Sunday, June 30, 2013

Re-cap: Elissa Altman

Elissa Altman, founder and author of and 2012 James Beard Award winner for Best Individual Blog, recently stopped by Sixth and I to discuss her latest book. 

Poor Man's Feast centers around finding sustenance and peace in a world full of excess and during the hour long discussion with The Washington Posts' Joe Yonan, Altman explained how a poor man's feast is rich in good, clean healthy food, noting that she is far happier eating a perfectly poached egg on toast at home over a pomegranate-glazed foie gras Napoleon. What type of good, clean, healthy food should one include in a feast? During the Q&A portion of the event, an audience question prompted Altman to reveal that her must have ingredients are extra virgin olive oil, garlic, shallots, red wine vinegar,  parmigiano-reggiano, eggs, cheese and bread (Altman noted that it is worth splurging on good cheese and bread). What types of food should one exclude in their feast? Anything that requires a trademark! (Vegetarians and vegans can eat well without the use of Tofurky).

In addition to giving suggestions for what items to include in your pantry, Altman continuously stressed the importance of daily cooking, expressing concern for people who do not know how to boil an egg, or roast a chicken. Even after a 5 hour commute, Altman will not retire to bed before she has cooked a homemade meal and shared that on the rare occasion where she does not feel like cooking, she knows  that something is not right, and she will take time to reflect on her life to determine if she is moving too fast, or possibly not spending enough time with friends. Not having enough time to cook usually means it's time to slow down.

Immediately following the discussion and Q and A period, Altman signed copies of Poor Man's Feast, Altman's memoir that interweaves 27 recipes between stories of love, comfort, desire and the art of simple cooking. When asked if she thinks cookbooks can outlasts the easy online access to an unlimited amount of recipes, Altman expressed her belief that the online availability of recipes only raises the bar of the quality of printed cookbooks, making them that much better. To get your hands on your own printed copy of the book,  visit

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