors use to prepare for auditions) for roles that I am up for, callbacks, and the near-misses where I just couldn't figure out what the hell went wrong. There are also reams of paperwork from two of my "survival" jobs, neither of which I am working today.

No, today is the real work.

Waking up had been hard these days. I was working four jobs and was barely able to get by. I'd moved three times since I'd been out here, been screwed by landlords and Craigslisters alike, and a week ago my roommate foolishly totaled my car while fucking parking it.

I'd been sucker punched, stolen from, and three days before I left to drive out here, the girl who was the center of my universe broke my heart. One day into my solo cross-country drive, I called her as I was about to cross the Rockies. I told her I would hang a hard right and come to her in Minnesota to give it another try, as distance had been our enemy. The last thing I heard before I lost the signal:

I came out on the other side of the mountains and saw I had reception again, but no voice mail from the girl. At just that moment I got a call. It was the job I was to have had waiting for me. They had downsized. There was no more job.

No job, no girl, and half the country still to go.

California, here I come. Whoop-de-do.

I had left for LA knowing I had a handful of friends here. Somehow, they'd all gone on vacation at once--not sure when they'd be back.

And Grandpa died a month ago.

Yup, gravity had me by the balls and seemed to be doing chin-ups on them. Waking up was hard.

I stretched all my limbs at once, groaned like I was being exorcised, and rolled onto the floor to the left of the bed.

Up to seven sun salutations.

Roll over. Pilates "hundreds."

Twenty-five twisting crunches to either side.

The day's audition was for a role as a New York lawyer from the streets with smarts but a still-streetwise edge. I got sent out for every New York role out here.

I took my well-worn, much-repaired suit into the bathroom with me so the steam from the shower could get the old bitch camera ready.

I warmed up my voice in the shower, which probably sounded like mating camels.

I made a protein shake with egg white and whey for breakfast--the whole time cursing the delicious bacon-and-egg smells emanating from the IHOP next door.

I went to the garage and hopped into my insurance-provided rental, which I had to say was a pretty cool upgrade on my own car. In LA, you are what you drive, and though I may feel like it most of the time, I don't want the world knowing I'm a beat-up Dodge Neon.

I checked my Thomas Guide for directions to Culver City, where I was to audition for major TV casting director Eileen Stringer. I had recognized her name when my agents gave me my sides, and I wanted to impress her, if not enough for this project, then enough that she would keep me in mind for future roles.

I reviewed my sides again. I went over my lines backward and forward-- trying to be as "small" and natural as possible, trying to use my damn master's degree and pursue an objective, as they taught me--to treat today like a performance. For once to have one damn thing go right out here.

I hung my jacket on a hanger in the backseat, pulled on my shades, and pulled out into the cheesecloth of the smog-covered city, headed southwest. I cruised down Wilshire toward Fairfax, passing cars nicer than mine carrying people more beautiful than me.

I hated being an actor out here, where everyone is an actor. I missed New York and talking with people about things other than being in "the biz." I needed to cowboy up and buckle down. Quit bitching and get the damn job.

I got a bit twisted with the final few turns, but eventually found a spot down the street from the casting office. As I pulled into my spot with the parallel-parking virtuosity of a native Noo-Yawkah, I saw a sweet thing in a power suit rolling up with her audition pages. She passed by my car and then got in her own, and I was struck by how much she resembled the lovely film actress Samantha Mathis. I felt even less attractive. I furrowed my brow, threw on my jacket, and headed into the waiting area with the suited, sculpted masses.

I stood. I clenched my teeth. Quietly, under my breath, I said the little prayer that I say before every audition and performance, and I entered the room.

I tried to break the ice with a joke.

"Wow, every actor in LA broke out their lawyer suits for this, huh? The ladies, too? I even saw that Samantha Mathis look-alike coming out of the room!"

"Why don't you start when you're ready," Eileen said.

Now, whether it was because I felt so compromised by my inadvertent diss of a certified star or because of the cumulative effect of getting my ass kicked in by LA, I got amped and angry and my game got razor sharp.

I focused, I listened, and I rocked the audition.

"You know, I saw you at your Yale showcase a year ago. You're a very good actor."

And just like that, it was like all the shit I'd endured here in LA never happened. I'm a good actor and, despite having worked pretty consistently, I now knew that someone besides Mom thinks so. I left the audition feeling powerful and as though my body-fat percentage had dropped.

My phone vibrated. I flipped it open. It was a cute British girl I'd met while doing extra work. She wanted to grab drinks at a bar in Hollywood later.

I put on my shades and swore I heard Randy Newman intone "I love LA" over the traffic. I headed to Santa Monica for lunch. Aside from a few parts of Los Feliz and Silverlake, Santa Monica is the only place I've found in LA where people seem to walk, and my fired-up New York sensibilities made me need to walk around for a bit.

And, LA be damned, I wanted carbs. I wanted to find a taste of home.

And holy shit I found it, at a slightly sad, older-looking, green-trimmed diner on Wilshire called Callahan's.

The place looked like a New York diner and was virtually empty. The booths were well worn, and I felt an instant kinship with all those who had eaten here before me, all the actors, writers, and dreamers who had slid across these ancient emerald benches and flipped through these laminated menus since the place opened in '48. After talking to the waitress, who seemed as though she may have been born there, I decided the fresh roasted turkey was the way to go. The waitress beamed with pride over the fact that they roast turkeys daily, and a quick glance at the menu revealed that they put turkey in damn near everything. It read like the post-Christmas turkey list from A Christmas Story: turkey salad, roasted turkey, turkey omelets, turkey sandwiches and salads, turkey soup.

I went for a diner classic, a turkey salad club, but I added a Cali twist with avocado (to me, having awesome fresh avocados is one of the best aspects of living in LA). I read the LA Weekly as I waited for my food, the words "You're a very good actor" still echoing in my head.

The waitress brought my food and a coffee. The sandwich was a glorious triple-decker of bacon, lettuce and tomato, and turkey salad that smelled like Thanksgiving Day, with huge chunks of meat that were perfectly juicy and not overly mayonnaised. And there, right beside it, buttery green and chartreuse wedges of ripe California avocado. All on wheat toast with golden brown, perfectly crispy diner steak fries.

It was exactly what I needed and exactly the food manifestation of being told you're a good actor by a notable casting director. Nutty wheat toast gave way to the watery crunch of iceberg lettuce and sweet tomato, coupled with the juicy, almost gamey smokiness of fresh-roasted turkey salad, the salty crunch of the bacon, and the creamy smoothness of the avocado. Carbs, fat, salt, and nitrates--anti-Los Angeles cuisine for sure, but Lord, was I happy.

Did you know that avocado comes from the Nabuatl (a language of the indigenous Nahua people of Mexico) word for testicle because of its shape? Well, it does take some balls to name something delicious and edible after trouser plums!

I paid my check and strolled down Wilshire, past an incredible variety of ethnic specialty shops: English, Indian, Turkish, and Russian. I looked great in my suit, my belly was overjoyed, and I'm a very good actor.

I headed home and awaited the call from my agents telling me that I would be playing the next New York lawyer from the streets with smarts but a still-streetwise edge.

I parked, hung up my suit, changed my clothes, and hit the treadmill while watching SportsCenter.

Flip phone rang. My agent, Susie.

"So, Adam, I heard from Eileen's office."

Here it comes . . . Tell De Niro we'll do lunch next week . . .

"And they said you really rocked the piece."

"And they thought you were great, but . . ."

"They're probably going to try to go for a big name for that role. But Eileen said that you're . . . "

"A very good actor. Yeah, yeah, I know." A lump formed in my throat.

"And that she'll keep you in mind for future stuff."

"I'm sure," I said, rolling my tear-filled eyes.

"Adam, listen. It's really good when a casting director like that gives you feedback like that."

"No, it's good when they cast you, Susie."

"Adam. I'm serious. Eileen wouldn't say that if she didn't mean it."

"I'm sure, Susie," I said, with visions of hourly-wage jobs dominating the smog-filled horizon for the next foreseeable bit of future. "I've gotta go. G'night."

I punched a hole in the wall.

I slumped to the ground with bloody knuckles and stayed there on my knees for what seemed like hours. Silent, broken, broke, and defeated--good actor or not.

It was Geoff, one of the best, closest friends anyone in the world could hope for, one who has stood by me in good times and bad.

"I thought you were with your family in New England."

"Just home, my man. Get over here."

"Man, shit's all fucked up here."

"Man, it's LA. Shit's fucked up all over. That's why this place is so cool!"

"Oh," I deadpanned, "that's why."

"Either I broke a mirror on a black cat under a ladder on the Ides of March, or Fate just enjoys knocking the crap out of me. I'm beat, man. I'm just tired of the struggle and always hearing 'no,' of never being good enough, of always struggling to get the next gig."

"Then quit, homes, because that's what being an actor is, man. It's a struggle, especially out here. But hey, you're a very good act--"

"Dude, can you please not say that today?"

Like so many of its residents, LA is a city that is forever in flux, and therefore why we eat what we eat in Los Angeles may have more to do with a particular moment in time than the history that came before it. Los Angeles (literally "The Angels," not "The City of Angels") is the second-largest city in the country, the third-largest economic center in the world, and home to more than 14 million people of exceptionally diverse ethnic backgrounds-- and palates. Talking about Los Angeles's culinary identity is a task akin to hitting a moving target.

It was founded in 1781 by Spain and then became a Mexican territory when that country achieved independence from Spain. In 1848, after the Mexican- American War, it became part of the United States.

It is, of course, the hub of the entertainment industry, and people, including yours truly, come to LA by the busload, carload, and planeload to "make it." It is hard to find a "native" Angeleno since so many people here are from elsewhere, and the population is always in flux. Hobbled inextricably to the entertainment industry is an overwhelming preoccupation with appearance and health, and as diet trends come and go, restaurants in LA are forever altering their menus to keep up with the toned, tanned Joneses.

Another key factor that manifests itself on the plates of Angelenos is geography because LA is so spread out, one must drive to live there, and drive-thrus offering quick grab-n-go foods like burgers and tacos dot the culinary landscape in the entertainment capital. This mobile food trend has now gone a step further with the proliferation throughout Los Angeles of food trucks that sell everything from grilled cheese to Korean tacos to ice cream sandwiches.

And let's not discount geology. Los Angeles sits on the Pacific Ring of Fire, the horseshoe-shaped zone of the regions of the world with the most- active volcanoes and the most-intense earthquakes. This has had major ramifications for Los Angeles's solvency as a city--seeing as how it repeatedly gets hit with earthquakes, and scientists predict more to come-- and for its soil composition, as the activity below the earth releases various com£ds into the workable terrain above.

The result is nutrient-rich soil. Add to that the fact that LA has a subtropical Mediterranean climate that seldom receives more than 30 days of rainfall per year. This sunny weather creates perfect planting conditions, but sadly also brings with it the danger of drought. Plus, LA is a classic example of a microclimate system, in which the temperature can vary by nearly 20°F from city to coast. This enables the region as a whole to sustain multiple kinds of vegetation and agriculture.

Because of its subtropical climate and proximity to Central California, where 8% of the total US agricultural output originates, LA has year-round access to the kinds of fresh seasonal fruits and vegetables the rest of us wait for all year long, most notably avocados, asparagus, artichokes, figs, and dates.

Adam Richman. All in good taste. AMAA.

Hey, it's Adam Richman. Host of Man Vs. Food, Man Finds Food on TRAVEL, and host of NBC's Food Fighters, and author of the new cookbook Straight Up Tasty. In search of the greatest morsels, the greatest people, and here for your inquiring pleasure. Victoria's helping me on the phone today. AMAA.

Update: Thank you so much for taking time out of your day to come ask me your questions. Hope my answers at least sucked minimally. And I apologize to anyone whose questions I did not get to. Please follow me on social media, because I try my hardest to respond to everyone there. And you can pretty much find me @AdamRichman on every form of social media. And hopefully I will get a chance to do another one of these in the near future to answer the questions I might have missed today, and any new ones that might arise.

And you will never know how grateful I am for your enthusiasm and support.

Adam Richman's 'Straight Up Tasty': The Worst Cookbook of the Year? - Recipes

The Jewish Cookbook - Leah Koenig - Phaidon

hello, Cookie Dough - Kristen Tomlan - Grand Central Publishing

Binging With Babish - Andrew Rea - Harcourt Mifflin Harcourt

The Noma Guide To Fermentation - Rene Redzepi and David Zilber - Artisan

Emily: The Cookbook - Emily & Matthew Hyland - Ballantine Books

Inspiralized & Beyond - Ali Maffucci - Clarkson Po

The Sweet Spot - Bill Yosses & Peter Kaminsky - Pam Krauss/Avery

Masterchef Junior Bakes! - Clarkson Potter

David Tanis Market Cooking - David Tanis - Artisan

breakfast, lunch, dinner. life - Missy Robbins - Rizzoli

Vegetarian Viet Nam - Cameron Stauch - WW Norton &Co.

Sugar, Butter, Flour - Pam Krauss/Avery

100% Real - Sam Talbot - Oxmoor House

So Good - Richard Blais - Harcourt Mifflin Harcourt

Elizabeth Street Cafe - Tom Moorman, Larry McGuire, Julia Turshen - Phaidon

Les Petits Sweets - Kathryn Gordon & Anne McBride - Running Press

Encyclopedia of Spices & Herbs - Padma Lakshmi - Ecco

My Two Souths - Asha Gomez & Martha Hall Foose - Running Press

Mastering The Art of Japanese Home Cooking - Chef Masaharu Morimoto with JJ Goode - Ecco<br />

Curate - Chef Katie Button & Genevieve Ko - Flatiron Books

Around The Fire - Chefs Greg & Gabi Denton with Stacy Adimando - Ten Speed Press

An: To Eat - Chef Helen An & Jacqueline An - Running Press

Num Pang - Ben Daitz and Ratha Chaupoly and Raquel Pelzel - Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

America's Best Breakfasts - Lee Schrager & Adeena Sussman - Clarkson Potter

Senegal - Chef Pierre Thiam - Lake Isle Press

Toast: The Cookbook - Raquel Pelzel - Phaidon

Tacos: Recipes And Provocations - Chef Alex Stupak & Jordana Rothman, Clarkson Potter

Ruth Reichl: My Kitchen Year (cover) - Random House

North: The New Nordic Cuisine of Iceland - Chef Gunnar Gislason - Ten Speed Press

MEAT: Everything You Wanted To Know - Pat LaFrieda - Atria Books

The Boozy Blender - Bruce Weinstein & Mark Scarbrough - Clarkson Potter

Classico e Moderno - Chef Michael White & Andrew Friedman - Ballantine Books

To The Bone - Chef Paul Liebrandt & Andrew Friedman - Clarkson Potter

Inspiralized - Ali Maffucci - Clarkson Potter

DiPalo's Guide to the Essential Foods of Italy - Lou DiPalo & Rachel Wharton - Ballantine Books

Marc Forgione - Marc Forgione & Olga Massov - Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

Fried & True - Lee Schrager & Adeena Sussman - Clarkson Potter

Portlandia: The Cookbook - Clarkson Potter

Straight Up Tasty - Adam Richman - Clarkson Potter

CookFight - Kim Severson & Julia Moskin - Ecco

Recipe for Radiance - Alexis Wolfer - Running Press

Dr Cocktail - Alex Ott - Running Press

Come In, We're Closed - Jody Eddy & Christine Carroll - Running Press

Get A Copy

Thug Kitchen

Excuse the cursing and my poor Photoshop skills.

Thug Kitchen is what would happen if you crossed Tony Robbins with Joe Pesci and a vegan. That sounds like a joke, but TK is not F’ing around: When you go to you’re greeted with plain black text on a white background that encourages you to “Eat like you give a F.”

See, the goal of Thug Kitchen is to teach you how easy it is to eat fresh, good, simple foods. Largely plant based, TK is starkly simple: Mainly large-scale pictures of delicious food, TK puts some no-nonsense, curse-laden commentary over the main image to immediately grab your attention. For example, the entry for stuffing greets you with outlined text that shouts, “Shut the F up and pass the stuffing.”

Below the header image, Thug Kitchen outlines the recipe starting with the ingredients list and more cursing (“8 ounces of mushrooms – button mushrooms, cremini, or whatever the F you can find at the store is fine”) then leads you through each step with detailed instructions that sound like they’re coming from your favorite sailor. (“Cover that with foil and bake it for 20 minutes. Your place will start smelling pretty F-ing dope.”)

However, the focus isn’t the foul language: It’s the huge, beautiful pictures of meals and the way that Thug Kitchen breaks down each recipe to show you how simple it is to cook with basic, wholesome ingredients to make delicious food.

The very first Thug Kitchen post, from August 2012, is for Peanut Tempeh Spring Rolls which the author was inspired to make when he and his girlfriend were cleaning out the fridge. “What did you cook last time you cleaned out your dirty ass fridge? A pickle and ketchup sandwich?” asks the post. Since then, the site has grown to include over 40 recipes for foods and drinks (for example, the MF’ing Lavender Lemonade), set a pumpkin on fire for Halloween, and has a cookbook in the works for 2014.

Slow Cooker

Two Food Network stars, Giada De Laurentiis and Sunny Anderson, swear by their slow cookers for the big day.

"It is perfect for keeping plenty of gravy, mashed potatoes, stewed vegetables or any side dish warm," says Anderson. "I have plenty of small ones I use for sauces and the large ones I use for the sides."

A slow cooker "also frees up burner or oven space, and things like soup can be served straight from them,” De Laurentiis adds.

And don't forget about the part of Thanksgiving day many people spend watching football, says Anderson. "I've even filled one with shredded turkey and a bit of stock to stay warm and moist throughout the game for constant plate filling," she says.

Crock-Pot 6-Quart Programmable Cook & Carry Slow Cooker, $32, Amazon

Crock-Pot 6-Quart Programmable Cook & Carry Slow Cooker, $32, Amazon

This portable Crock-Pot, which TODAY named among the best slow cookers on the market right now, is perfect for serving sides or taking to a potluck.

Bread Pudding

You'll weep tears of joy and contentment, because you&rsquove just made the best bread pudding. Ever.

Store leftovers in fridge. Walk by every hour and pop a cube of bread in your mouth. Smile contently. Note: This recipe is originally by Tom Perini.

to 5 cups sourdough bread, cut into 1-inch cubes

For the Whiskey Cream Sauce:

  1. Make the bread pudding: Preheat the oven to 325˚. Beat together the eggs, melted butter, vanilla and milk. Add the sugar and mix until dissolved. Arrange the bread cubes tightly in a 9-inch baking dish, keeping the crusts facing up around the edges and scattered within the dish. Pour the liquid over the bread. Sprinkle the pecans all over the top. Bake for 55 to 70 minutes, or until the crust is golden brown all over the top.
  2. Make the whiskey cream sauce: While the bread pudding is baking, bring the sugar, butter, heavy cream and Jack Daniels to a low bowl in a saucepan over low heat, stirring constantly. Pour a little of the cream sauce over the each serving of bread pudding.

I&rsquove never liked bread pudding. It wasn&rsquot in my mother&rsquos rotation of recipes growing up, so the only other exposure I&rsquod had to the dish was the occasional trip to a cafeteria-style restaurant with my grandmother. There, the bread pudding looked like someone had opened a loaf of white sandwich bread, poured a bunch of sweet liquid inside the bag, and stuck a spoon into the mess and served it up. And they&rsquod stick three raisins on it, thinking that would cover up the multitude of sins. It just didn&rsquot float my boat.

I&rsquod effectively written off the whole bread pudding thing, fooling myself into thinking my life was complete without it. After all, I have a great chocolate cake recipe, I can whip up a mean tiramisu, and my mom&rsquos peach crisp with maple cream sauce belonged within the gates of Heaven. What did I need bread pudding for? Hmmmph.

Then, one day last January, my mother-in-law came to my house to watch the Super Bowl. She brought this bread pudding, one she&rsquod seen in Tom Perrini&rsquos cookbook, and once I took my first bite, I knew just what I&rsquod been missing my whole life. Suddenly, everything made sense. In an instant, I wanted to paint, to sculpt, to ascend Mount Everest and write a sonnet. It was so, so good.

The wonderful thing about this bread pudding is the use of sourdough bread cubes instead of white bread. It gives the dish structure and integrity, and once it&rsquos finished baking, there&rsquos a wonderfully crispy crust around the edges and on the top, which is a great balance for the softness of the soaked bread. And if that weren&rsquot enough, the whiskey cream sauce gives it even more of a sinful quality&hellipI could go on all day. Instead, let&rsquos get started!

The Cast of Characters: Sourdough bread, eggs, butter, vanilla, milk, sugar, and pecans. How much simpler can this get, I ask you?

Start by cutting the sourdough bread into 1-inch cubes.

To do this, cut 1-inch slices&hellip

Then stack three or four slices together.

First cut long, 1-inch slices, then rotate 90 degrees and cut the other way to form cubes.

Keep going until you have anywhere from 3 1/2 to 5 cups of sourdough cubes. (You can save and freeze whatever you have left for next time!)

Start laying sourdough cubes in the bottom of a 9-inch baking dish.

Don&rsquot cram them in, but you want them to fit pretty snugly. Around the perimeter of the dish, arrange the cubes of bread with the crust facing up.

Do the same thing to some of the pieces in the middle. Now, some people who are much more artistic and creative than I might get a little snazzy and OCD with the pattern of the cubes, keeping them in concentric circles or something equally complicated, which would be great. Me? I tend to like the rustic (lazy) look. Notice that you don&rsquot see any large gaps between the cubes.

Next, crack two eggs into a bowl.

Add 2 tablespoons melted (and slightly cooled) butter.

And two TABLESPOONS of vanilla. Boy, that&rsquos a lot of vanilla, but you&rsquoll praise the heavens later.

Whisk everything together thoroughly until sugar is dissolved.

Now pour the mixture evenly over the sourdough cubes, making sure it&rsquos all nicely saturated.

It&rsquoll feel as though you&rsquore absolutely drowning the bread&hellip

But don&rsquot worry&mdashit&rsquoll turn out great!

Here&rsquos a good way to chop nuts: rest the palm of your hand on the narrow end (and dull side) of the knife, then move the knife in an up-and-down, rocking motion.

Continue until pretty finely chopped.

Now sprinkle the chopped pecans over the bread.

The pecans do add wonderful crispness and flavor, but if you&rsquore like my dear sister and swell up like a bullfrog and start itching wildly and wheeze violently if you consume even the smallest piece of a tree nut, you could certainly omit them.

Now it&rsquos time to pop it into a 325-degree oven and bake for 55 to 70 minutes, or until the bread is nice and golden brown all over the top.

While the bread pudding is cooking, it&rsquos time to make the Whiskey Sauce.

The Cast of Characters: sugar, butter, cream, and Jack Daniels. The stuff that dreams are made of.

Throw all four ingredients into a saucepan and stir together until sugar dissolves.

Stir constantly over low heat until mixture reaches a low boil. Remove from heat and set aside, or pour into a small container, if desired.

Ding-ding-ding! Time to take the pan out of the oven. The dish might appear a little poufy at first, but it will settle over the next few minutes. Look at the beautiful, crispy crust.

Hello, beautiful. I love you. The insidious thing about this dadgum dish is that these individual cubes are so inviting and so easy just to grab straight out of the dish and pop in your mouth. My skinny mother-in-law, in fact, had the audacity to leave the leftovers with me, the meanie. And I spent the next 24 hours popping "just one" cube in my mouth every time I walked by. It became a problem.

With a serving spoon, dish up a nice helping onto a plate. Notice how the "soft" part of the bread still isn&rsquot a soggy mess? The sourdough really gives it character.

Either pour or spoon a small amount of sauce onto each individual serving.

And serve. And weep tears of joy and contentment, because you&rsquove just made the best bread pudding. Ever.

For those of you who love bread pudding, I know you&rsquoll love this recipe. For those of you who think you don&rsquot like bread pudding, please, please try this recipe. And report back to me so we can oooh and aaaah together.


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  4. Simeon

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  5. Tupi

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