Get out your big stockpot, fill it with water and have your lobster-claw crackers ready.

Want to be a better home cook? Learn how to use a knife.

For my mother, who was raised on a Nebraska farm, making ice cream was a much loved ritual. My sister and I and assorted friends would pile into the car and set off with my mom to buy all the ingredients - eggs, cream, rock salt, a big bag of ice - and hurry straight back before the ice melted.

If you want a sauvignon blanc that tastes like the Loire's Sancerre - citrusy, scented of minerals and finishing with zippy acidity - you can buy it from Chile. If you want a sauvignon blanc that's like those from the warmed vineyards of California - a sort of "melon water," soft and pliable on the tongue - you can buy it from Chile. If you want a sauvignon blanc such as that from Bordeaux, with the unctuous texture brought to it from a healthy dollop of semillon in the blend, you can buy it from Chile (without the semillon).

It's the quintessential potluck food: seven-layer salad. With its layers of iceberg lettuce, peas, tomatoes, onions, cheddar cheese, bacon and mayonnaise, it's colorful, crunchy and creamy all in one bite.

What a yummy summer recipe; perfect for alfresco dining too. Summer-weight red wines would match up nicely, especially those that could take a slight chill: low tannin, crisply finishing reds from places where drinking cooled-down reds come summer isn't anything odd. Sure, a white or two might be nice here, but nothing beats a red's ability to wipe fat from the palate with its tannin, or to match up hefty flavors on the plate with the same in the glass. Plus, a slight chill perks up the aromas and tastes better than serving the same red at room temperature.

Dear SOS: My husband took me for a birthday dinner at Casa Cordoba, a new Spanish restaurant in Montrose, Calif. Its olive chicken was fabulous! It satisfied my husband's preference for comfort food and mine for nuance. Can you get the recipe? I would love to know how the restaurant got the chicken so tender and so infused with flavor.

After a recent screening of "The Hundred-Foot Journey," a moviegoer turned to me and asked if I had ever tasted sea urchin.

Q: I bought an unlined copper preserving pot in Belgium many years ago. Is it safe to use for jams and jellies, or should I just use it to decorate my kitchen?

It's the bruschetta phase of summer for Ariel Pressman, which makes him a happy farmer. He stands in his field with row upon row of tomato plants, like a backyard gardener who got carried away. Fifteen rows of tomato plants, in fact, each 300 feet long. By the end of the season, he expects to harvest 1,000 pounds per bed, if the weather cooperates.

Describe honey. It's not as simple as you may think.

Q. I used to make one of your recipes all the time when my children were in elementary school and we were always having to take a dish to PTA potlucks. It was easy and everyone loved it - a Tex-Mex thing with chicken. I remember it fed a bunch from a single chicken.

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