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Karen Chaderjian

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Long Beach, CA

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Karen Chaderjian, copy chief of ZesterDaily.com, is a multimedia and print editor who has worked for the Los Angeles Times for more than 20 years. She has edited a half-dozen books, including "The Washington Post Cookbook" (April 2013). She also served as the consulting editor for TheLatinaVoz.com and earned her master’s degree in social work. Her love of food was nurtured by her father, a former co-owner of Chad’s Luncheonette in Chicago, and her mother, whom Clementine Paddleford once featured in "How America Eats."

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A Zester Daily Dozen Plus: 2012 Reader Favorites Image

Zester Daily readers have shown an appreciation for a stunning variety of stories over the past year. A quick scan of the 2012 reader favorites reveals a yen for Ruth Bourdain’s dishes, cuisine from every corner of the world, food preservation, photography, films, wine insider news and a treasured recipe for flavored marshmallows — as well as a critique of American taste.

Snippets of the 12 most popular Zester Daily contributors’ stories, plus the five most popular Soapboxes, are below. Follow the story links to read the complete text. Follow the contributor links to read more by each author.

The stories are listed in reverse order.

Top contributors’ stories of 2012

12. THE ORIGINS OF CURRY by Raghavan Iyer: Before I try to define the word “curry,” let me create an image for you from my college laboratory days in India where I pursued a degree in chemistry over 20 years ago. As I busied myself measuring crystals of …

11. OLD-SCHOOL SOY SAUCE by Manuela Zoninsein: There’s no one right ritual or rule to guide your eating extravaganza on Jan. 23. The Chinese New Year involves a number of great food traditions. Dumplings are reminiscent of coins in ancient China and will thus bring …

10. TEN BEST FOODIE FLICKS by David Latt: If cold weather traps you indoors for months each winter, you might run through your queue of streaming movies pretty quick. Why not entertain yourself with a library of the best …

9. HOW KERMIT LYNCH TAUGHT AMERICANS HOW TO DRINK WINE by Patrick Comiskey: Forty years ago, Kermit Lynch abandoned the handmade purse industry and opened a wine shop in Berkeley, Calif., and in doing so, became one of the great innovators of …

8. WINE’S ACCUSED GRIFTER, RUDY KURNIAWAN by Corie Brown: By the summer of 2006, when I first noticed Rudy Kurniawan at Christie’s in Beverly Hills, he had transformed the market for old wine from a sleepy backwater into a high-stakes free-for-all. Only the richest wine collectors knew him. Or thought they did …

7. THANKSGIVING CONUNDRUM: TO BRINE OR NOT TO BRINE by Louisa Kasdon: Turkey conversation season is upon us again, with our annual quest for a crisp, moist, perfect bird. Some swear by …

6. EATING TO BEAT CANCER: DIET MAY PROVE TO BE A CURE by Harriet Sugar Miller: Last night, it was cauliflower curry on a bed of leeks while my husband grilled his own slab of meat. The night before I ate solo — and downed an enormous bag of kale chips (please don’t tell him) flavored with cashew dust and too much …

5. FOOD SHOOTING TIPS on March 23 by David Hagerman: We all know what a beautiful food photograph looks like. Unfortunately, our cameras are clueless. Here are tips for making the most of …

4. IN DEFENSE OF TRUFFLE OIL by Lynne Curry: Midwinter is high season for fresh truffles in Oregon’s Willamette Valley. With the help of an experienced truffle hunter (or a trained dog), I could spend …

3. SICILY’S EGGPLANT CEVICHE FOR SUMMER by Clifford A. Wright: The end of summer offers the cook a wealth of sparkling fruits and vegetables for culinary transformation. One of my favorite …

2. CANNING JARS FROM FAUX TO BEST PRESERVING CHOICES by Susan Lutz: About six months ago, I salvaged a beautiful marinara sauce jar that I intended to refill with home-canned sweet pickles made using my mother’s recipe.  And if I hadn’t taken a 12-week course to become a certified Master Food Preserver, I might have …

1. FLAVORED MARSHMALLOWS MADE FROM SCRATCH by Charles Perry: When you hand people homemade marshmallows, they’re always dazzled. These are actual marshmallows, but with a lush, moist texture you never find in store-bought versions. If you want your friends to keep thinking you’re a wizard, don’t tell them how simple it is …

Top Soapboxes of 2012

5. DÍA DE LOS MUERTOS IS FOR AMERICANOS, TOO by Veronica Gonzalez-Smith:  In the small town of El Paso, Texas, my siblings and I grew up at a unique intersection of Mexican and American culture. As kids, we traveled in and out of …

4. THE INFANTALIZATION OF AMERICAN TASTE by Michael Krondl: Though the plague of cupcake shops has not spared any city in this great union, it would be hard to find one that illustrates my point better than …

3. CALIFORNIA’S EXCITING NEW WINES BUCK THE MAINSTREAM by Eric Asimov: We live in the most wonderful era in history to love wine. Right now, Americans have access to a greater diversity of wines than ever before, wines made in more styles from more …

2. THE FORGOTTEN QUINCE by Jane McMorland Hunter: Nowadays most people hardly know what a quince looks like. Until the 19th century, it was a commonplace orchard fruit throughout North America and Europe; now it has become …

1. RUTH BOURDAIN DISSES AND DISHES WITH ZESTER by Ruth Bourdain: It’s been more than two years since the debut of Ruth Bourdain, the sensational and often raunchy Twitter persona whose name and sensibilities are a mashup/spoof of former Gourmet editor Ruth Reichl and outspoken celebrity chef Anthony Bourdain. The true identity of Ms. Bourdain is still under wraps, but her tweets show her to be ….

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And that’s our list for 2012 … Here’s to discovering Ms. Bourdain’s identity in 2013!

Photo illustration, clockwise from top left: 

Ruth Bourdain. Credit: Ruth Bourdain

Indian spices (originally published in 660 Curries). Credit: Ben Fink

 Homemade marshmallows dusted with confectioners’ sugar. Credit: StockFood

Photo illustration credit: Karen Chaderjian

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