August 15

It’s a little-known fact, but meal planning is made so much easier when friends call up and offer to bring you a dozen soft-shell crabs and help you eat them.

Normally I flour and fry crabs and make tartar sauce, because that’s how Milo loves them and it’s hard to argue with the merits of that preparation. But this time around I had a hankering for Malaysian flavors, and a quick rummage in the fridge produced everything I needed to make a convincing, if utterly inauthentic, facsimile.

Read MoreNebulous Crab

August 14

August means that the good stuff starts showing up in quantity out in the garden. It’s the season for all the shiny tomatoes and peppers, and fat potatoes, and glossy eggplants in white, lavender, and midnight purple. The basil is rocketing skyward. Even in this year of half-assed planting and rodent ravage, there’s still a ton of food out there. It makes dinner so effortless.

Read MoreMarmiquacko

August 13

The heavy, humid heat has made me eager for fall to arrive. I do not love the jungly mugginess. So when it broke the other day, I was eager to fire up the oven and make pizza.

Read MoreGluteny On The Bounty

August 8

Pulled pork takes time. The essence of great barbecue is a long, slow smoking that infuses the meat with deep flavors from both the smoke and the spice rub, and then sets it off with an unctuous swaddle of tangy, sweet, spicy sauce (whatever type you swear by; I’m not getting into a fight about it). But it can’t be hurried.

Except that it can. I’m not saying it’s every bit as good as the slow version, but it’s damn good nonetheless. And you can make it in two hours if you have to.

Read MoreMore Pork, Less Work

August 6

When it’s hot, it’s hard to cook. But the cravings of children (besides ice cream, that is) rarely correlate with the ambient temperature. So it was that I ended up cooking the other night, albeit as little as possible.

Read MoreI Believe I Can Fry

August 2
August 1

I smoked a couple of chickens yesterday, and as I was prepping them (pulling the necks and organs out, salting them) Milo walked over and pointed to the offal.

“Ew. What’s all that?”

I explained.

“Is it edible?”

“Of course,” I said. “You love chicken liver pâté and we had beef heart tacos a while ago.”

“Oh yeah. Can I eat these hearts?”

“Of course you can.”

Read MoreTastes Like Chicken