Testing Stovetop Kettles
Stovetop kettles are simple vessels for heating water. But anyone who’s had a bad one knows how irritating they can be. Poor kettles are apt to whistle too faintly or painfully loudly, rattle and clank on the burner, and be too cumbersome to hoist—or, conversely, too tiny to make a full-size pot of tea. Their handles can get too hot, they can make a splashy mess when pouring, and they can send steam up to scorch your hand. They rust or dent and get grungy living on the stove, where they’re on display for all to see. Still, we had faith that there were good, functional, durable kettles out there—we just had to find them.
French Butter Cake
by Steve Dunn
I first encountered gâteau Breton years ago while living in France, and I was smitten from my first bite. As its name implies, the cake hails from the Brittany region of France, which lies on the western edge of the country, abutting the Atlantic Ocean. It’s a simple yet pretty cake, rich in butter, with a dense, tender crumb that falls somewhere between shortbread cookies and pound cake. Its firm structure allows the cake to be cut into thin wedges for nibbling with an afternoon cup of tea, but in my experience, a portion so small is never enough.
Pasta e Ceci (Pasta with Chickpeas)
Our pasta e ceci is simple to prepare, yet packed full of satisfying flavor. We cook chickpeas and ditalini in the same pot to blend the dish, using the starch released by the pasta to create a silky, stick-to-your-ribs texture. Before adding the pasta, we simmer the chickpeas to give them a creamy softness. We build flavor (without adding a distracting texture) by using a finely minced soffritto of onions, garlic, carrot, celery, and pancetta, an addition that gives the dish a meaty backbone. And we achieve depth of flavor by adding anchovies, tomatoes, and Parmesan cheese.
The Great Parm Debate
by Hannah Crowley
There’s a heated debate raging in the cheese world. On one side, Parmigiano-Reggiano, the so-called king of cheese. Complex, with fruity, nutty, savory notes; a dry, crumbly texture; and a crystalline crunch, this cheese has been made in precisely the same way in northern Italy for the past 800 years. Its adversary? Imitators like Parmesan, Parmezan, Regginito—takes on the classic made under varying regulations in the United States and around the world. Do the imitators actually rival the real thing, or are their knockoff names where the similarity ends?