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When I was little—while my mom ironed on her ironing board that popped out of the wall in the kitchen and I played with toys on the lineoleum floor—I listened to the radio.
In the evening, it was Dr. Christian, and Jack Benny, and Red Skelton.
On Sunday morning, I would lie on dining room rug and read the “funnies” as the mayor of Albany read the Times-Union, the local newspaper. Mayor Fiorello LaGuardia did the same thing when New York City’s news delivery men went on strike in 1945. The world was at war and he did not want his constituents to be deprived of Dick Tracy and Little Orphan Annie and other comic strips. So he used his regular Sunday broadcast Talk to the People to read them and describe the action.
I grew up with radio, although my parents did get a television in 1948. We had radios everywhere in our house. We had clock radios, a radio in the kitchen, and a console radio in our dining room.
My mother liked to iron, and of course I loved playing with my toys, which included a little truck that I pushed back and forth and back and forth, winding it up, and then let go, letting it fly into my parents’ master bedroom. It usually hit the door, the bottom of their bed, or sped into a closet. After a few years, the linoleum in the kitchen was so worn it had to be replaced.
But it’s the sound of those radio shows that really stayed with me.
Eventually, I did a radio show with Johnny London on WICH out of Norwich. We began with an hour and, after the first year, it turned into two hours. I had guests in the room with me, or I would talk on the phone to chefs, cookbook authors, and restaurant owners. And readers would call with questions.
Johnny often asked me if I would run out of recipes.
But, just like music is made from just 12 notes and yet one never runs out of music, one never runs out of recipes.
That is particularly true this year. It was a great year for cookbooks. But, choosing my favorite wasn’t difficult. Here is recipe from it you may enjoy.
Lee White of Old Lyme has been a food editor and restaurant reviewer for more than 25 years. You can email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.Sweet Chili Chicken Thighs
From Everyday Dorie by Dorie Greenspan
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, Boston and New York, 2018
2 tablespoons canola or neutral oil
1 medium onion, finely chopped and dried
1 ½ to 3 peeled fresh ginger, minced
2 garlic cloves, germ removed and minced
Fine sea salt
¼ cup white wine
8 chicken thighs, with or without skin and/or bones, patted dry
Freshly ground pepper
½ cup Thai sweet chili sauce*
⅓ cup soy sauce
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
1 to 1 ½ teaspoon Sriracha*
Sliced scallions and crushed red pepper flakes, for serving
Warm one tablespoon of oil in a Dutch oven over medium heat. Add onion, ginger, and garlic; season with salt; and cook, stirring until onions soften a bit and are translucent but not browned, about five minutes.
Add wine, increase the heat and cook, stirring, until most of the wine evaporates, about three minutes. Again, don’t let the onions brown. Transfer ingredients to a bowl.
Return pot to medium heat and add remaining oil. Place thighs in the pot and brown on all sides, adding more oil if necessary. (If the thighs are crowded in the pan, do this in two batches.) Pour and discard oil. If you have burned bits of the bottom of the pot, remove chicken and scrub the pot, then return chicken to it. Return the onion mixture to the pot, along with any juices that accumulated, add the chili sauce, soy sauce, mustard, and Sriracha and stir to blend. Season lightly with salt and pepper and clap the lid on.
Turn heat down to low and cook, basting occasionally, for 30 minutes, or until chicken is opaque in the center; an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the thigh should register 165 degrees.
Transfer to a platter (or serve right in the pot) and spoon over some of the juice. Add scallions and pepper flakes (optional). Pass the rest of the sauce at the table.
*I always have both sweet chili sauce and Sriracha in my pantry. You should too.
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