Ari's Top 5
We continue to work through the Independent Restaurant Coalition to get the RESTAURANTS Act passed in Congress. Independent restaurants, as you probably know, are closing their doors all over the country. The support that the bill would provide would go to keep jobs, pay farmers and fishermen, help local suppliers and communities to weather the hard months ahead. We are sending around an open letter, calling on Congressional leadership to pass the RESTAURANTS Act. If you would like to support the work consider signing this letter to Washington’s leaders. has more details. 
We have a responsibility for thinking about how to get started, how to move from here to there, how to take first and second steps, and how to involve those who need to be involved. These are important parts of an image of potentiality, for they serve as a bridge between present reality and future dream.
—Ron Lippitt

Another Look at Bottom-Line Change

Why a 5-step recipe for change management can change your organizational culture

What if I told you we had an organizational tool that gets better, longer lasting results than the old command-and-control approach? That it helps develop effective leadership skills across all levels of the organization. Encourages humility in everyone. Actively and systemically engages diverse perspectives in meaningful conversation. Cuts down on unpleasant surprise changes that can easily send front line staff spiraling. Pushes front line folks to start learning to lead rather than just giving their managers advice on how to do things better. Something that forces us as leaders to actively seek and then assimilate feedback from staff before we start shifting things around. What if this tool could help to take you to the next level of organizational development and meaningfully, if quietly, alter the cultural consciousness of your organization?
What if all that cost you only $15? No exaggeration. For $15, “Bottom-Line Change
®”—created both intellectually and aesthetically here at Zingerman’s and printed locally—can be yours. Now to be straight, after you purchase the pamphlet, you will still have work to do. The 15 bucks buys you the info, but you need to do the implementation. Still, if you’re willing to give up on a few old ways, alter some long-held but perhaps past-date beliefs, and leave behind a host of problems that most of us say we don’t want (but still covertly cling to), it could be the best 15 bucks you spend this year. And if you like to learn in a group setting with smart, hands-on instructors to help guide you, ZingTrain has the Bottom-Line Change (or BLC) class coming up early in the new year for $150.
At its most basic level, BLC is simply our recipe at Zingerman’s for leading and managing organizational change. It’s a recipe, not a Standard Operating Procedure, so in the same way that a good cook always needs to adjust his or her cooking to the ingredients and culinary issues at hand, so too the change leader will work with the 5 Steps to BLC to creatively fit the “local” situation. In that sense, it is—like all leadership—a craft, not a science. BLC is applicable for little changes like moving the spot where the coffee pots are kept, to big scary stuff like working out a radically new organizational vision. In times of urgency, you can use BLC quickly: “We need to put this in place by tonight.” Or it can be used slowly: "We’re considering changing our organizational direction pretty drastically and want to get everyone on board.” 
We formally began using Bottom-Line Change here back in the early 2000s. We learned and adapted it from the masterful teaching of Stas’ Kazmierski. Stas’ (pronounced “Stosh”) had led us through the visioning process back in 1994 when we wrote Zingerman’s 2009, and later helped us weave visioning into our everyday existences in the ZCoB. He taught us a ton about using consensus and shared a host of terrific tools for effective group dynamics. In 2000, Stas’ became a co-managing partner with Maggie at ZingTrain, until he retired in the fall of 2014. Sadly, Stas’ passed away in the spring of 2017. BLC is a big part of his legacy. 
A dozen years or so after we began using Bottom-Line Change here at Zingerman’s, Frederic Laloux wrote insightfully about “the organization of the future” in Reinventing Organizations. Laloux looks at the history of organizational styles over the centuries. He argues that each new advancement fits with a parallel advance in human consciousness. Laloux uses colors to mark a dozen historical shifts, from “red organizations”—tribal bands, Mafia groups, etc.—on up through “green organizations”—the caring-people focused, positive-culture-driven workplaces (Southwest Airlines, Ben & Jerry’s) from the progressive era in which we started Zingerman’s. The latest, and he says next level, is the “Teal” organization. I’m not here to tell you that Zingerman’s has “arrived” at Teal. We have much to do better. But, I can say that the three main characteristics of Laloux’s Teal organization clearly fit with what we are trying to do:

  1. Self-management
  2. Wholeness
  3. Evolutionary Process

I’ve just written about #2: Wholeness is embedded into what I wrote last week about Good Work. And #3: Mission Statements are a meaningful form of Evolutionary Purpose. It made sense today to take on the third of Laloux’s Teal triad this week: Self-Management. Which is what got me thinking, anew, about BLC. 
I know that when we write about self-directed management, the conversation will, in some mainstream quarters, elicit a rapid round of eye rolls. The obvious objections are some version of, “Sounds great, but how are you going to make it happen?” Or, “So, people just do what they want? Isn’t that chaos?” (Sometimes they cynically say, “That would be anarchy!” I smile.) The short answer is “No!” It’s not any of those things. “Self-management” actually needs better structures and systems and more meaningful checks and balances. In Secret #29 about my application of anarchism to business, the 11th Tenet (of 12) on the list is:


Workable Ways for Everyone to Modify and Self-Monitor Systems and Structures
We know . . . that people do their best work when their motivation and drive come from within . . . If you believe in people, then putting self-regulating systems in place and supporting those systems with sound leadership is the way to go. . . They’re not very hierarchical, but they are well structured and very clear. All are designed to give individuals here the chance to self-start and to make something special happen. . . . Open book finance is the most obvious—everyone knows the financial score, learns how to run a business, and participates in making it better. . . . Our Bottom-Line Change recipe allows anyone here to start a change.

Do you have to use BLC? Of course not! You don’t have to do anything (see my piece about “Free Choice”). But maybe it’s time to, as Laloux suggests, move to the next level. As Joost Minnaar and Pim de Morree write in Corporate Rebels, “We often live in the past, with structures and processes that were designed for a world that no longer exists.” When you put BLC to work well, along with other methods of self-management—open book management, LEAN, and open meetings are three that come quickly to mind here in the ZCoB—it can meaningfully alter the organizational culture. And the hearts and minds of the people in it. 
I put a list of 14 reasons to use BLC into the pamphlet (if you want the list ASAP, simply email me and I’ll send it your way). Right here, right now, though I want to focus on my belief that BLC is a beautiful way to help people learn to lead. By using it in that way, I believe, we have the power to help change lives. Lisa Schultz, longtime GM at the Roadhouse, and who’s poised to do even more in the ZCoB, led a BLC at the Roadhouse back in 2009. The change work was for a relatively tiny issue: changing our procedure to put bottles of pepper vinegar (to go with the braised collard greens) on the table. In the scheme of now nearly 39 years of Zingerman’s history, that project is a tiny dot in an ocean of organizational activity. For Lisa, though, it turned out to be a big turning point: “That's when I decided I was ready to move forward and work on myself both personally and professionally. Things like that helped me to build confidence and feel good about getting involved. I’m so glad I did, or I wouldn't be where I am today!” Small sparks can create big results. 
As the poet Irish John Quinn put it:

And sometimes
A mind will set
Our imagining afire
The idea here is to empower staff, to encourage them to act and to take leadership responsibility for their own ideas rather than remaining well-meaning, but passive, bystanders. To wit, while I was out running the other day and pondering this piece, I realized that part of what makes BLC so powerful is that it encourages us to “ban the box.” Not the “ban the box” on job applications (which I’m all for). I mean to ban the suggestion box. That might, I imagine, seem a strange thing for someone like me to say. But here’s what’s driving me: When a staff member has an idea, I don’t want them just to share it passively with their boss so that he or she can brilliantly pass judgement and give you $50 if we use the idea. Nice. But much too parental for my taste. Nor do I want to let people stand on the sidelines when they could—by using BLC in this case—become part of the meaningful action. Getting into the BLC game changed Lisa Schultz’s life, and there are others waiting to come in from the organizational cold as well.
If you follow this lead, you replace the suggestion box with BLC. In which case, it goes like this: Got an idea? Awesome! Let’s talk! I’m here to help. Do you know about Bottom-Line Change? No? Let me tell you about it (or give you the pamphlet to read, or you can go to our internal class). My work in this context is to coach you through the ups and downs, frustrations and challenges, success and struggles, that all leaders learn to work through. When we use BLC in this way, it teaches, encourages, and supports people not just to have ideas, but instead to take the initiative. 
Will everyone do that? No. Some may simply let the idea drop. Which isn’t ideal. But if they’re not ready to push and lead and advocate for their idea, then it’s done. (Certainly, if I love the idea more than they do, I can lead my own BLC too.) On the other hand, a better outcome is that they want to take things further. Then they begin by drafting the first two steps of BLC: 
  1. A list of compelling reasons why the change is a good idea. 
  2. A vision of what the change will be when it’s working down the road.  
Will either draft be perfect? Of course not. Neither would mine. That’s the point. BLC isn’t just about the actual change. It’s about humility—we all need help. It’s about inclusion—the process will force us to gather input from others. It’s about diversity—it asks us to include a wide range of people in the conversation. Which, as Laloux says, becomes a “conversation of possibility.”
Will every idea an employee proposes be automatically implemented? No! Often the decision about the proposed change (and there’s much, much more on this in the pamphlet) will reside elsewhere. Having the idea, in the BLC recipe, doesn’t necessarily mean you can just make the final call yourself. But the way we work, that’s also true for me. Anyone at Zingerman’s—boss or busboy, managing partner or part-time coffee maker—is going to need to get buy-in and over an appropriate period of time get the nod from those with whom the decision making authority resides. Will people feel frustrated if their idea doesn’t end up happening? More often than not, yes. But the resilience and persistence that comes from that part of the process is part of leadership learning.
I can’t overstate the importance of learning like this—to have the chance to take an idea, even a seemingly small one, and engage as an equal in meaningful leadership conversations. John O’Donohue says, “There are limitless possibilities within each one of us and, if we give ourselves any chance at all, it is unknown what we are capable of.” BLC used well—as per Lisa’s story above—can help make that happen! Once someone starts to lead, their energy shifts. They take a more positive and prominent role at work every day. They become more confident in a humble but meaningful way. That carries over into their presence out of work as well. 
While BLC fits into the frame of self-management, please understand that even if an employee initiates, the boss is not absent in this work. There’s nothing about BLC that implies abdication. As educator and author Dennis Bakke writes, “The importance and impact of moral leadership on the life and success of an organization have been greatly underappreciated.” With BLC, the leader’s role shifts in much the same way it does with open book management. Instead of holding all the power and making all the decisions, the effective leader here shifts to a coaching stance. As poet Gary Snyder says, “Just as you could not grow culture out of a population of kindergarten children . . . A community needs its elders to continue.” 
Does everyone just agree when a new idea comes out in this format draft? NO! No matter who starts the process—me or a front line staffer at the Creamery—the point is to engage the different perspectives and ideas in ways that slowly weave diverse perspectives into a resilient and beautiful tapestry. As O’Donohue writes, “All creativity comes out of that spark of opposition where two different things meet.” 
What if I want to lead a change? I need to use BLC too. Do I always like it? Not emotionally. I’m not any different than most folks—by the time I decide something is a good idea, I just want to announce the decision and get it done. (As Stas’ used to remind us, “We all like change when it’s our change.”) But staying true to the process prevents me from just forcing something through without appropriate engagement with others. It requires us to actually talk to each other. It requires us to respect diversity and actualize inclusion. When it works well, cool things come from the conversation. As O’Donohue says, “In true dialogue something truly other and unexpected emerges.” 

How does BLC help?

Here are some learnings from Zingerman’s staff members:

Bethany Zinger, Catering Manager at the Roadhouse, shares:
As someone who is a planner by nature I can get really protective over my ideas. Using the BLC process has highlighted for me how processes and ideas change to fit the needs of the people they affect. You can take an idea and with buy-in and input on every level you can end up someplace even better than where you started. BLC gives power to every employee, effectively creating and building leaders from the ground up.
Karen Shepard, who works at the Candy Manufactory, says:
The biggest and best thing I have learned about Bottom-Line Change is that you are going to have resistance ALWAYS. If it is not your idea, you are going to feel it and if it is your idea, you are going to get it. That makes it so much easier to listen to new ideas and put things out there. Be ready to listen and have numbers to back your ideas up. If you are reacting to someone trying to create change—realize your immediate resistance is always going to be there, recognize it, and move past it. It doesn't mean the idea is right, it just means you can view it with a clear lens. 
Grace Singleton, Co-Managing Partner at the Deli, says:
BLC allows time for any challenging issues to surface prior to the roll out. There are many times when changing something that I don't know the impact it will have on all the different departments. Rather than making the change and finding out it's a real problem for someone else's processes, that can all come to light before we roll it out and we can have a smoother and easier implementation.
Lindsay-Jean Hard, Marketing Manager at the Bakehouse (check out her book Cooking with Scraps)
I don't like BLC . . . I LOVE IT! In my case, I knew in my gut that shifting the Bakeshop e-news from 5x a week to once a week was the right move, but my gut isn't going to convince anyone else. Writing out a BLC forced me to come up with compelling reasons to make the shift—in the process I realized there were many more reasons to make the change than I originally thought there were. And, sharing that information with relevant parties ahead of time meant that everyone knew about the change and why it was happening. Thus, they were not only prepared for it, but also had time to share any concerns prior to actually making the switch.
My point here is to get you thinking. BLC is a seemingly small change. And yet, the quiet potential for meaningful change in the cultural consciousness of our organizations is significant. To show that there are practical, unglamorous, but really good ways to alter your organization. Anatole France said, “To accomplish great things we must not only act, but also dream; not only plan, but also believe.” BLC, I will say from years of experience, has the power to do all four. In the process, it can help us to change organizations and change lives. Like anything meaningful, it takes more work than painting positive slogans on your break room walls or giving quick awards to good employees. But if you’re willing to do that work, the benefits to your business, to you as a leader, and to all the leaders-in-the-making you already employ are huge. Positive energy always ensues. Because, as Roland Loup, Stas’ longtime colleague, wrote, “Ensuring that people always have a sense of meaning, hope and the ability to influence (power) the decisions that affect them ensures that the fire never dies.”

The “Bottom Line Change” pamphlet is available at the Deli, Coffee Company and Roadhouse and online at and

Change Awaits

P.S. They’re topics for another time, but BLC works well in non-business settings too. Try BLC in:

  • Classrooms (helping students learn to lead at an early stage rather than depend on—or be angry at—authority figures)
  • In your family (setting up new healthy boundaries, changing old patterns)
  • For personal change (quitting smoking, starting a new job, starting to work out, going sober)

Stas’ Pierogi Plate at The Roadhouse

Polish comfort food to warm your soul when the snow starts 


As you might have guessed from his last name, Stas’ was proudly Polish. In his honor, we named this platter of super tasty pierogi for Stas’. Regardless of background or BLC, they are a terrific way to eat dinner and keep ourselves warm as winter settles into our part of the world. 

For a bit of history, Polish colonists began arriving in North America in the late 16th century. Two of the early immigrants—Casimir Pulaski and Tadeusz Kościuszko—led Revolutionary War armies. Michigan (Stas’ grew up in Detroit) has the third largest Polish population in the U.S. (after Illinois and New York). Pierogi, in Polish, is a stuffed dumpling. The pierogi at the Roadhouse are made by a third-generation family business in Hamtramck, the center of Polish life in these parts. While they make a series of different fillings, we settled on a classic—the potato. It’s got a lovely texture and a terrific flavor. We lightly pan cook the pierogi in butter so the dough on the outside gets golden brown, which makes it a perfect foil for the soft, creamy potato filling. 
We serve the potato pierogi up with a pile of naturally-cured sauerkraut from the Brinery, a good bit of slow-cooked caramelized onions, and plenty of sour cream. It’s really a terrific lunch or dinner. It’s a great meatless meal—ideal for vegetarians, for Lent, or just for folks like me who don’t happen to eat a lot of meat. Of course, it also happens to be delicious if you ask us to toss in a bit of Nueske’s applewood smoked bacon.
I miss Stas’ wisdom, his silly sense of humor, his love, and the wonderful wealth of organizational tools he shared with us. It makes me smile through the sadness to know that we can honor him every time someone orders the pierogi!

Order up!
Quinta Luna Bottle of Olive Oil with a Moon Face

Quinta Luna—Excellent Umbrian Elixir in a Bottle

Terrific new olive oil from one of the least known provinces of Italy  

Although most American tourists pass it by en route to more famous destinations, there’s a beauty to Umbria that makes it particularly special to stop at. I fell in love with the quiet elegance of the ancient hilltowns ages ago. Away from the hustle and tourist bustle of the bigger cities, small enough to seem quaint, and cultured enough to have great eating and interesting things to experience. It’s the historical home of the color Umber, great wine, wonderful lentils, and fantastic beans. And some terrific olive oil. Like this new arrival from the Gaudenzi family in the town of Trevi. 
Beatrice Ughi, the importer who started and owns the firm Gustiamo and who has excellent taste, shared that: 

It’s been 15 years since we have chosen a new olive oil producer to join the Gusti family. Fifteen years. Why so long? Because we are dedicated to our olive farmers/millers. Part of the Gustiamo mission is to contribute to our farmers’ livelihoods. When we choose a new olive oil, we commit to the people who make it. We have been getting to know the Gaudenzi family for the past three years. We couldn’t be more delighted. The Gaudenzi family runs an honest and transparent olive oil production. Their trees are beautiful, their mill is technologically next level. Their oil has personality, balance, and is characterized by rare and exciting Umbrian local olive varieties. Notes of artichoke from the Moraiolo olive, complex herbs and tomatoes from the extremely rare San Felice and Borgiona varietals, sweetness from the Dolce Agogia cultivar.
The label on the oil is lovely, and bears the name Quinta Luna, a reference to the five moon cycles that take place between the flowering of the olive trees in the spring and the harvest in the fall. My friend and famous food writer Elizabeth Minchilli who’s spent near all of the last ten months in Umbria with her family (getting out of Rome) says, “We visited Gaudenzi last month, just as they had started pressing. Their oil is fantastic. They have the most advanced system I’ve seen in a while. Amazing.” 
The Gaudenzi family harvest very early—a month before most Umbrian farms—leading to lower yields, but more intense and more interesting flavors. Don’t miss the impressive aroma—put your nose up to the top of the bottle after you take the cap off and you’ll know immediately what I mean. Like Umbria itself the oil's flavor is sort of in the middle, but in the best possible ways. Modest but magical, engaging and elegant. It’s not the hard rock of the pronouncedly peppery oils of neighboring Tuscany, but neither is it the gentle acoustic folk music of the delicate oils of the Italian Riviera either. The oil is boldish but not too big. Slightly buttery, but not too much so. Calming and comforting. Clean and lovely. Slightly sweet. Artichoke. Almond. Green tomato. A long finish. 
The Quinta Luna oil is lovely on fish. Awesome on an arugula salad. Really good with steamed Romanesco or drizzled over sautéed local spinach or mushrooms. Superb on roasted sweet potatoes. The Quinta Luna would be wonderful on that fall salad I love so much—chopped celery, Belgian endive, chips of Parmigiano Reggiano, and walnuts dressed with olive oil. (Email me and I’ll send you the write up.) Or simply pour some onto just-cooked pasta (we have so many good ones in stock right now—Mancini, Martelli, Rustichella, Gentile, Faella—all are excellent. It’s terrific for bruschetta, poured (liberally) onto toasted Paesano bread. 
Zingerman's Deli Local Pickup
P.S. You won’t see Quinta Luna on the site, but if you want us to ship you some, simply write to or call us at 888-636-8162.

Tumbleweed Cheese at the Cream Top Shop

A great new arrival from upstate New York
When this new arrival showed up at the Cream Top Shop a few weeks ago, I bought a small bit just to try it. I knew the name but hadn’t tasted it in ages. I liked it a lot, so much so that I went back to check myself—I like to make doubly sure that something new like this is really as good as I thought it was on the first taste experience. I actually liked it even better. I’m now on purchase #3 and I’m higher on it than ever. It’s a terrifically flavorful cheese, one that I could be eating regularly for many months and years to come.
Alan Gustoff has a degree in food science and a long career in the corporate world. He left all that later in life to make 5 Spoke Creamery a reality. In essence, he left behind a good job to create the kind of "good work" that I wrote about last week. 5 Spoke Creamery, where the Tumbleweed is crafted, is located near the town of Goshen, about an hour’s drive out of New York City in the Hudson Valley. Alan, his wife Barbara, and their team have come to craft some terrific cheeses. And they’re doing it in all the right ways! Their passion, pursuit of excellence, and spirit of generosity are a joy to be connected with. It shows in the quality of the cheese. Made from raw milk of pasture raised Ayrshire cows. Working with a restored farm house that’s over a century old. They’ve converted to solar power (we just did the same at Mail Order). They’re working to rebuild the local bee population. If you want a really obscure and essentially irrelevant piece of trivia, co-founder Alan Gustoff’s sister went to Camp Ramah in Wisconsin with my sister. While for me it’s all about the flavor, my sister in Chicago, I know, will be happy to know that the cheese is kosher. Maybe I’ll send her a piece for Chanukah! 
The folks at 5 Spoke Creamery created Tumbleweed by crossing a French Cantal with an English cheddar and ended up with this awesome American original. The aroma is amazing—butter and fresh cream—and the flavor follows suit. Warm, cheddary, but with a light liveliness that’s unique to Tumbleweed. What we have in stock right now is aged for about a year. It’s got a lovely long finish and a bit of the crystallization of the amino acids that makes great aged goudas or Parmigiano Reggiano so powerfully good. Florence Fabricant in the New York Times said Tumbleweed was, “elegant deep gold cheese, extremely well balanced, finishing with a touch of sweetness.” I’ve just been eating it as is, but it goes really well with those delicious Rancho Meladuco dates at the Deli. Or the terrific dried pears we have the Cream Top Shop or with the fresh heirloom apples at the Farmer’s Market. If you toast some True North bread from the Bakehouse, drizzle on some of the above-mentioned Quinta Luna olive oil, lay on slices of apple and Tumbleweed, and the top with a touch more oil and a twist of Tellicherry black pepper, you’ll have a lovely lunch of light supper! Great for grilled cheese. It’s an awesome accompaniment with that great grape jelly we have from American Spoon. Goes great, by the way, with the sweet nuttiness of the Bakehouse’s mandelbread, which would probably make both Alan’s and my Jewish grandmothers smile. 
Stop by the Cream Top Shop and take home some Tumbleweed this week. Let it come to room temperature. Nibble it slowly. Appreciate the beauty. There are a lot of limits we all face in the world around us right now. Small bits of loveliness like the Tumbleweed won’t alone turn the tide, but they can help us get through as we experience excellence. As John O’Donohue wrote, “To behold beauty dignifies your life; it heals you and calls you out beyond the smallness of your own self-limitation to experience new horizons. To experience beauty is to have your life enlarged.” 
Visit the Cream Top Shop
P.S. If you want us to ship you some Tumbleweed, just email to or call us at 888-636-8162.
Smoked Turkey Risotto

Smoked Turkey Risotto

A new Thanksgiving tradition at our house
I’d like to tell you my grandmother always made smoked turkey risotto on what she would have called “Erev Thanksgiving,” but that’s not true. What is true is that smoked turkey risotto just sort of happened on Wednesday evening last week. I came home from work with some of that terrific oak-smoked turkey from the Roadhouse (spiced with ground cloves, Roadhouse Joe coffee, Turkish Urfa pepper, salt and black pepper, smoked slowly over smoldering oak for hours). In an unrelated thought on the drive home, I started pondering putting together a risotto—there’s something soothing about its creaminess and the steady stirring it takes to make it that seemed suited to the world situation. This musing, along with the turkey,  turned into this terrific dish. It’s a bit of an inversion of what others might make more typically. Instead of a turkey with rice and celery stuffing, this is rice, seasoned with celery and smoked turkey. For more on risotto and why I love it so much, see the chapter in the Guide to Good Eating
In a nutshell, it goes like this: Chop a bit of onion and carrot as well as a couple healthy stalks of chopped celery (preferably the infinitely more flavorful stuff that is grown on local farms), and sauté slowly in hot extra virgin oil. Add a sprinkle of sea salt. Stir steadily so the vegetables don't stick and keep the heat moderate to avoid burning or browning. You want soft gentle cooking, not rapid sizzling. Tammie pointed out the next day the dish would have been good with mushrooms—you could add those to the vegetable mix. Meanwhile, heat some chicken broth. (We have great homemade broth at the Deli and the Bakehouse you can buy.) I add the rind of Parmigiano Reggiano and a bit of carrot, celery and parsnip to the stock to enrich it further, as well as a few pieces of the smoked turkey, to help bring the flavors together. 
When the vegetables soften, add Italian rice. I used Arborio rice the other evening, but Carnaroli can be even better. We have both on the shelves. The rice is critical to the dish—Italian rice alone has the rare ability to absorb liquid, but still stay al dente. Stir and sauté the rice with the vegetables for a few minutes (remember, don’t brown it). Add chunks of the smoked turkey (you can also do this with the Roadhouse smoked chicken, smoked ham from the Deli, or Kieron’s lovely cured hams from Cornman). Then start adding ladles of the hot broth. You’ll get a sizzle when you put in the first one. Stir immediately so the rice doesn't stick. When the liquid is absorbed, add some more. Keep stirring. Repeat until the rice is almost al dente. Add a little chopped fresh parsley, ground Tellicherry black pepper, and grated Parmigiano Reggiano and stir once or twice. When you think the risotto is ready, add a good bit of butter or olive oil to round out the richness of the dish. Add a bit more broth, stir, and let it sit for a minute. Some like their risotto “soupier,” others I know opt for it to be “drier”—either way will work well. If Carlo Petrini is right that “tradition is innovation that has worked” then this might be a good one in the making!
"Stock" up on Rice at the Deli
PS. Looking to learn more about great food?  Find some fine holiday gifts? Join Ari and Grace Virtually for the Best of 2020
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Ari's Signature

Other things on my mind


I’m reading Marcus Samuelsson’s new book Rise (thank you Beth). Check out this interview! 


It’s not new, but there’s a covers tribute done in honor of the music of Odetta, the amazing 20th century Black folk singer who influenced Bob Dylan and so many others. Odetta was very active in the Civil Rights movement and her intellectual and musical legacy is a national treasure. In one of those odd twists of historical stories, she was born four months after my mother in 1930 and passed away seven months later in 2105. In this collection of Odetta’s amazing work, which came out in 2009, I can’t get the version of “Chilly Winds” by Liz Durrett (the late Vic Chesnutt’s niece) out of my head. 
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