Eat It/Read It: Jane and Michael Stern in The Paris Review

I love the Paris Review. In the Winter 2015 issue, there was a really funny Q&A with the great, divorced-but-still-friendly-and-working-together food writers, Jane and Michael Stern. You have to subscribe to read the whole piece but here are a few of my favorite lines:
“The thing you eat is just part of the big picture. This is why, while we’ve done cookbooks, the cookbooks always have something else—they’re not just recipes.”
— Michael Stern
“Cultural anthropology.”
— Jane Stern
“Luckily, I love writing! For me, it is the one surefire tranquilizer. If I’m really stressed with tons of stuff to do, the one thing that makes me relax is if I can sit down and write something.”
— Michael SternStern-1975_cut

Here’s an excerpt:

Inside your white cardboard box, inscribed with a Sally Bell silhouette, you will find a single sandwich on thinly sliced bread; a cup of tomato aspic or potato salad; a half a deviled egg, wrapped in wax paper; a crisp cheese ­wafer (no bigger than a quarter) with a pecan exactly in its center; and a cupcake or fruit tart . . . We love the potato salad with its cucumber and onion crunch, and the sweet deviled egg that ineluctably conjures images of picnics long ago, but the cheese wafer makes us cry. So delicate, sadly out of fashion, with no place in the world outside this outré bakery, two little bites and it is gone; and you get only one in a box—a souvenir token of your visit to another era.

—“Sally Bell,” Roadfood (1980 edition)
Jane Stern—neé Grossman—and Michael Stern were born, respectively, in New York City and Winnetka, Illinois. They met and married while doing graduate work at Yale, having had their first date at Frank Pepe Pizzeria Napoletana; soon after, they published the first edition of their landmark American travel guide, Roadfood. The book was among the first to treat ­regional American cuisine as worthy of serious study and serious writing. And yet the Sterns were never remote or overly pedagogical; writing in her introduction to their 1984 cookbook, Square Meals, M. F. K. Fisher described their attitude as one of “love and respect” for homegrown food and tradition.

Although they have received several James Beard Foundation Awards and publish a new edition of Roadfood every three years (there is also a popular Web site), their thirty-plus joint titles cover all facets of what they like to call cultural anthropology: truckers, Elvis worship, “sixties people,” Roy Rogers and Dale Evans, and Hummel figurines. Their Encyclopedia of Bad Taste (1990) manages to combine several of the above, along with fuzzy dice, Russ Meyer, and leopard print. For The New Yorker, the couple has written about bull riding, novelty toys, and Iowa radio homemakers. Michael has also written on Douglas Sirk, and Jane has published accounts of her life as an EMT and tarot reader. In 2007, they released the memoir Two for the Road: Our Love Affair with American Food. There’s also the 1979 novel, Friendly Relations; both groan when it is mentioned.

Although the Sterns divorced in 2008, they continue to work ­together and publish under their joint byline. Until two months ago, they lived in neighboring towns in Connecticut. (Michael has since moved to South Carolina.) For this interview, I met with them individually, at each one’s home, then together, at Jane’s house in Ridgefield. We enjoyed white-clam pizza, ice cream, and a cruller they had recently discovered at a nearby doughnut shop. Both are animal lovers—they have written on bird ­owners, dog shows, and horses—and on each occasion we were joined by several pets, including Jane’s French bulldogs and Michael’s parrot.

—Sadie Stein


I imagine you’ve wandered into some dicey situations.


Oh, yes. Let me tell you one story. It was early on, and Michael and I were on the road, going from one bizarre situation to another, and our hobby was visiting prison gift shops. We used to collect a lot of folk art and outsider art, and back in the day, some of the prisons would actually give prisoners free rein to craft their own things. They would make lamps and sculptures and all kinds of things, and some of them were brilliant. They were absolutely fabulous! Although, we lost some friends giving them prisoner art as a wedding gift. And prisons terrify me—but again there’s that attraction-repulsion, and something voyeuristic, too. Whenever we would pass a prison, we’d say, Let’s go to the gift shop, and back then, there literally were gift shops.

So one day we were driving through Kansas, and there’s a sign for Leavenworth penitentiary. Michael says, Oh my God, it’s the mother ship! It’s going to be the gift shop of all gift shops. So we follow the signs, and we drive up to a huge complex with those barbed-wire loops—a very-unpleasant looking place. We pull up to a gatehouse and sit there for a while until we realize nobody’s there. So we drive around and there’s another gatehouse, and this time the arm is up, but again there’s nobody there! Finally, we come upon a parking lot where we see a couple of cars, so we assume the gift shop must be nearby, and park, and there is a metal door in a big brick wall. We walk up to it, and we open the door … and it’s the yard—filled with prisoners! Staring at us. Michael kind of hangs back at the door, but I say, Excuse me, but could you tell me where the gift shop is? There’s dead silence, and finally this prisoner says, There ain’t no fucking gift shop, lady! And I say, Oh, thank you. And we leave, and we close the door, and we drive away, and to this day, it’s like, What? And I still have no explanation for it. I know it’s like saying aliens stuck an anal probe in my ass and took me up to the spaceship. But, I swear to you, that happened.

Eat It: OMG, this is good: Chicken Mafe, aka Senegalese Chicken

OMG, this is ridiculously good: Chicken mafe, a Senegalese chicken dish, straight out of the 1/31/16 issue of the NY Times magazine. This is also known as chicken with peanut butter, tomato paste, fish sauce, garlic, onion, carrots, green cabbage, sweet potato and white potatoes. I used two pounds of boneless chicken thighs, instead of bone-in chicken, and used four cups chicken broth and two cups of water, instead of the six cups of water the recipe recommended. I skipped the rice, figuring the potatoes were enough starch, and also skipped the Scotch Bonnet chile slices, because the men in my life have tender mouths. I think this might be the richest and most delicious chicken I have ever made, or eaten. Get a spoon. The sauce is awesome. 1-inch piece of ginger, peeled


2 pounds bone-in chicken, skin removed (I used two pounds, boneless thighs)
6 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 medium onion, diced
3 tablespoons fish sauce
6 ounces tomato paste
1 cup creamy unsweetened peanut butter (I used Skippy)
½ pound green cabbage, cut into 2-inch wedges
3 medium carrots, peeled, cut in 2-inch lengths (I used baby carrots)

Kosher salt and black pepper
Crushed red-pepper flakes

1 medium sweet potato
12 ounces waxy potatoes, like Yukon Gold (I used seven potatoes and this was enough)
Scotch Bonnet chile slices, to taste (optional, I skipped))
White rice, cooked, for serving (I skipped, there was enough starch with the potatoes)

Finely mince 6 cloves garlic and the ginger with a pinch of salt, plenty of black pepper and crushed red-pepper flakes to taste. Season chicken all over with salt, and rub with the garlic mixture. Marinate for three hours or overnight, refrigerated.
Finely chop the remaining 6 cloves of garlic. In a large Dutch oven, heat the oil over medium-high heat. When it is hot, add the onion, chopped garlic, 2 teaspoons kosher salt and cook, stirring, for 3 minutes, until the onion is starting to become translucent. Stir in the fish sauce, then the tomato paste, and cook, stirring, for 3 minutes, until the paste and onions have combined and are a shade darker. Stir in 6 cups water, scraping up any browned bits. (I used four cups chicken broth, two cups water.)
Add the chicken, bring to a boil and turn heat down to a moderate simmer. In a mixing bowl, stir a cup of the cooking liquid into the peanut butter, a splash at a time, to loosen it. Pour the peanut butter mixture into the pot, and simmer for 20 minutes. Add the cabbage and carrots, and simmer 10 minutes. Peel and cut the sweet potato and waxy potatoes into 11/2-inch chunks, add them and simmer 30 minutes, until the vegetables and chicken are tender and the sauce is like a very thick gravy. (The oil will be separating in the sauce.) If the chicken and vegetables are tender but the sauce is still a little loose, remove them, and let the sauce cook down. Add the chile if using. Taste, adjust seasoning with salt and serve over white rice

Eat It: Mississippi Roast, for Mom and Maria

I hauled out our slow cooker and made this “Mississippi Roast” from the front page of 1/25/16 issue of NY Times Food section a few nights ago. My neighbor Laura Paul Kessler made it last week and gave us her leftover pepperoncini peppers. I sliced them up, included the buttermilk and skipped the flour before browning. This was absolutely delicious but too vinegary for the men in my life so I shared with my mom and our housekeeper Maria and kept a nice heap for myself. I made it with egg noodles but probably should have served it with rolls to absorb more of the heat. It was even better cold the next day. Five days later, it’s still delish. If you make this and don’t want it too vinegary, DON’T SLICE UP THE PEPPERONCINI PEPPERS. Leave them whole.


1 boneless chuck roast or top or bottom round roast, 3 to 4 pounds
2 teaspoons kosher salt, plus more to taste
1 ½ teaspoons freshly ground black pepper, plus more to taste
¼ cup all-purpose flour (I skipped the flour and it browned fine with out it)
3 tablespoons neutral oil, like canola
6 tablespoons unsalted butter
8 to 12 pepperoncini (If you won’t dish too vinegary, don’t slice up pepperconcinia and use 8, not 12)
2 tablespoons mayonnaise
2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
½ teaspoon dried dill
¼ teaspoon sweet paprika
1 teaspoon buttermilk, optional*
Chopped parsley, for garnish

  • Note on buttermilk: (I made the buttermilk but added way too much vinegar. If you make buttermilk from scratch, use a light hand with the vinegar here. Recipe for buttermilk: 1 tablespoon vinegar or lemon juice, 1 cup milk. Mix. Let stand five minutes before using.)

Place roast on a cutting board and rub the salt and pepper all over it. Sprinkle the flour all over the seasoned meat and massage it into the flesh.
Heat the oil in a large sauté pan set over high heat until it is shimmering and about to smoke. Place the roast in the pan and brown on all sides, 4 to 5 minutes a side, to create a crust. Remove roast from pan and place it in the bowl of a slow cooker. Add the butter and the pepperoncini to the meat. Put the lid on the slow cooker, and set the machine to low.
As the roast heats, make a ranch dressing. Combine the mayonnaise, vinegar, dill and paprika in a small bowl and whisk to emulsify. Add the buttermilk if using, then whisk again. Remove the lid from the slow cooker and add the dressing. Replace the top and allow to continue cooking, undisturbed, for 6 to 8 hours, or until you can shred the meat easily using 2 forks. Mix the meat with the gravy surrounding it. Garnish with parsley, and serve with egg noodles or roast potatoes, or pile on sandwich rolls, however you like.

Eat It: Veal Chops and Rosemary Butter

I have been on a rosemary tear lately. I’ve also been using my cast iron skillet like crazy. It’s suddenly a very cold winter and the cast iron skillet cozies things up. My mother gave me a rosemary tree a few weeks ago and even though it died, it reminded me of how delicious rosemary smells, of happiness and love. Over the weekend, I bought fresh rosemary and thyme, made this marvelous rosemary chicken, then forgot about those fresh herbs. Yesterday afternoon—cold, grey, middle of the week, teenage boys bouncing around the house in their boxer shorts, heads bobbing over iPhones and laptops, losing their retainers, asking for math tutors and toothpaste—-I decided to clean out the freezer and cook down the chicken carcasses I’d been saving into broth. I threw baby carrots, a white onion and the leftover rosemary chicken into a pot with the old bones and made a pot of egg noodles to go with it. That was enough was dinner. I was tired of taking care of everyone. Then, I went back to the freezer to see what else I could unload. There were veal chops! My friend Terri, who introduces me to everything beautiful and delicious, had organized a delivery of meat from Florence Meat Market the week before Christmas. I had ordered veal chops, and forgotten about them. Now white butcher’s paper was sticking to them and they were frozen solid, but I had made an easy and delicious version of them with rosemary and thyme back in November. If I made them tonight, I would have reason to open a bottle of wine, chop up some rosemary and make everyone in the house happy. My younger son, who at first didn’t want any, asked for seconds. My older son grinned when he saw what we were having for dinner and said, “Mom, this is good.” Sometimes I’m a writer looking for solitude, sometimes I’m a mom, relieved that feeding my sons gives me such pleasure. Happy January.

Veal Chops With Rosemary Butter

(original recipe by Dorie Greenspan, adapted from Bon Appetit)



1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
2 1/2 teaspoons minced fresh rosemary, divided
1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme, divided
Pinch of salt
4 12-ounce veal rib chops, each about 1 inch thick
4 tablespoons olive oil, divided

1 4-inch-long fresh rosemary sprig
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 cup dry white wine
1/2 cup low-salt chicken broth


Set oven to 375 degrees.

Make the rosemary butter: Whisk butter, 1 teaspoon rosemary, 1/4 teaspoon thyme, and pinch of salt in small bowl to blend. Wrap rosemary butter in plastic wrap, forming 1 1/2-inch-diameter log. Chill. (Can be made 1 week ahead. Keep refrigerated.)

Get chops ready: Arrange chops in single layer in large baking dish. Drizzle with 2 tablespoons olive oil. Sprinkle with remaining 1 1/2 teaspoons rosemary and 3/4 teaspoon thyme. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Rub oil and seasonings into chops. (Cover with plastic wrap and chill. Can be prepared 1 day ahead.)  Let stand at room temperature 1 hour before continuing.

Cook the chops: Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in heavy large skillet over medium-high heat. Add rosemary sprig and garlic. Sauté until garlic is fragrant but not brown, about 2 minutes. Discard rosemary sprig and garlic. (I did not discard them, since I like their flavors so much.) Increase heat to high. Add chops; cook until chops are browned and meat thermometer inserted horizontally into center reads 130°F, about 2 minutes per side (4 minutes altogether on stovetop).

Transfer chops to plate. Pour off drippings from pan. Reduce heat to medium-high. Add wine to skillet and cook until reduced to about 2 teaspoons, scraping up browned bits, about 30 seconds. Add chicken broth; cook until reduced to about 2 tablespoons, about 30 seconds.

Now, put chops back into skillet and transfer chops to oven—careful, skillet handle is hot and heavy!

Keep chops in oven for 5 minutes, then take chops out, flip and cook for 7 minutes more (12 minutes altogether in oven.)

Drizzle sauce over chops.

Cut rosemary butter into 4 slices.* Place 1 slice atop each chop and serve.

  • Note: This is a lot of rosemary butter. I used about half of it and put the rest of it back in the fridge. The nice thing is that you now have rosemary butter in the fridge and will use it for something else.

Florence Meat Market  
Sawdust covers the floor of this area go-to specializing in custom-cut aged meats since 1936.
Address: 5 Jones St # 1, New York, NY 10014
Phone:(212) 242-6531
Hours: 8:30 AM – 6:30 PM

Eat It: Sweet Potato Candy

I made these because I really wanted to eat chocolate. For a year, I did something called the Whole Life Challenge. On this challenge, you can have as much butter as you want but you can’t have processed sugar.  I developed high cholesterol, which was bad, but I mostly gave up sugar, which was good, and surprising, because I was a serious sugar junkie. I don’t really miss it. Except when I do. Tonight I did. Tonight, I wanted to eat the dozens of chocolate covered almonds that were hiding in the freezer, some old brownies, and the milk chocolate covered marshmallow that my mother had given my kids a year ago. There were also boxes of Scharffen Berger and Russell Stover chocolates and a macaron from Ladurée sitting on the counter, a pile of goodies that various sadistic, well-meaning people had given us in December. Afraid of what I was capable of, I sliced up two sweet potatoes, poured a couple of tablespoons of olive oil on them, doused them with salt and pepper and roasted them at high heat. That sweet potato party killed my candy craving.Unknown-9

Sweet Potato Candy


Two sweet potatoes

2-3 tablespoons olive oil*

Salt and pepper to taste.

Set oven to 450 degrees.

Slice sweet potatoes thin with a sharp knife. Place on baking sheet. Douse with olive oil, salt and pepper, and roast for 30 minutes.


* You can substitute coconut oil for olive oil, and douse the sweet potatoes with sweet or smoked paprika. They are equally delicious this way.

Eat It: Steak at High Heat

It’s the beginning of the New Year and I want to just get on with it. Back to work, back to school, everyone out of the house, let’s go. My older son is home from college, which means I have two teenage boys in the house, plus my husband, an honorary teenage boy. Dinner is lasagna, rosemary roast chicken, risotto, steak, make it fast, keep it coming, reheat it whatever’s left over from last night, just put out some food, everyone is hungry and it’s cold outside. Flank steak is one of my favorite dishes to make, for them and for me. You marinate it in the morning, grill or broil it in the early evening, and it’s even better the next day, cold, with your fingers. I’ve been making the same flank steak recipe for years and a few weeks ago, decided to switch things up. I found this soy sauce-and-honey flank steak recipe on line. It is easy-as-pie. You probably have all the ingredients in your pantry and fridge. I’ve experimented with broiling the steak for 11-12 minutes—five or six minutes on each side—and now I’ve adopted Cal Peternell’s approach—five minutes in a hot cast-iron skillet, followed by seven minutes in an oven set to 450 degrees. If you make up the marinade in the morning, dinner is ready in under 15 minutes. Which on these short, dark days, is about all I can manage. As you can see from the picture, our dog is waiting for a piece to drop. Not tonight, love.Unknown-8
Flank Steak in Winter

Marinade Ingredients:
1/3 cup olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 Tbsp red wine vinegar
1/3 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup honey
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Other ingredients:
2 pounds flank steak
1. Combine the marinade ingredients in a large non-reactive bowl (I used glass.). Place steak in the bowl and turn so that it is completely coated with the marinade. (You can also place the steak and marinade in a freezer bag and place it in a bowl.) Chill and marinate for at least 2 hours and up to overnight.

2. Either turn your broiler on and plan to broil the steak for five to six minutes on each side.


Turn your oven on to 450 degrees. Wait about fifteen minutes and then put your cast iron skillet on the burner and let it get very hot. Add a little of the marinade to the skillet so that it covers the bottom. Then put steak on skillet for five minutes. Turn it over, and place skillet in oven for 7 minutes. (Be sure to use a mitt when touching the handle of your skillet since it will be very hot.)

3. Take steak out of oven and let sit for a few minutes before carving. If you are using a meat thermometer, it will be 125-130 degrees for rare, 140 degrees for medium rare and 150 degrees for medium.

4. Bring extra marinade to a boil and let it simmer for a couple of minutes.

Eat It: Cast Iron Skillet Roast Chicken with Rosemary Butter

Unknown-6 This is the easiest roast chicken you will ever make. Ever. I found the recipe on page 204 in Cal Peternell’s wonderful book, Twelve Recipes. Peternell, a chef at Chez Panisse in Berkeley, relies heavily on a cast iron skillet and I decided that so should I. I made this recipe for the first time a few weeks ago and couldn’t believe how delicious and easy it was. Today is a grey Saturday afternoon, the first in January. I came home from yoga teacher training and my kids and husband were parked in front of their computers. My husband said he wanted to see “Star Wars” tonight. I really didn’t. My older son wanted to see two movies, back to back, and of course, neither was “Star Wars.” My younger son, who is usually totally up for a movie, wasn’t sure he wanted to see one since he had a big geometry test coming up. I decided we all needed a better attitude—it’s Saturday night, and the New Year, people!—and the house needed a better smell, at least literally. Cast iron skillet roast chicken with rosemary to the rescue. At a minimum, it would give us something to eat before we headed out for the movies.

Cast Iron Skillet Roast Chicken with Rosemary (You will need a cast iron skillet for this recipe.)


1 3-4 pound chicken

Salt and pepper

1/2 stick of butter

Fresh rosemary, chopped up (about 1 tablespoon)


Turn oven to 475 degrees. Once it reaches 475 degrees, put cast iron skillet inside. While pan is heating, do the following:

Chop up rosemary. Put in microwavable bowl with half a stick of butter. Microwave for 30 seconds or so.

Wash chicken. Sprinkle with salt and butter. Lay chicken on back, legs up, and cover with rosemary butter, inside and out. Take cast iron skillet out of oven (be careful, it will be extremely hot) and put chicken in it, lets up. Put chicken back in the oven for 20 minutes. When timer goes off, don’t open the oven! Just leave chicken in there for 30 minutes more. (Total time in oven is 50 minutes.) As Peternell writes, “Don’t open the (oven) door and peek, have faith, and the chicken will be done 30 minutes later. This is for a 3 1/2-4 pound chicken—bigger or smaller, adjust the oven-off time by 5 minutes.) When it is done, brace yourself. This is magnificent chicken.

Eat it: Curried Deviled Eggs a la Bergdorf Goodman

Unknown-1I made these curried devils eggs for the New Year’s party that my brother and sister-in-law have been having for 15 years now. The recipe came courtesy of my friend @suzanneturnerbg and the Bergdorf Goodman cookbook (p. 37), which she sent me for Christmas/Chanukah/whatever we celebrate in December. I didn’t have a piping bag, so used a little plastic bag and snipped off the corner, which the cookbook taught me how to do. So brilliant. My mother loves deviled eggs and she loved these. So did everyone else who sat around the kitchen, drinking and eating that night. Happy New Year’s to all and especially those who love to eat. Xo


Curried Deviled Eggs from Bergdorf Goodman Cookbook

Yield: 12 hors d’oeuvres

The deviled egg can be found in recipes dating as far back as Roman antiquity, and this creamy, curry-infused version remains eternally popular at BG. As the saying goes, “the devil is in the details,” so round up the best-quality ingredients and add your own flair with a colorful garnish.

6 large eggs

3 teaspoons best-quality mayonnaise

2 teaspoons sweet pickle relish

1 teaspoon curry powder

½ teaspoon Tabasco sauce, or to taste

Pinch of kosher salt

Fresh parsley, paprika or pancetta crisps (optional) (I used paprika)

1. Place the eggs in a large saucepan and cover with cold water. Bring the water to a gentle boil, cover, remove from the heat, and set the timer for 10 minutes. Rinse the eggs under cold water and peel off the shells.

2. Cut the eggs in half. Gently remove the yolks and put them in a food processor. Set the whites on a plate, hollow side up.

3. Add the mayonnaise, relish, curry, Tabasco and salt to the yolks and process until smooth. Place the yolk mixture in a piping bag and pipe into the egg-white halves. (If you don’t have a piping bag, simply spoon the yolk mixture into a small plastic bag and snip off a tiny corner.) Garnish each with a sprig of fresh parsley, a pinch of paprika or a pancetta crisp (if desired).


Eat It: Shrimp with Cumin, with and for my husband

My husband loves this dish. I made it for his birthday, which always coincides with Thanksgiving. If his birthday comes before Thanksgiving, I make a big batch of this and then serve the leftovers as appetizers
before the main event. These shrimp are delicious hot or cold. This recipe comes from my book, Sweet Survival: Tales of Cooking & Coping, from the essay, “Exit Husband, Enter Shrimp.” It was the essay I was most afraid to publish because it revealed our truth: Marriage is a Marathon. I might write about that next.


Eat It: Radishes with anchovy oil: Yum or Yuch? Yum!

You either love strongly flavored food like this or you don’t. I love it. This recipe is made up of radishes in anchovy oil, garlic, lemon juice and butter. The night I made these, I was the only one in my house who liked this kind of food and I could probably have polished them all off in under five minutes but I showed a modicum of restraint and the next day, shared them with the people who were coming for Thanksgiving and also love the salty, strong stuff. I found this in the NY Times Food section, Thanksgiving Vegetables Get Freshened Up.Unknown-4

1 (2.8-ounce) jar oil-packed anchovies, drained
⅓ cup plus 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
½ garlic clove, grated
2 bunches radishes with fresh greens (1 1/2 pounds), preferably French breakfast radishes
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
2 teaspoons chopped parsley
1 ½ teaspoons lemon juice, more to taste
Nutritional Information

In a small saucepan over very low heat, combine anchovies and 1/3 cup olive oil. Cook, stirring occasionally, until anchovies have melted into the oil, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in garlic.
Clean the radishes thoroughly under running water, leaving any nice greens attached if possible; drain and dry very well. Leave smaller radishes whole and halve any large ones lengthwise.
Heat oven to 400 degrees. Heat a very large ovenproof skillet over medium-high heat. Add the remaining 3 tablespoons oil. Add the radishes in a single layer. Cook, without moving, until undersides are golden brown, 3 to 5 minutes. Flip radishes and transfer skillet to oven. Cook until radishes are tender enough to be easily pierced with a knife, 10 to 20 minutes, depending on size of radishes.
Return skillet to stove top over medium-high heat. Toss with anchovy oil, butter, parsley and lemon juice. Serve warm.