The Review Interview: Sam Sifton
A new feature of the Week in Review, where I ask three questions of someone about something in the news. Since Thanksgiving is next week, I thought I’d talk to Sam Sifton, founding editor of The New York Times Cooking and The Sunday Times Magazine food columnist.
The Saturday Evening Post: In your book, Thanksgiving: How to Cook it Well, you say you are 100 percent against appetizers before the meal. Why? Not even some nuts or a dip or some crackers until the bird is ready?
Sam Sifton: I’m not working for days to cook Thanksgiving — pies and side dishes, the giant bird, the perfect gravy, two kinds of cranberry sauce — so that a guest can come into my home, eat a half pound of nuts and then refuse seconds. It’s the biggest meal of the year! Don’t crowd your stomach with crackers and dip. No appetizers. (Oysters are an exception. They don’t take up much room.)
SEP: Besides appetizers, what do you think is one thing that everyone does wrong at Thanksgiving, or something that would make their cooking day easier?
SS: I don’t think there’s any one thing that everyone does wrong at Thanksgiving, but I do think we should all strive to make a plan a few days before the feast. What trips people up isn’t the work, it’s the scheduling. Taking a few moments on the weekend before Thanksgiving to make a list of the tasks that need to be completed by the time everyone sits down to eat will help you manage the space-time continuum.
SEP: What’s one recipe you’d love everyone to try this Thanksgiving?
SS: We have a whole page dedicated to recipes I’d love for everyone to try this Thanksgiving. But here’s a new recipe my colleague Kim Severson got down in Mississippi for Sweet Potatoes with Cranberry-Jalapeno Chutney that I’m definitely making. Won’t you join me?
SEP: Thanks, Sam!
Check out the redesign on the NYT Cooking section. It’s really fantastic.
What Is the Sage Grouse?No, it’s not a delicious bird you might cook for Thanksgiving (mmmm … sage), though some people out west might want to. The sage grouse is a small bird that conservationists want to protect, and some states want to sue the government, which is trying to protect the bird under the Endangered Species Act. The protected Gunnison sage-grouse is only found in southwestern Colorado and southeastern Utah, but officials might expand the protection to include the greater sage-grouse that is found in 11 other states, which has people worried such protection could cost the states money and jobs.
This is sad: Mike Nichols, who directed such great movies as The Graduate, Working Girl, Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? and Silkwood passed away on Wednesday at 83. A director, writer, and performer for 60 years, Nichols is one of the few people who won an EGOT — that’s an Emmy, a Grammy, an Oscar, and a Tony. Some of the Broadway plays he directed include The Odd Couple, Death of a Salesman, Barefoot in the Park, and Spamalot. People who only know him from the movies and stage should also check out the work he did with former comedy partner Elaine May.
Here’s an interview we did with him, Elizabeth Taylor, and Richard Burton on the set of Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? in 1965.
Oxford Dictionaries’ Word of the Year
Every year Oxford Dictionaries picks a Word of the Year, and most times we scratch our chins in confusion because it’s a word none of us use (nor is it used by anyone we know). Guess what this year’s word is? If you chose “vape” you win … nothing.
For the record, vape can be used as a noun meaning an electronic cigarette, or as a verb meaning to inhale or exhale the vapor an e-cigarette gives off.
I guess it could have been worse. Some of the other words considered for the title were “bae,” “normcore,” and “budtender.” Those are actual words? Maybe I need to get out more (though in my defense none of these words were recognized by my spellchecker and probably never will be).
By the way, the 2013 Word of the Year was “selfie.” Sigh.
Newspaper Asks Journalists to Deliver the Newspaper
Times are tough in the newspaper biz, but this tough? The Orange County Register is asking reporters to not only write the stories in the paper but also deliver the papers to homes. But hey, they’ll get a gift card!
The paper is also asking reporters to return phone calls from customers who didn’t get their delivery.
Maybe this is the new direction journalism is headed. Reporters not only research and write stories, they’ll also have to deliver the paper, return phone calls from subscribers, sweep the newsroom floor, and clean the toilets in the building’s bathrooms. Publishers better be careful though, or reporters might quit when they realize that sweeping floors and cleaning bathrooms pays better.
Facebook Working on Another Facebook
We can all agree that Facebook is a time-suck, right? You probably spend way too much of your day on the site, posting pictures of your dinner or viewing pictures of other people’s dinners or playing games or commenting on friends’ post. And you probably do it at work, right?
Now Facebook is testing a Facebook for work. As Jimmy Kimmel said earlier this week, there’s already a Facebook for work. It’s called Facebook. But this will actually be a competitor to career sites like LinkedIn and Monster. It would be a completely different site, separate from Facebook itself.
Either way it sounds like a distraction, and the worst kind: Now you’ll be able to justify staying on the site by saying “Hey, it’s for work!”
TCM Screens Miracle on 34th Street Outside of Macy’s in NYC
If you were in New York City yesterday, down near Macy’s at Herald Square Plaza, you could have watched the original Miracle on 34th Street on the big screen. The department store — featured prominently in the film — got together with Turner Classic Movies and ran an all-day marathon on a big screen starting at 8:15 a.m.. Sounds like a fun (if cold) time.
If you missed the screenings yesterday, don’t worry; it will be shown on television many times in the next month (though, oddly, not on TCM!).
New Peanuts Animated 3-D Movie Coming
Next year is the 50th anniversary of the classic holiday TV special A Charlie Brown Christmas, and if you’ve been wanting a new Peanuts special, you’re in luck. Peanuts, an animated 3-D feature film, will be released next November. Here’s the trailer:
The animation is a little jarring at first, especially for those brought up on the various TV specials. But if the story works and has heart and laughs, it could work. It’s co-written by Charles Schulz’s son Craig and grandson Bryan.
Here are some of our favorite recipes for you to try next week:
Happy Turkey (or Whatever-You-Eat) Day from everyone at The Saturday Evening Post!