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Secret FOOD52er Nora Ephron

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Nora Ephron

On Tuesday, we lost our good friend, the writer, director, and cook Nora Ephron. Like you, we want to gather and grieve, and to celebrate her life and career, her sharp humor, and her love of a good meal. (To say nothing of her searing scrutiny of a bad one.)

First, we'd like to share a recipe of hers that may look familiar: Sweet Potatoes Anna with Prunes -- it's the best Thanksgiving side we know. Ephron took on the nom de plume mrsp on FOOD52, and seemed to get a kick out of her anonymous, lasting contribution to the community. She also shared her recipe for the World's Greatest Chili, and was intensely annoyed that it wasn't named a finalist or even a community pick in the chili contest. It's tough love here at FOOD52.

The Internet is now awash in Ephronisms on fashion, aging, ambition, and life. But food was one of her very favorite topics -- a valedictory list of things she'd miss when she was gone ended with "Pie" -- and we've gathered some of our favorite of her culinary observations below. We hope you'll share your favorites in the comments:

From I Feel Bad About My Neck, her memoir about aging:

On how she learned to cook: I cooked every single recipe in Michael Field's book and at least half the recipes in the first Julia, and as I cooked, I had imaginary conversations with them both. Julia was nicer and more forgiving -- she was by then on television and famous for dropping food, picking it up, and throwing it right back into the pan.

From Wallflower at the Orgy -- this quote is from her essay "The Food Establishment" which, in the words of the New York Times' Pete Wells, "predicted this food world we are marinating in now":

Before long, American men and women were cooking along with Julia Child, subscribing to the Shallot-of-the-Month Club, and learning to mince garlic instead of pushing it through a press. Cheeses, herbs, and spices that had formerly been available only in Bloomingdale's delicacy department cropped up around New York, then around the country.

From I Remember Nothing, her last memoir:

On egg-white omelettes: You don't make an omelette by taking out the yolks. You make one by putting additional yolks in. A really great omelette has two whole eggs and one extra yolk, and by the way, the same goes for scrambled eggs.

From Heartburn, her drawn-from-life novel that was made into a film starring Meryl Streep and Jack Nicholson:

Every so often I would look at my women friends who were happily married and didn't cook, and I would always find myself wondering how they did it. Would anyone love me if I couldn't cook? I always thought cooking was part of the package: Step right up, it's Rachel Samstat, she's bright, she's funny, and she can cook!

I look out the window and I see the lights and the skyline and the people on the street rushing around looking for action, love, and the world’s greatest chocolate chip cookie, and my heart does a little dance.

From "What to Expect When You’re Expecting Dinner", The New York Times, 2006:

The pepper shaker contained ground black pepper, which was outlawed in the 1960’s and replaced by the Permanent Floating Pepper Mill and the Permanent Floating Pepper Mill refrain: “Would you like some fresh ground black pepper on your salad?” I’ve noticed that almost no one wants some fresh ground black pepper on his salad.

I resent that asking for salt makes me seem aggressive toward the chef, when in fact it’s the other way around.

From "Serial Monogamy", The New Yorker, 2006:

This was right around the time that arugula was discovered, which was followed by endive, which was followed by radicchio, which was followed by frisee, which was followed by the three M's -- mesclun, mache, and microgreens -- and that, in a nutshell, is the history of the past forty years from the point of view of lettuce. But I'm getting ahead of the story.

My mother didn't serve Yorkshire pudding, although there is a recipe for it on page 61 of "The Gourmet Cookbook." My mother served potato pancakes instead. I serve Yorkshire pudding and potato pancakes. Why not? You only live once.

From "Can You Eat in Bed?", Interview with Maureen Dowd, The New York Times, 2009:

Q: Do you consider any food a romantic deal-breaker?
A: I respect vegetarians, but I could never fall in love with one.