Buy Clotilde’s latest book, The French Market Cookbook!

The fall is near, students are going off to college, and young adults are moving into their first apartment.
Outfitting a kitchen for the first time can be daunting: there’s so much stuff available in cookware stores, what does one really need?
I have put together a selection of (what I consider to be) kitchen essentials for beginner cooks, allowing them to spread their wings and begin their cooking life on a solid foundation.
You will notice that I did not select the cheapest option for each item, but rather I picked models that will last a lifetime.
Certainly each cook will have to adapt the selection to their financial constraints and see what they can afford. But if you’re the parent, the big sister, or the older friend who wants to get them something nice as a housewarming present, this is what I would wholeheartedly recommend.
You’ll be giving them the gift of learning to cook with equipment they can trust, and these are pieces they’ll take with them from one apartment to the next.
They’ll hold that saucepan in their hand for decades, remembering the pasta days of their youth.
For the experienced cooks among you: is there anything you would add to my list? If you had to start again from an empty kitchen, what would you get?

The Essentials

Paring Knife

For cutting out of hand and peeling; I like an 4 1/2-inch blade.

Couteau de chef

For slicing and chopping; I recommend an 8-inch blade.

Cutting Board

Bamboo is pleasant to slice on, and doesn’t damage blades. This model can also be used to carve meats. I recommend a large size because it’s much more comfortable to work on.

Combo of spatula, scraper, and spreader

The best-selling kit from Earlywood, gorgeous and cleverly designed. (The spreader is not a requirement, but it’s super nifty.)

Large Saucepan with Lid

I like cast aluminum or stainless steel, and a glass lid.

Small Saucepan with Lid

To complement the big one: reheat small quantities, boil eggs…

Large Skillet with Lid

Don’t get one with a nonstick coating; they are not built to last.

Large Baking Dish

For roasting meats and vegetables, and baking casseroles, gratins, crumbles, etc.


For washing vegetables, and straining pasta and grains.

Salad Spinner

Nothing worse than soggy salad leaves: you want to dry them well!

Box Grater

For grating cheese and vegetables, with a comfortable handle.

Vegetable Peeler

To peel vegetables, yes, but also to slice vegetables into tagliatelle and pappardelle.

Baking Sheet and Cooling Rack

For roasting vegetables and meat or fish. Don’t get one with a nonstick coating; they are not built to last.

Nesting Glass Containers

For storing prepped ingredients and leftovers. The large one doubles up as a salad bowl.

Mixing Bowl

For mixing ingredients; I recommend you get the matching lid so it can be used to store ingredients and leftovers.

Digital Scale

More and more recipes use weight measurements, to much more accurate results.

Measuring Cups

For those recipes that still use volume measurements!

Measuring Spoons

For measuring small quantities of condiments, spices, etc.

Nice to Have

Instant Pot

The appliance that rules them all: a slow-cooker, a steamer, a rice cooker, and a pressure cooker. In a kitchen with a tiny cooking range or no oven, this is ideal.

Bread Knife

To slice bread without a fight, and also quick breads and tomatoes!

Immersion Blender and Mixer Combo

Super handy to make smoothies and soups, whip egg whites, chop nuts, and mix dips and sauces.

See also:
• Minimalist Kit for the Traveling Cook
• Inside Earlywood
• Best Gifts for French-Loving Cooks
This post contains some affiliate links. This means that if you choose to make a purchase through them, I will receive a small commission, at no extra cost to you. All opinions expressed are my own. Thank you for your support of my work.
The post Minimalist Kit for the Beginner Cook appeared first on Chocolate

First Dates (Behind the Scenes)

We feature an illustration by the wonderful Mari Andrew every Friday morning. Here’s today’s.
P.S. The little things, and modern dating.… Read more
The post First Dates (Behind the Scenes) appeared first on A Cup of Jo.


Four Fun Things

Have you seen Jerry Before Seinfeld yet? In his Netflix stand-up special, Seinfeld pays tribute to his roots — his childhood years (he even visits the home he grew up in), the first jokes he ever told and the night his parents finally saw his routine.… Read more
The post Four Fun Things appeared first on A Cup of Jo.


StarSpace: Embed All The Things!

We present StarSpace, a general-purpose neural embedding model that can solve
a wide variety of problems: labeling tasks such as text classification, ranking
tasks such as information retrieval/web search, collaborative filtering-based
or content-based recommendation, embedding of multi-relational graphs, and
learning word, sentence or document level embeddings. In each case the model
works by embedding those entities comprised of discrete features and comparing
them against each other — learning similarities dependent on the task.
Empirical results on a number of tasks show that StarSpace is highly
competitive with existing methods, whilst also being generally applicable to
new cases where those methods are not.


Recent Articles of Interest

From SSRN:Rahman Apalara, Striking a Balance: Freedom of Expression and the Prohibition of Hate Speech and Offensive Remarks, (September 11, 2017).Nadia N. Sawicki, A Common Law Duty to Disclose Conscience-Based Limitations on Medical Practice, (Chapter 13 in Law, Religion, and Health in the United States (Lynch, Holly Fernandez, I. Glenn Cohen, and Elizabeth Sepper eds., 2017).Nomi Maya Stolzenberg, From Eternity to Here: In Search of the Origins of Secularism, (USC Legal Studies Research Papers Series No. 17-20 (2017)).Adam J. White, Justice Scalia’s Soulcraft as Statecraft, (June 15, 2017).Noa Ben-Asher, Faith-Based Emergency Powers, (Harvard Journal of Law and Gender, Forthcoming).Steven J. Heyman, The Light of Nature: John Locke, Natural Rights, and the Origins of American Religious Liberty, (Marquette Law Review, Forthcoming).Terri Lynn Helge, Rejecting Charity: Why the IRS Denies Tax Exemption to 501(C)(3) Applicants, (Pittsburgh Tax Review, Vol. 14, No. 1, 2016).From SSRN (Non-U.S. Law):Ming-Sung Kuo

In Paliotta v. State of Nevada ex rel Nevada Department of Corrections, (NV Sup. Ct., Sept. 14, 2017), the Nevada Supreme Court held that the trial court erred when it used the centrality test instead of the sincerely held belief test to decide if an inmate of the Thelemic faith was entitled to receive a kosher diet or a traditional Egyptian diet.In Brown v. Solomon, 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 150611 (WD NC, Sept. 15, 2017), a North Carolina federal district court allowed an inmate to move ahead with his efforts to reinstate separate religious services for Jehovah’s Witnesses.In Neely-Bey Tarik-El v. Conley, 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 151714 (SDIN, Sept. 19, 2017), an Indiana federal district court dismissed on qualified immunity grounds a suit by an inmate claiming that his rights were violated when prison authorities disciplined him for violating a resolution of the Moorish Science Temple of America prohibiting him from actively engaging in MSTA religious services.In Sabin v. Karber, 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 152476 (WD MI, Sept. 20, 2017), a Michigan federal district court dismissed complaints by a Messianic Christian prison ministry that mail it sent into prisons was being rejected.In Evans v. Lopez, 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 153274  (ED CA, Sept. 15, 2017), a California federal magistrate judge allowed an inmate to move ahead with his complaint that he was denied Ramadan meals that he had bee approved to receive.


In Telescope Media Group v. Lindsey, (D MN, Sept. 29, 2017), a Minnesota federal district court in a 63-page opinion rejected a challenge to a provision of the Minnesota Human Rights Act that requires plaintiffs, owners of a videography business that plans to offer wedding videos, to serve same-sex couples.  Responding to plaintiffs’ free speech arguments, the court said in part:Posting language on a website telling potential customers that a business will discriminate based on sexual orientation is part of the act of sexual orientation discrimination itself; as conduct carried out through language, this act is not protected by the First Amendment.Plaintiffs also argued that the law, as applied, unconstitutionally affects the content of their videos. However the court concluded:The MHRA’s application to the Larsens’ wedding video business, as a content neutral regulation of conduct with an incidental effect on speech, survives intermediate scrutiny.The court went on to reject plaintiffs’ free exercise challenge, finding that the law is neutral and of general applicability.


In words that will most surely never come back to haunt him, American Airlines CEO Doug Parker boldly declared this week that the U.S. airline industry is in such a solid place right now that he doesn’t see how it could ever end up in the red.
“I don’t think we’re ever going to lose money again,” Parker told investors at a media and investor day in Texas on Thursday. “I’ve said this for a long time; I believe it. We have an industry that’s gonna be profitable in good and bad times. We have an airline that’s going to be profitable in good and bad times.”
There are four remaining major airlines — American, United, Delta, and Southwest — that account for the vast majority of air travel in the U.S. Yet, all of these carriers, except for Southwest, have gone bankrupt at some point in the last 15 years, with American’s 2011 bankruptcy filing being the most recent.
Even these carriers’ biggest merger partners — U.S. Airways, Continental, Northwest — had all had to file for Chapter 11 protection at least once since 2002. U.S. Airways, which effectively took over American when the two carriers merged, went bankrupt in 2002 and then again in 2004.
And after the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks, which grounded all planes in the country and cast a pall over the entire industry, Congress approved a $15 billion bailout of the transportation industry, with around $10 billion going to keep these carriers from collapsing.
Beyond that, the airline industry is at the whims of weather, fuel prices, consumer demand, government regulation, and other factors. Just look at the network and software issues that have resulted in massive, system-wide outages for United, Delta, and Southwest, costing them hundreds of millions of dollars.
So why does Parker seem so convinced that it’s all smooth sailing from now on for his industry?
He points out that, combined, American and U.S. Airways netted a total of $1 billion in profit from 1978 through 2013, never cracking more than $3 billion a year in pre-tax revenue, and compares that to the last three years, during which the airline has averaged nearly $5 billion a year in pre-tax revenue.
According to Parker, the industry is in a “profoundly different” place than it was only a few years back, and all those concerns about hoping to just break even while vacillating between profitable years and money-losing years are “arguably irrelevant… that is not who we are anymore.”
The CEO did admit that his is a “cyclical business. There will be good and bad years.” But in his mind, he believes that having a “lesser” year would mean around $3 billion in profit, while “great” years would amount to around $7 billion in profit.
Whether or not the U.S. airline industry is truly locked into a profitable future remains to be seen, but the way carriers make money has certainly changed in recent years, with much of an airline’s revenue coming not from ticket sales but from ancillary fees and deals with credit card companies.
A recent report from the Government Accountability Office calculated that U.S. carriers are now making $7.1 billion per year on fees for checked bags and ticket changes.
With regarding to American Airlines, the Bureau of Transportation Statistics says the carrier brought in more than $1.1 billion in baggages fees in 2016, more than $200 million above any other airline’s bag fee revenue. AA has already earned nearly $600 million from these fees in the first half of 2017; again, more than any other airline.
American also leads the industry in change fee revenue, with nearly $900 million in 2016, and on track to improve on that mark in 2017.
So between just those two fees — and not counting any other add-ons a passenger might pay for — American is looking at north of $2 billion per year; about 40% of its average annual revenue since the U.S. Airways merger.
Then there are the deals that airlines make with banks and credit card companies for rewards miles. The carriers don’t just give those miles away for free; rather, they charge a few cents each, and those pennies add up with bigger banks buying billions of miles each month, to the point where some airlines may now be making more money from selling miles than they are from selling tickets. And while unused miles are technically an accounting liability for an airline, the money made from selling these miles in bulk is far more than the actual value of the mile when it’s ultimately cashed in.