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Cooking During COVID

Sam Sifton on one of his stops to The Today Show.


Join Sam Sifton, founding editor of the New York Times Cooking app, to hear about the joys and frustrations of home cooking during COVID.  For the last year, he has been working — and cooking — at home, and that is where Sifton will speak from virtually on Thursday, March 11 at 4 p.m. for the final BIG ARTS Talking Points presentation of the season.

As a former chief restaurant critic for The New York Times, Sifton knew that chefs would often tell stories to their line cooks, describing a dish in a kind of shorthand, leaving the line cooks to execute the chef’s desires.  It prompted him to begin to experiment with his own “stories,” and that led to weekly “no recipe, recipe” ideas included in his four-times-a-week newsletter.

Sifton started simply, working off a photo or idea or something he found inspiring, and discovered no-recipe stories were “super super fun.”  On March 16, his newest book, “No-Recipe Recipes,” will be released from Ten Speed Press. 

He has a long relationship with Sanibel. Sifton’s grandparents lived on island before a bridge existed, finding it a haven from their harsh Maine winters.  It was an especially good climate for his grandfather, whose lungs were damaged by mustard gas while fighting in World War I.  Later, his mother lived on Sanibel.

Sifton’s area visits beyond Sanibel have included Captiva, North Captiva, Useppa and Cabbage Key; and today his in-laws live in Bonita Springs. NYT Cooking, a digital recipe collection, even includes a Sanibel recipe: Doc Ford’s popular Yucatan Shrimp.

Formerly The Times’s food editor, national news editor, chief restaurant critic and culture news editor, Sifton is also the author of “See You on Sunday: A Cookbook for Family and Friends” and “Thanksgiving: How to Cook It Well.”

Tickets for his virtual presentation are available at www.bigarts.org for $20.  For more information, call 239-395-0900.


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