On Links.

I’ve just re-organized my column of links and wanted to take you on a quick tour of my most-visited food-, book- and travel-focused sites.

A note: Coincidentally, alphabetically, the one Armenian-ish blog I read follows the one Filipino-ish blog I read.  Fate?  Or my genetics translated into the Internet?

30 Bucks a Week
Two Brooklynites spend $15 each on their week’s worth of groceries.  Then they write about it.

101 Cookbooks
Heidi Swanson collects cookbooks and recipes.  She also takes great photographs.

Alinea at Home
Carol Blymire is cooking every recipe in the Alinea Cookbook.

Burnt Lumpia
Marvin cooks Filipino food.

Cave Cibum
Fellow Armenian Pam eats out and cooks a lot.

Chocolate + Zucchini
Parisian Clotilde Dusoulier writes in French and English about recipes, cookbooks, idioms and kitchen tools.

Cooked Books
Rebecca Federman has what just might be one of the coolest-sounding jobs ever: culinary librarian at the New York Public Library.

What New Yorkers are really reading.

David Lebovitz
The observant and funny cookbook author writes about life in Paris and what he eats there.

Diner’s Journal
New York Times
‘s one-stop combination of its three dining blogs.

Formaggio Kitchen’s Cheese Blog
This is pretty self-explanatory.

Arthur Frommer talks (writes?) travel.

Fucshia Dunlop
The memoirist/cookbook author’s blog.

Grub Street Boston
New York Magazine ‘s up-to-date info on the Boston dining scene.

Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall
A great source for recipes + cooking techniques.

In the Kitchen + on the Road with Dorie
The often-adorable and always informative Dorie Greenspan splits her time between Paris and the East Coast. Oh, she also bakes. A lot.

In Transit
Another New York Times blog. This one’s about travel.

the kitchn
Apartment Therapy‘s site for people who love cooking and don’t mind making a mess whilst making dinner.

Lois Lowry
I want to be just like her when I grow up. In the meantime, I’ll just read her books and blog.

Lottie + Doof
A pretty food blog with a funny name.

Michael Ruhlman
The author of The Making of a Chef + Ratio cooks too.

The Millions
One of the best book-centric sites out there.

The New Vegetarian
Yotam Ottolenghi ‘s weekly column for the Guardian.

Nigel Slater
Recipes and writing from one of my favorite authors of food-related books.

One Minute Book Reviews
Also pretty self-explanatory.

Molly Wizenberg lives and writes in Seattle.

Paper Cuts
The editors of The New York Times Book Review blog too.

The Prognosticators
My friends Beth + Bob moved to Prague; these are pictures of their travels.

Reading is My Superpower
Annie Frisbie reads faster than I do. She blogs more often too.

Sandwiches might be my favorite.

Smitten Kitchen
Good things come from small kitchens.

Insert Sigh Here.

I was going through old Chocolate + Zucchini posts (because that’s where the recipes live) when I bumped into this:

Let me start this post by declaring my love for the Northern European high-speed train network: Northern European high-speed train network, I love you.

Really, can anyone think of anything more enthusing than the fact that London’s Borough Market, Amsterdam’s rijsttafels, and Strasbourg’s flammekueche are just a couple of hours away from Paris, and that the trip to get there does not involve taking off your belt, your shoes, and the filling in your left molar, nor tossing out your only bottle of contact lens cleanser? I can’t either.*

I am so jealous.  Why does the American train system stink?  Why can’t we clamber aboard a train and catapult to  New York, D.C., Baltimore, Montréal?  I know what you’re thinking: Nayiri, you can take a train to New York, D.C., Baltimore and Montréal (but only if you first take a train to New York).  To that, I say Pshaw.

The so-called express train from Boston to New York takes a bit over three hours, barely swifter than the amount of time it takes to drive the 190 miles and running you something like a hundred dollars.  The high-speed train traversing the 440-mile distance between Boston and Washington costs you $175 and almost seven hours of your life — just one hour faster than it would have taken had you been behind the wheel of a car.

On the other hand, the high-speed train between Madrid and Barcelona, which covers 390 miles, takes just under three hours for the same price as our Boston-Washington train.  Ditto the train from Paris to Marseilles: $150-something for a three-hour ride covering 410 miles.

What the heck, Amtrak?  Are you trying to make it difficult for people to travel from city to city with comfort and ease?

Not only is traveling via train clearly a more scenic option than flying (clouds and unrecognizable patches of green both get boring after a while), but it’s significantly better for the environment.  At TerraPass, you can calculate your of CO2 travel emissions; if Keith and I were to fly to New York from Boston, we would each produce 132 pounds of CO2.  Multiply that by the 188 other passengers on our Boeing 737, and things start to get a little scary.  Take those same 188 people and put them on a train with me and Keith; we’d each only generate 77 pounds of CO2.  And that’s only for a 190 mile journey.  Imagine what the numbers would look like for the 440 miles between Boston and Washington, or the 390 miles between Madrid and Barcelona…

Of course, there are some instances in which plane trumps train — I’ll never be able to book a train to take me to my Kenyan safari, or to visit my grandmother in Manila — but the fact remains that trains are not only “greener,” but also more relaxing (no stress at airport security or behind the wheel).  Not to mention you can hop on to most trains’ WiFi, use your phone, and actually move around the cars if you want to stretch your legs.  No waiting until the train is an hour out of the station, unlike planes and their gates.

But here’s one of my most favorite things about train travel, though: you can pack a couple sandwiches and a bottle of wine, and have yourself a nice (moving) picnic as the world whizzes by.  Try doing that on Delta.

* From this post.

Have I Mentioned That I Love Croissants?

Truly, I do. I wish I could make them, but I’m scared the situation would be just terrible for two specific reasons:

  1. Best case scenario: Completely failing at the task and becoming utterly frustrated and depressed, and left with a mound of rock-like (or sponge-like, or strangely-liquidy) dough, which I’m certain would mock me, along with a filthy kitchen with nothing to show for my labors.
  2. Worst case scenario: Completely succeeding at the task and becoming utterly thrilled and elated, and left with empty, flake-encrusted trays because I will have eaten each and every croissant and would therefore feel exhaustively guilty, so I would then bake even more croissants, which I would then devour right out of the oven, which would lead me to then throw out all of the necessary ingredients in order to prevent me from ever making croissants again. Oh, and I will have added approximately twenty-five more pounds to my already overly zaftig silhouette… which would then cause me to become utterly frustrated and depressed, and force me to go shopping because I will no longer be able to fit into any of my clothes.

As you can see, my dreams of making croissants will have to remain exactly that. Luckily, I can attempt to satisfy myself with the croissant wallpaper created by Clotilde at Chocolate and Zucchini. The croissants with the mauve background are currently brightening my work desktop, and making me feel very hungry indeed.

Maybe this wasn’t the best idea.

What’s on Your Plate?

Yesterday, Clotilde over at Chocolate & Zucchini posted a link to this thoroughly fascinating photo essay. I found myself clicking through it several times and thinking about how absolutely scruffy I always look at breakfast. This morning I balanced a bowl of grapefruit segments on my knees before scrambling to apply my makeup, try on a new pair of jeans and do the dishes before heading out for the day. A breakfast not nearly as decadent as the aquamarine plate of what looks like avocado and toast.

Jon Huck‘s photography series is available for purchase in book form here.