The Mast-Head: Food, Glorious Food

I don’t remember when or why I picked up a small plastic bottle of anise seed at Mitad del Mundo on North Main Street. I was glad it was in a kitchen cabinet the other evening, when I decided to try my hand at making biscotti.

Jane Bimson, who works in The Star’s front office and who I like to talk with about all things cooking, chided me gently on Monday when I raved about how easy it was. “You’re 55, and you are just now finding out!” she said, as she made a note to bake some biscotti for herself very soon.

Jane is a master in the kitchen. Her sweet pickles brighten our Decembers every year, when she hands out a jar for each person at The Star. I am told Baylis Greene quietly consumes every last slice before the day is out. At birthdays, she always makes carrot cake muffins with cream cheese frosting, leaving them on the office kitchen table to honor the person whose lucky day it is. Because I can’t have dairy products, Jane places a single topping-free muffin on my desk before I get in.

We are an office filled with foodies. Russell Bennett’s wife, Fiona, is a test chef and often sends him in with the most remarkable of treats. Matt Charron’s eats are consistently healthy, and we often talk about that. Jennifer Landes knows all about the restaurants. Laura Donnelly (who does not come into the office often enough) and I could talk for hours about scallops and beach plums. My sister, Bess, who works downstairs on East magazine, is a whiz with desserts and has a massive stash of antique cookbooks.

Kathy Kovach, who used to work here, and Carissa Katz, the manag ing editor, worked in catering on the side for years. I spent several summers selling fish at Claws on Wheels in East Hampton, getting to know the regular customers and making up names for some of them, my favorite the “Pounda Flounda Guy.” Leigh Goodstein, a former reporter, manages the Clam Bar on Napeague. I could go on.

There is a thing, I think, about food and the news business, though I can’t quite put my finger on it. Years ago at a wedding, I met a woman who worked in human resources at The Times who told me they put internship résumés in two piles: those with food service experience and those without. They called in the food service people for interviews. I can see why.