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He churns out simultaneously traditional and inventive recipes each week like butter. His photos are top-notch -- and by "top-notch", we mean so good that even us jaded food media vets are left awestruck. Ex-restaurant chef, father of two, self-proclaimed "hobby farmer" and home cook extraordinaire -- in short, a Renaissance man for today's food world.
On food52, you know him as thirschfeld -- he's answering foodpickles, dropping thought-provoking essays into his recipe headnotes, and generally inspiring the lot of us. Tom Hirschfeld seems to pack 25 hours into a day and still wear the calm smile of the idyllic farmer. But, as Hirschfeld himself points out, there really is no such thing: "If you have ever spent much time around a farm, then you know first hand the romantic notions people project onto rural life are often dreamy and unrealistic." And so, Hirschfeld documents real life on the farm on his blog Bona Fide Farm Food, yet another fruit of this jack-of-all-trade's labors.
Hirschfeld's aim is to get back to the land and cook "the way our grandmothers and great-grandmothers may have on the farm. That farm may be in India, Mexico or France but the food there is made with just as much love as your grandmother's." Friends, this is bona fide food made with great ingredients (Hirschfeld grows and raises practically everything he cooks himself) prepared using good recipes and a healthy dose of integrity.
With photographs to rival, well, just about anybody, a visit to Bona Fide Farm Food's homepage feels a bit like a trip to the homestead itself. From Living High on the Hog (where this Charcutepaloozier documents his meaty progress) to the leafier spoils of The Garden Basket, the site is a direct reflection of its founder's personality and aesthetic that we've come to know and love on food52.
The recipes are the real deal too -- with precise and instructive directions, historical tidbits, and photographs that leave you jonesing for, say, Pan-fried Trout with Prosciutto, Pine Nuts and Crispy Sage, Pancetta-Wrapped Dove with Baby Turnips, and even the Southeastern Pennsylvania heart-stopper, Scrapple (see below, left, for the prettiest specimen we've ever seen).
We can't wait for more Contemplations from this world-class recipe wrangler and are duly inspired by his Chef du Jour section -- in fact, we'd posit that if David Chang and Alice Waters (two of his credited sources of inspiration) had a love child, it would be thirschfeld himself.