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It was late afternoon, New Year’s Eve, and I was in a panic. Seven friends were coming over, and I decided to cook a grand five-course meal. The main course (Marcella Hazan’s “My Father’s Fish Soup”) called for a food mill...and I do not have a food mill. I have a gazillion other gadgets but none, of course, that would suck out the savory meat and juices from the four gigantic fish heads that were sitting in my broth. What was I going to do?

I suppose I could have searched the Internet for an answer, but that might have taken more time than I had. I could have tried calling the fishmonger, but I knew the fish store had already closed. So? I did something way better: I called Westchester Magazine food writer Julia Sexton. Julia not only wrote this issue’s cover story and many, many other cover stories for us, but she blogs about food and dining (check our “Eater”). You see, Julia is a walking Wikipedia on all things food (she has worked in restaurant kitchens, studied the culinary arts); she knows her stuff.

“Here’s what you do,” Julia told me over the phone. She said to take a colander and forcefully press the heads with the back of a pan or, really, anything else. “Just pound it hard,” she said. “Whack it.” I used a wooden spoon. And? Let’s just say, no one left the party hungry.

I’m lucky to have Julia to call. And frankly, you are lucky, too. ’Cause Julia is very generous—she frequently shares her vast knowledge in our pages and on our website, keeping us well informed on where to eat, what to eat, and (if you have her cellphone number) how to improvise in the kitchen.

Esther Davidowitz
Editor-in-Chief

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