Nora Ephron’s Love of Food

I guess I've always been a food obsessive, and it has gotten worse the older I've gotten.-Nora Ephron

When Nora Ephron passed away a couple months ago, I found myself pretty upset. I never had the chance to meet or correspond with Ephron, but I felt a great loss nonetheless. I adore Nora. If only I could write with her wit and charm. Every book/article/screenplay of hers is so relatable and what’s not love about When Harry Met Sally, Sleepless in Seattle, or You’ve Got Mail? They never get old. Never.

Another side of Ephron that I loved was her ardent worship of food and family recipes, especially meatloaf. She was extremely passionate about her recipe and begged Vanity Fair Editor-in-Chief Graydon Carter to put it on his menu at his exclusive Manhattan restaurant, The Waverly Inn.

It’s evident in all of Nora’s work that she loved writing about food. Think of the script for Julie and Julia and the novel-turned-film, Heartburn. In addition to being an excellent book, every chapter in Heartburn begins with a great recipe. Nora practically pushes her recipes on people. And I, for one, think that’s fine. Recipes don’t seem to get pushed anymore.

I used to work in a food market that specialized in to-go frozen entrees, and they sold like hotcakes. Every day an average of three people would ask me how to re-heat something. Really, you don’t know how to reheat? I know some people aren’t born cooks, but this is a simple matter of hot and cold. I sometimes worry that no one cooks anymore. I know life gets busy and things come up, but we can’t get away from cooking. To-go markets are basically giving us permission to throw in the towel, give up and have meals made for us every night by someone else.

My mother recently gave me her mother’s recipe box and I also have my great grandmother’s recipes. But you know what? I have very few recipes of my own to pass along. In an age where we all use iPads to cook from and the culinary magazine landscape has gone digital, we no longer have those ketchup-stained index cards.

School is back in session and schedules are somewhat “back to normal.” Since it’s the season of learning, why not learn to cook something. Conquer something new. Reinterpret something old. Master it, learn it and pass it on!

My mother taught me how to make this casserole. The original version was really simple but I have “classed” it up a little bit. Enjoy.

Molly’s “Classy” Casserole

• 1 lb of ground turkey
• 6 flour tortillas
• 2 large tomatoes, diced
• 16 oz shredded cheddar cheese
• 2 cans of black beans, rinsed and drained
• 1 bunch of cilantro, chopped
• 1 red onion, diced (optional, I never cared for these, but you might)
• 1 avocado, diced
• Iceberg lettuce, shredded
Cook ground turkey, season with cumin and salt and pepper. Set aside. Heat black beans and mash with potato masher. Add ¼ cup of chopped cilantro to beans. Mix well. Take tortillas and cover bottom of an 8×8 inch glass baking dish. Spread the bean mixture on top of tortillas, followed by turkey, cheese and avocado. Repeat until tortillas are all used. Top with extra cheese and bake at 350 degrees for about 30 minutes. Serve with tomatoes and lettuce on top and serve sauce (recipe follows) on the side.

Avocado Lime Sauce

• 1 avocado, diced
• 8 oz of sour cream
• 1 lime, juiced
• ½ bunch of cilantro, roughly chopped
To make the sauce, place all ingredients in a bowl. Using an immersion blender, or place ingredients in blender and blend until smooth. (I could drink this sauce, also really good as a dip for chips.)
Categories: Family Fun, Food