This classic, easy-to-make, irresistible French dessert is yours to customize

Three servings of chocolate mousse, served in glass tumblers, topped with whipped cream and cacao nibs

The first time I had chocolate mousse was when I was five or six years old and my dad took me out to lunch — just the two of us — at a fancy French restaurant. I don’t know what…


Custardy, bacony, buttery-crusted and warm, it’s a treat you’ll love to make — and eat.

Quiche Lorraine, with eggs, cream, bacon, onion and Gruyère / Photo by Leslie Brenner

For many cooks, making a quiche is a big deal. That’s not the way it’s seen in France, where it’s considered a simple, everyday dish. Really!

“Nothing fancy; I’m just making a quiche,” is the…


Greece’s most famous dish has a curious history that may explain why it’s not easy to find a great version. Happily, we’ve got a recipe for you.

A slice of moussaka is lifted out of its baking dish.

A great Greek moussaka — the layered gratin of eggplant, potato, lamb-tomato sauce and cheesy béchamel — is about as delicious as Mediterranean-inflected comfort food gets.

“Moussaka is the urban cosmopolitan showpiece of lamb-and-eggplant combinations, a pairing as fundamental to Middle and Near Eastern cuisines as pasta and tomatoes are…


Dana Cowin, founder of Giving Broadly and Speaking Broadly

Strange as it may seem, Dana Cowin — who led Food & Wine magazine for 21 years as editor in chief, and who has been one of the most influential people in food in America this century — does not count her skills in the kitchen among her strengths.

“I’ll…


Let’s evolve, shall we?

A woman carrying a white plastic bag walks by Paris restaurant JeanneA at night. The restaurant has sidewalk tables.
Jeanne A, a restaurant in Paris, pre-pandemic | by Leslie Brenner

I wonder if any of us fully fathom what the implosion of restaurants during the coronavirus pandemic means for our culture.

From where I sit — to be literal, on an avocado green sofa on the second floor of a townhouse in a moderately affluent urban-residential…


Because it’s so important in Black American cooking, it’s a great time to discover its virtues.

Fresh okra pods are spread on a brown basket.
Fresh okra is at peak season in late summer and early fall | Photo by Leslie Brenner

Last September, Leah Penniman, a food sovereignty activist and author of Farming While Black, gave a talk at Harvard Divinity School on “African Diasporic Wisdom for Farming and Food Justice.” In it, she reportedly…


Travel centered around eating may become a thing of the past — at least for a while. A mid-September road trip provides an eerie glimpse of the future.

Night sky in Buena Vista, CO | Photo by Leslie Brenner

My husband Thierry and I are just back from a 6-day road trip to Colorado — our first getaway during pandemic. It was wonderful to be away — from the unrelenting and oppressive Dallas heat, from a world’s worth of worries, from our claustrophobic routine. …


With the publication of her first cookbook, popular blogger Mely Martínez is now everyone’s abuelita.

‘The Mexican Home Kitchen’ cookbook, shown on a bamboo cutting board with fresh chiles, garlic, thyme and a carrot
Photo by Leslie Brenner

The more it goes, the more I cook, the more I’m interested in cookbooks that let you learn the basics of a cuisine by cooking dishes that real people cook at home. As inspiring as…


What sandos and Japanese potato salad tell us about food, culture and authenticity

Japanese potato salad | Photo by Leslie Brenner

Last month, circumstances collided in my imagination and my kitchen, causing me to develop a fascination with an unlikely dish: Japanese potato salad. Partly it was because the pandemic had me craving potatoes (comfort carbs) and therefore…


Sami Tamimi and Tara Wigley’s cookbook is a delicious journey into Palestine.

Photo by Leslie Brenner

My cookbook shelves are lined with hundreds of earnest volumes filled with culturally faithful recipes for legions of traditional dishes. Usually the recipes work and the dishes are correct, often they’re pretty good, occasionally they’re very good. …

Leslie Brenner

James Beard Award-winning journalist, author, cook and consultant, Leslie is founder of cookswithoutborders.com.

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