New York Times writers Julia Moskin and Kim Severson were all of the former, until Times restaurant critic Frank Bruni challenged them to go head-to-head in a culinary duel — a battle for dinner dominance that turned them into kitchen combatants.
Armed with only $50 each, Bruni dared them to prepare a full meal for six, a showdown which he would judge for the newspaper. The thrill of battle proved too exhilarating to resist, and that initial clash turned into a yearlong kitchen war as Moskin and Severson faced off to tackle the most vexing kitchen predicaments, from how best to console friends in need through old-fashioned home cooking to conjuring kids’ food that keeps both parents and children happy at a party.
CookFight is the delicious result of their brinksmanship, a chronicle of their skirmishes over the course of 12 months and a look at how two very different people — best friends from wildly divergent backgrounds — approach the kitchen.
In each heartfelt and hilarious chapter, Severson and Moskin confront a new “challenge” — those quandaries all home cooks deliberate, from how to strategize a dinner party (the Fancy Food Challenge) to how to eat more seasonally and locally (the Farmers’ Market Challenge). Every recipe, from Julia’s Caramelized Corn with Mint to Kim’s Carnitas, is a delectable testament to their creativity and savvy. Only the reader will be able to call the winner.
Related article: Kitchen throwdown
A father’s legacy
The vegetarian-cooking pioneer
Barbecue, tamales, cocktails, and more
Good on everything