Tea Towels: The Softer Side of the Industrial Revolution

Tea Towels: The Softer Side of the Industrial Revolution

Once upon a time, back when horses and wagons roamed the Earth and the telephone was a twinkle in Alexander Graham Bell’s eye, tea towels were found in every Victorian English lady’s kitchen. Typically made from absorbent, finely woven soft linen, tea towels were ideal for drying china, glassware and...
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Getting Groomed: The Hazards of Becoming a Man

Getting Groomed: The Hazards of Becoming a Man

Whether you’re expressing your individuality or simply practicing good hygiene, there’s one thing most men can agree on—personal grooming never goes out of style. When it was my turn to begin shaving, it took years of enduring nicks and crooked sideburns to develop a signature regimen. Although I earned a badge of honor in razor...
Hudson, NY: A River Town’s Renaissance

Hudson, NY: A River Town’s Renaissance

Walking the streets of Hudson, it might seem strange that this river town 100 miles away from the open ocean is graced with the images of so many whales. You’ll see them on hotel and street signs, shop windows, banners, even on the city seal. But Hudson owes its name—and really it’s very existence—to the...
Born a Ramblin’ Man

Born a Ramblin’ Man

Some people collect spoons. Others collect license plates or snow globes to remind them of their travels. I have always favored items that get me to a destination versus what I can procure once I get there. My growing luggage collection includes my mother’s “World Traveler” that has seen me from Toronto to New Orleans...
Be Useful: Utility in the Kitchen

Be Useful: Utility in the Kitchen

At some point, a newfangled gadget in the kitchen becomes a hindrance. Maybe it’s a city thing, where in a small apartment, every inch of storage is at a premium. But it’s also a chef thing. I realized that the basic tools I rely on as a professional cook are, well, basic. There’s very little...
E“scent”ial Oils and the Craft of Handmade Soaps

E“scent”ial Oils and the Craft of Handmade Soaps

Whenever a serendipitous whiff of cedar wood floats in my direction, I’m instantly taken down memory lane to a place I’ve loved ever since childhood—my family cabin in the Santa Cruz Mountains. From our favorite colognes and perfumes to trusted grooming products and soaps we use every day—aromas can play a powerful role in one’s...
Keeping the Fleece

Keeping the Fleece

“You can’t fake quality any more than you can fake a good meal.” –William S. Burroughs, The Western Lands It’s not every day that a large company producing a widely-used good will choose quality over cost. But that’s exactly what Faribault Woolen Mill does, and it’s thanks to them that the American wool industry maintains...
Pharm to Table: Field Apothecary Invigorates Herbal Traditions

Pharm to Table: Field Apothecary Invigorates Herbal Traditions

When I first started my radio show “Spice: The Final Frontier” I was planning to focus on interesting historical facts about herbs and spices along with some tips on how to cook with them. As I continued researching what I thought of as strictly culinary herbs and spices, I found that a long history of...
From Ground to Grounds: A Coffee Bean’s Journey

From Ground to Grounds: A Coffee Bean’s Journey

The people behind the Brooklyn Roasting Company and the products they make may typify the Ralph Waldo Emerson axiom, “Life is a journey, not a destination.” Called the “Hardest Working Cup” by Off Track Planet in its highlights of New York’s 10 Best Cafés in 2013, Brooklyn Roasting (BRC) is an ongoing journey that began with a...
Anatomy of a Scullery Soap

Anatomy of a Scullery Soap

Before I moved to Brooklyn, the only soap I ever knew was a generic castile. It came in a big container that we’d pour carefully into each of the hand dispensers throughout the house I grew up in in Pennsylvania. We’d use it for everything: face, hands, dishes, and in the shower. It worked fine—nobody...
Black Beauty: Cooking with Cast Iron

Black Beauty: Cooking with Cast Iron

There’s a reason certain things have, in Darwinian fashion, managed to survive in the face of so-called “advances” in technology. Even though you can get amazing musical replication from a synthesizer, for example, true aficionados would claim it can’t replace a Steinway or a Stradivarius. In the kitchen, nothing cooks quite like cast iron. Stainless...
A Bearded Renaissance

A Bearded Renaissance

With approximately 25,000 hairs as hard and thick as copper wire, the almighty beard has separated men from boys throughout history. Some of the greatest leaders of all time have adorned their faces with this iconic symbol of masculinity, but where one generation perceived it as a sign of virility, dignity and higher status, the...
And the Bandana Played On

And the Bandana Played On

I have that kind of Scottish-Irish hair that doesn’t grow long, but rather wild, wavy and very big. I first started growing out my hair in college after 18 years of buzz cuts. My lush and loose locks were a new ‘me’ to present to a world away from home, but these curls were full...