You'll want to use #8 all spring—and summer.
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I used a recent rainy Saturday to spring-clean my kitchen and prepare for the seasonal swing in cooking that warmer weather will bring. With more room in my fridge and pantry now, and with Easter—the first big cooking holiday of the year—on the horizon, here are the spring delicacies I’m obsessing over:

1. Applewood-Smoked Bone-In Heritage Ham

Credit: Courtesy of Dartagnan

This is the best city ham made in America. Follow this simple formula to glaze it or any Easter ham, including the ubiquitous spiral-cuts: Pulse 1 1/4 cups fruit preserves (such as pineapple or peach) and 1/2 cup sparkling wine (such as Cava) in a food processor until smooth. You can get the ham from Dartagnan, here ($180). 

2. Soom Chocolate Sweet Tahini Halva Spread

Credit: Mariana Fernandez for Soom Foods

So we featured this chocolate spread in our March 2018 issue, and it’s so good it will make you rethink your Nutella addiction. Spread it on buttered, toasted sourdough or sliced apples for a quick snack. Pick it up on their website, or at Amazon ($18.24 for a sampler).

3. and 4. New Cookbooks

Credit: Courtesy of

In The Gourmands’ Way, author Justin Spring writes about the beginning of America’s enduring love affair with French cuisine by recounting, in juicy detail, the Parisian odyssey of six American writers, including Julia Child, A.J. Liebling, M.F.K. Fisher, and my favorite, Richard Olney.

Closer to home, Korean-American chef Edward Lee, in his second book, Buttermilk Graffiti, writes about cooks in unheralded parts of the country like Clarksdale, Mississippi, and Indianapolis, Indiana, who are reshaping regional American cuisine into the mash-up it is today. Lee will make you question your motives the next time you call a particular food “authentic.”

You'll want to eat these 9 foods ASAP:

5. Meyer Lemons

Credit: Photo: Getty Images / Kerin Forstmanis / EyeEm

Heaven is a climate where Meyers grow year-round. Or at least it would be a good place to retire. For the rest of us, they’ll soon be out of season, so turn them into a simple green sauce for any spring veg: Puree 1 seeded and chopped Meyer lemon (skin, pith, flesh, and all), 1 garlic clove, tight fistfuls of parsley and cilantro leaves, 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil, and a pinch of salt in a blender.

6. and 7. Essential Cookware

Credit: Courtesy of King Arthur Flour

Quarter sheet pans: King Arthur Flour sells these mini 13- x 9-inch baking sheets ($16) with 3/4-inch rims, and they are indispensable for shepherding things from kitchen counter to the grill or roasting small pieces of protein or vegetables in a toaster oven.

Oval aluminum restaurant-style sizzle platters do the trick, too. Try the Winco 11-inch platter, available at Restaurant Supply or Amazon.

8. Basques Sugar Maple Charcoal

Credit: Courtesy of Basques

My Big Green Egg–loving dad recently turned me on to this brand, which burns hot, sweet, and long. Now it’s my go-to hardwood charcoal for grilling and smoking. Find where you can get it here ($24). 

9. Sea Snacks

Credit: Photo: Ross Woodhall / Getty

Shad roe, salmon collars, halibut cheeks, and other seasonal cook’s snacks from the sea: Ask your fishmonger to reserve you some. Then email me for a recipe.