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Kim Sunée

When speaking to chef Reuben Gerber of the Crow’s Nest in downtown Anchorage, I’m always inspired by his enthusiasm for good food. And when it comes to the holidays, his exuberance is tenfold.

“Hanukkah is right around the corner and that means it’s time for latkes!” he told me recently as we talked about traditional holiday foods. “Growing up in a Jewish home, I could hardly wait to enjoy the festive food … I will never forget tugging on Bubbie’s apron for a latke before they ever made it to the table.”...

Kim Sunée

Restaurant chefs have been house-curing meats and embracing nose-to-tail cooking for decades now, but here in Alaska, both the concept and execution are rare. So the first thing I order at Torchon Bistro is the Taster, a panoply of house-made charcuterie in South Anchorage.

The Taster's offerings, all made in-house from Alaska-raised heritage hogs, change often. It's ambitious and mostly successful -- highlights include cracklin’s with truffled Alaska sea salt and spruce tip-dry rubbed and smoked rib...

Kim Sunée
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Chef Shana Whitlock recently opened Torchon Bistro, in South Anchorage. The menu features house cured meats made from Alaska-raised heritage hogs, and she hopes to one day be able to offer true, sustainable farm-to-table dining in Alaska...

Kim Sunée

Before the big holiday meal, we’re all so busy shopping, prepping and cooking that often by the time we sit down to the table we’re too exhausted to eat. So some of you cooks out there might agree that one of the most enjoyable parts of the festivities is the after-party, which for me is that moment when everyone is fed and happy and I have a moment to breathe.

Usually, while I’m packing up the remains of the day, I find myself -- preferably in looser pants -- tasting a spoon of this or that dish I didn’t get to fully enjoy at the table...

Kim Sunée

Thanksgiving is my absolute favorite food holiday, but having been struck with wanderlust for most of my twenties and thirties, I didn’t have the same gathering of friends and family; it was always an eclectic and well-traveled group that was reflected in the food.

Over the years and depending on which country I was in and who was present, my Thanksgiving table was a smorgasbord of offerings, including everything from warm spoonbread, sumac-roasted lamb and kimchi fried rice to French apple galettes and Swedish potato and salmon pudding: comfort foods that made everyone feel respectively at home...

Kim Sunée

Many of us have childhood memories of someone in the kitchen preparing something we couldn’t make ourselves but anticipated with much delight. Enter my friend Christa Schumacher and her beloved Rice Krispies treats. I personally don’t care for the two main ingredients in this snack, a throwback to the original 1938 creation. But Christa, a full-time scientist and part-time passionate baker, updated her childhood favorite with browned butter, which offers a nutty depth, and good sea salt to balance out the sweetness; together they make a winning combination and one she bets I can’t stay away from. Admittedly, the result is light and airy, crispy and salty. And, unfortunately, quite addictive...

Kim Sunée

As a food writer and magazine editor, I've worked with many chefs over the years, focusing not only on what they cook at their restaurants, but, perhaps more interestingly, what they cook and eat in their off hours.

After the buzz of a busy night -- with tables turned, tips tallied and the kitchen washed down -- many chefs spend their off-duty time doing what they do best: cooking for themselves, family and friends. But you probably won’t see perfectly plated and fancied-up dishes. Most off-duty eats are rustic, down-home comfort food favorites...

Kim Sunée

There’s smashed pumpkin flesh and seeds splattered all over my dining room table and floor, the remnants of a birthday party with 10 children and their parents, who were all eager to carve fall pumpkins. What is left behind, though, is more than your garden-variety crime scene. To me, it’s supper, as well as snacks of roasted seeds...

Kim Sunée

Say three simple words -- “tuna noodle casserole” -- to a group of people and you may be surprised by the passionate reactions you get. I’ve heard everything from "blech" and "gag, gag, gag" to "canned peas," "Mom" and "pure comfort food." Undoubtedly, this 1950s dish elicits strong opinions...

Kim Sunée

It’s 4 p.m. and everyone is hungry and tired, searching for a quick pick-me-up. Sound familiar? With school in full swing, I hear from parents all the time who say that the never-ending dilemma is how to satisfy their family’s “hanger” without overloading on empty calories or caving in to the demand for sugary-sweet snacks. Almond butter and fruit satisfy to a point, but there’s a lot to be said for comfort foods, especially this time of year as we turn more to cheese-laden carbs and long-simmered fare...

Kim Sunée

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