Father’s Day

    It’s Father’s Day on Sunday, and as I always relate my dad to great meals, I caught up with very cool dad (and Editor in Chief of Bon Appétit) Adam Rapoport to talk new jobs, food and fatherhood. And, if you haven't picked up a gift for your foodie father yet, Man With a Pan is a delight. Last, we have included a recipe from My Father's Daughter (another perfect Father's Day gift!), Bruce Paltrow’s World Famous Pancakes, which make for a wonderful Father’s Day brunch.

    Being a good dad is rad.


    Interview with Adam Rapoport:

    Adam Rapoport with his son, Marlon.
    Photograph by Danielle Levitt

    Q: I was a massive fan of the old Bon Appétit and was sad when I heard it was going to have a revamp. On the heels of Gourmet going down, it was almost too much to bear. But I love what you have done to the place! It feels very bold and modern. How did you formulate what your new approach would be?

    A: "I'm gonna answer this question in two parts, if that’s okay:

    1. I've always believed that if you want to do something well and create something worthwhile, you've got to do it your way. You've got to commit to it and believe in yourself. As a writer, whenever you try to write in someone else’s style or voice—or give the editor what you *think* he or she wants instead of what you want—it always turns out badly. You should do what you think is right and interesting and fun and cool. When people approach things this way, good stuff can happen. It's why we have game-changing chefs like Fergus Henderson and David Chang.

    2. When I got this job, the mandate from Condé Nast was essentially, 'Give us a new magazine.' They wanted the brand to be refreshed and reinvigorated. And when the food media got wind that the company was moving the editorial offices from LA to NYC, and hiring a new editor and a new staff, they began expecting something new and different. But as a reader, it can be tough when a magazine you subscribe to shows up in your mailbox one day looking and reading completely differently. And while we've received a ton of really positive feedback (via hand-written notes, Twitter, emails etc), we’ve also received our share of comments in the vein of 'What the hell is going on!' And I can understand that. But, to be honest, that feedback has helped us a lot. We just shipped our fourth issue (August), and each issue we've made lots of small tweaks and adjustments based on reader comments, so the magazine will not only look great, but will be easy to navigate, enjoyable to read and most importantly, fun to cook with."

    Q: Did you feel any trepidation about the choices you were making?

    A: "Not when I was making them, no. The notion was, 'Let's make a magazine about things we love.' If we, as a staff, feature foods and people that we're passionate about—and we write about them smartly and photograph them beautifully—then chances are, the reader will dig them too."

    Q: How was it to take on so much responsibility with a very young child at home?

    A: "I've always been a 9-to-5 (or 6 or 7 or 8) guy; my wife, Simone, is self-employed as an artist and restaurant florist. She works from home, and the brunt of raising Marlon, our three and a half year old son, and renovating our new apartment has fallen on her. And as anyone who's done either knows, both are a huge burden. She's done a phenomenal job at them, but it's been far from easy, and she's had to make tremendous sacrifices to her career. I try to spend as much time with Marlon as I can on weekends, and I rarely go out straight from the office, so I'm usually home to give him a bath and put him down at night."

    Q: Do you still have time to cook?

    A: "In New York City, whether you have kids or not, you tend to eat out and order in more than most people in the States. On a typical week, Simone and I will cook a few times, once or twice on the weekend, and at least once during the work week. She usually takes charge of the mid-week meal (she does the flowers at Babbo and has a very Batali-esque hand at pastas and creative salads) and I'll usually take over the range or the grill on weekends. If it’s warm out, we’ll definitely be grilling. If I have time, I’ll do dry-rubbed spare ribs with homemade slaw. Otherwise, it’s usually dry-aged rib eye steaks, tagliata style, sliced over a bed of arugula with lemon and olive oil. And Maldon sea salt, of course."

    Q: Do you cook with your son?

    A: "Marlon eats like he’s carbo-loading for a marathon, but of course there’s no marathon on his calendar. Lots of pasta, cheese, some eggs, cereal. Fortunately, he drinks lots of smoothies that Simone makes and she packs them with as much fruit and vegetables as possible. He’s doing alright. He’s basically built like a linebacker and already weighs over 50 pounds. We’re trying to get him more into cooking—sometimes he’ll help Simone make waffles in the morning—but for now, he’d rather be playing Thomas than beating eggs."

    Q: When did you start cooking and why do you like it?

    A: "When I was a real little kid, and my older brother and sister were off doing stuff, I always wanted to be around my mom, and my mom always happened to be in the kitchen. She’s a great home cook; she knows that seasoning is key—nothing should ever be bland. So I started cooking fairly young. When I was in 9th grade, and we were allowed off campus for lunch, I’d invite a gang of friends over and I’d make everyone omelets (my dad’s specialty). It made me realize that food was a great way to bring people together."

    Q: Do you have any favorite websites/food blogs?

    A: "I’m afraid to admit that the website I go to most is I’m an editor of a food magazine, but I’m still a guy—I love sports."

    Q: Have you read Man with a Pan?

    A: "I haven’t yet, but I was emailing the other day with its author, John Donahue, who’s an editor at the New Yorker."

    Q: How has having a child changed your approach to food, if at all?

    A: "Well, we eat a lot later. By the time we get Marlon down and we’re able to open a bottle of wine and make dinner, we’re sitting down at, like, 10pm. I might as well live in Barcelona."

    Q: I read in your first Letter from the Editor how eating great food with people you love is pretty much the road to happiness. I agree. Can you tell me about a recent moment with your family when this was crystal clear?

    A: "A couple of weeks ago, I was in upstate New York at my parents’ house with Simone and Marlon, my brother Andy, and my parents, Dan and Maxine. We were grilling up skirt steaks with chimichurri on the Weber (I’m a charcoal purist), I was hitting some golf balls into the pond, watching the sun set and having a beer or two (or three). It doesn’t get much better than that."

    Q: Oh, and how do you juggle fatherhood with such a major job? How do you get the QT in?

    A: "I think it’s a challenge for every parent—whether they’ve got a full-time gig or whether they stay home to raise the kids (which can be incredibly draining). You try to balance things as best you can, and you learn to say no to the job-related requests that aren’t totally necessary so you can see more of your family. None of us really have it figured out, but we try."

    The July issue of Bon Appétit is currently on stands.

    Man With a Pan is our current read for Father’s Day, full of personal essays and recipes by dads like Mario Batali, Michael Ruhlman and Stephen King, who have paid their dues in the kitchen and make meals for their families.

    A recipe from My Father's Daughter for a Father's Day Brunch

    Bruce Paltrow’s World Famous Pancakes

    Yield: 3 dozen 5-inch pancakes
    Active Preparation Time: 20 minutes
    Total Preparation Time: 20 minutes + overnight resting

    • 3 cups unbleached, all-purpose flour
    • 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
    • 1 tablespoon plus 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
    • 2 teaspoons fine salt
    • 3 cups buttermilk
    • 6 tablespoons butter, melted and cooled, plus more butter for cooking
    • 6 organic large eggs
    • Up to 1 cup milk, as needed to thin batter
    • Real Vermont maple syrup, warmed

    Whisk the dry ingredients together in a large bowl. Whisk together the buttermilk, butter and eggs together in another bowl. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ones whisking just enough to combine (small lumps are okay). Let the batter sit, covered, overnight. The next morning, heat up your griddle or favorite nonstick pan and slick it with a little butter. Add enough milk to the batter to thin it to the right consistency—the thicker the batter, the thicker and heavier your pancakes; the thinner the batter, the more delicate your pancakes—neither is wrong. Cook the pancakes on the griddle, flipping them after bubbles appear on the surface of the uncooked side. Let cook 2-3 minutes more, then remove, and eat with lots of warm maple syrup.

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