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Christiane Chronicles

The Christiane Chronicles: America, home of the unfinished plate

Christiane Lauterbach is embarrassed by the amount of food she sees sent back to the kitchen. "In some respects, I’m still not a wasteful American. I eat the tails of my shrimp. I chew on chicken bones until they are perfectly clean of cartilage. And still, the amount of food I leave behind in restaurants makes me feel like a criminal. I secretly hope that some rodent will enjoy whatever ends up in the dumpster."
Christiane Chronicles

The Christiane Chronicles: The delightful wonder that is Decatur’s First Oriental Market

First Oriental Market was established in 1984 by Diane Bounngaseng and her family in a ramshackle building plopped in Decatur. It is more than a place to grab some Chinese eggplants. It is always an adventure.
Christiane Chronicles

The Christiane Chronicles: Stop cooking my vegetables to death

The best carrot I ever ate wasn’t charred, blistered, sous-vided, dusted with ashes, or suffering any of the indignities chefs now routinely submit our vegetables to. The best carrot I ever ate came right out of the ground.
Christiane Chronicles

The Christiane Chronicles: Homemade butter, begone!

Why are chefs milling their own flour, fermenting yogurt, and churning butter as if they lived in a little house on the prairie? Butter is easy to make—but hard to make well. Chefs shouldn’t waste their energy playing dairymaid.
Christiane Chronicles

The Christiane Chronicles: Atlanta is awash with too many ridiculous cocktails

I can probably name 15 Atlanta bartenders who can create and pour artisanal cocktails worth drinking. But no more. Plus: The restaurant you should recommend to your out-of-town friends seeking Southern fare is Kevin Gillespie’s Revival.
Illustration by Zohar Lazar

The Christiane Chronicles: A love-hate relationship with barstools and a healthy appreciation for gravy

It doesn’t matter if there’s an upholstered seat on your farm-style or artsy modern stools; I need something with armrests and a comfortable back. Plus, my favorite kinds of gravy and where to indulge on them in Atlanta.
Christiane Chronicles

The Christiane Chronicles: The case against laminated menus—and why Salt Bae is my soulmate

People sneeze on laminated menus. They handle them with greasy paws. What I want on my table is a clean sheet of paper (no need for fancy stock) printed fresh every day. Plus: why I'm in love with finishing salts.
Christiane Chronicles

The Christiane Chronicles: Some people watch ballet. I admire the Dance of the Short-Order Cook.

Some people have season tickets to the ballet; others follow sports. The spectacle I’m addicted to, every bit as physical in its own way but more quotidian, is the artistry of the short-order cook.
Christiane Chronicles

The Christiane Chronicles: Why all restaurants should come with a service button

I hate hovering servers, but I also don’t want to be completely ignored. One easy way to negotiate the right level of service is the buzzer common in Korean restaurants. Picture a red button mounted next to your table. Push it, and a server materializes, ready to turn down the flame below your sizzling meat, refill your kimchi bowl, or bring you more barley tea.
Christiane Chronicles

The Christiane Chronicles: Enough with the monster-sized pastries

I have lived in the United States for decades, but the monumental size of everything still shocks me. The Frenchwoman in me yearns for reasonable dimensions: skinny baguettes rather than ones as fat as my arm; one-bite chocolate bonbons making up in intensity what they lack in bulk.

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