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Author: Kristen Iskandrian

Eat | Read with Brian Connell

What can I say about this person I’ve loved since I was 17? He is really fun to eat with and he is an incredibly empathetic and clear-eyed reader.  -KI Eat: Since moving to the south from Philadelphia in 2002, I’ve made countless failed attempts to find a decent cheesesteak. I’ve never understood the psycho-culinary mechanism that makes people outside of Philly get cheesesteaks so consistently wrong, but it’s undeniable and I’ve come to expect it. Still, like a true Rocky fan, I have the gift of hope, so when I see the words “Philly Cheesesteak” on a menu,...

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Eat | Read with Sabrina Orah Mark

In my mind I refer to Sabrina Orah Mark as Sabrina Oracle Mark because, well. Her work to me is like the hybrid of ancient past and mythical future, uttered by primordial mouth and echoed out of the most sublime conch you’ve never seen. I’m just saying, if I were heading the search committee tasked with finding the soul who could best rewrite the Bible, I would disband that committee and beg Sabrina to do it. In her poetry and fiction there are jokes, and there is dying, and in the space created there, if you are listening, you will also find instructions for how best to survive the terrors of love. This week, she tells us about some of her favorite things. -KI Eat: I eat the old lady candy. Of this licorice mix, my favorites are the ones with the rainbow seeds. The red, black, and white buttons come next. Then the black jellybeans. This candy is serious, if not a bit morose. It is the kind of candy you might find in the desk of your rabbi. My only anxiety is the Good & Plenty who are too thin. What are they doing here? They’d be better off as ear bones, or even better as the skinniest brothers ever, or even better as three skinny brothers named Malleus, Incus and Stapes. I pick them out. What is candy?...

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Drink | Listen with Steven Grubbs

A few years back, for a period of time, Steve and I would sit across a table from one another at an Athens coffeeshop and work on our respective projects (and eavesdrop/try not to look like we were eavesdropping). I was writing fiction; Steve was writing smart and funny essays about food and culture, or maybe his hypnotic liner notes to the wine list at Empire State South, or maybe an irresistible new song for his band, Little Francis. I’m so pleased he agreed to put his own spin on Eat | Read this week. –KI   Today I’m eating...

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Eat | Read with James Delafield

Unofficially, it’s Whipped Cream Week here on Real Pants. Earlier this week, Molly Brodak gave us her excellent Whipped Cream Treatise, along with a very compelling recipe, and today, my friend James Delafield offers another approach to whipped cream, and a kind of paean to vanilla, which is his area of expertise. About a year ago, I attempted to make my own vanilla, using various recipes from the web, and the result was just short of disastrous. There and then, I vowed never to DIY-V again, and with James and his company in the world, I’ll hopefully never have...

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Eat | Read with Kristen Iskandrian

Eat: Most of us toil under the steady compulsion that our actions and experiences are imbued with meaning. We talk about meaning, try to extract meaning, invent meaning, often as a way to understand, or cope, or feel significant. But sometimes, I like to try flicking my switch, sort of like the Airplane Mode of being a human, so that I’m still on, but not actually making connections. I’m not good at this, but I feel it’s important to try, to try exposing the things in my mind without commenting on them or doing meaning to them. My heart is a permanent mess...

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Eat | Read with Kristen Iskandrian

Eat: It turns out Good Friday has its very own food: hot cross buns, which allegedly originated in medieval England. They seem like a kind of cousin to panettone, enjoyed throughout much of Europe during the Christmas season. Hot cross buns bear the cross, in icing, across their tops, and then there’s the fact that they are a kind of yeast roll—so the whole rising thing is covered, too. Hot cross buns fall into the genre of baked goods that’s probably my favorite: more bread than cake, but with enough sugar to distinguish it from something you’d put mustard on; iced...

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Eat | Read with Kristen Iskandrian

What I’ve been eating:  It’s like “enough with the soup, Kristen!”, but the best thing I ate this week was homemade Tom Kha Gai soup, a riff on a Cook Smarts recipe (great meal plan subscription service, btw). I never do not feel like eating Thai food, and this is the first Thai dish I’ve made that actually tastes (granted, my Thai food credentials are probably dubious) authentic—possibly better than takeout. You start with some neutral oil in a pot, then add lemongrass, ginger, and garlic, followed by chopped up chicken that has been briefly marinated in fish sauce, and when the...

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Eat | Read with Guy Fieri

What I’ve been eating: A selection from the week: SATURDAY: Saturdays are for pancakes. Had mine topped with two pork chops, tater tots, pimiento cheese, four slices of deli ham, & then another pork chop on top. At my house we melt a stick of butter into a bowl of syrup—we call it the Dunkbowl™—so we can dip every bite. Flavor madness. There’s breakfast and then there’s wreckfast, you dig? SUNDAY: Slept late, ate 3-Burger Casserole. The casserole part is my mouth with three burgers shoved into it. You heard of a protein bar? Keep it, brother. This is a Protein Obelisk. MONDAY: Hit the gym, came back and refueled with what I like to call the Can-Can—one can Vienna sausage, one can sweetened condensed milk, chugged back to back. TUESDAY: Pork tacos topped with porksauce, garlic mayo, green onions, and sweetened condensed milk. I do a homemade shell made of Fritos, Doritos, and Tostitos—the Holy -Ito Trinity—ground up, mixed into a batter, and baked inside these taco molds shaped like my hair that I got as a gift from Kid Rock. Hey Bill Gates: call me up, cuz these tacos stole all your money. WEDNESDAY: Went to the hospital to give blood. And by “hospital,” I mean “bar,” and by “give blood,” I mean “eat bacon and drink margs” with Man Pebble. That’s my nickname for Kid. We had a noogie contest....

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Eat | Read with Kristen Iskandrian

What I’ve been eating: Honestly, the best thing I ate this week was the fried chicken I picked up at Publix last night in the waning ice storm. Schools were closed yesterday, so all of us were home, and Brian took the girls to see that movie about Paddington, quite possibly called Paddington, and I stayed put to work and organize our tax stuff. I ate a real breakfast but otherwise nibbled absentmindedly for the rest of the day, and before we knew it, it was 5pm. I recommend visiting Publix during an Alabama (read: not very serious) ice storm. There...

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Eat | Read with Kristen Iskandrian

What I’ve been eating: If I ever wrote a cookbook, I’d want it to have two sections: Food That You Eat Alone and Food That You Eat Together. In the latter category would be the expected items: pancakes, popular Mexican entrées (tacos, fajitas), roasted meats, pasta, many desserts, and picnic foods. The former section would include bananas and be a cross between an index, a manifesto, and a Joel Osteen-type affirmation along the lines of You’re Not Weird If You Prefer Eating By Yourself In Front Of Your Computer. The communal meal is stressful to many, for any number of reasons, and while...

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Eat | Read with Edward Mullany & Janice Shapiro

What we’ve been eating, Edward: I bought this packet of potato chips a few days ago, at the grocery store across the street from the building in which I live. While I was in there, in the store, waiting at the checkout while the girl who worked the register scanned the barcodes of the items I’d placed on the belt that brought the items toward her, I saw outside, where it was snowing, a dog whose owner I knew by sight, but not by name, barking at another dog—one that, with its own owner, was passing close to the...

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Eat | Read with Kristen Iskandrian

What I’ve been eating: The short answer is pasta. The longer answer has to do with neighbors, and being in an actual neighborhood at this point in my life. I lived on a cul-de-sac growing up and the street was devoid of viable playmates for most of my childhood. There was one boy, but he didn’t work out. Later, there were younger kids, whom I babysat. When I was eight or nine, a family moved into a house adjacent to mine, but not on my street—we got to one another’s houses by clearing a path in the woods that separated my backyard...

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Eat | Read with Kristen Iskandrian

In this space, we’re going to tell you what we’ve been reading and what we’ve been eating, and we’re going to ask other people what they’ve been reading and eating, and we might, from time to time, include a recipe or a meditation or a grocery list. On most days, the only thing I like more than food is books, and on other days, the only thing I like more than books is food. But on all days, I ingest a lot of words and a lot of calories. We at Real Pants are eager to explore the wide...

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Eat | Read with Kristen Iskandrian feat. John Dermot Woods

In this space, we’re going to tell you what we’ve been reading and what we’ve been eating, and we’re going to ask other people what they’ve been reading and eating, and we might, from time to time, include a recipe or a meditation or a grocery list. On most days, the only thing I like more than food is books, and on other days, the only thing I like more than books is food. But on all days, I ingest a lot of words and a lot of calories. We at Real Pants are eager to explore the wide...

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Eat | Read with Kristen Iskandrian & Amy McDaniel

In this space, we’re going to tell you what we’ve been reading and what we’ve been eating, and we’re going to ask other people what they’ve been reading and eating, and we might, from time to time, include a recipe or a meditation or a grocery list. On most days, the only thing I like more than food is books, and on other days, the only thing I like more than books is food. But on all days, I ingest a lot of words and a lot of calories. We at Real Pants are eager to explore the wide...

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Eat | Read with Kristen Iskandrian & Sarah Jean Alexander

In this space, we’re going to tell you what we’ve been reading and what we’ve been eating, and we’re going to ask other people what they’ve been reading and eating, and we might, from time to time, include a recipe or a meditation or a grocery list. On most days, the only thing I like more than food is books, and on other days, the only thing I like more than books is food. But on all days, I ingest a lot of words and a lot of calories. We at Real Pants are eager to explore the wide...

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Eat | Read with Kristen Iskandrian & John Dermot Woods

In this space, we’re going to tell you what we’ve been reading and what we’ve been eating, and we’re going to ask other people what they’ve been reading and eating, and we might, from time to time, include a recipe or a meditation or a grocery list. On most days, the only thing I like more than food is books, and on other days, the only thing I like more than books is food. But on all days, I ingest a lot of words and a lot of calories. We at Real Pants are eager to explore the wide...

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