It’s always an adventure to shop for the test kitchen. Because the ingredients can get weirder from week to week, it’s almost like trying to find one needle in many haystacks.

This week’s needle: suckling pig for our upcoming holiday menu. Did I mention I only had two days to find one? After striking out in San Francisco’s Chinatown, I thought back to the research I did several weeks prior on local purveyors, and knew just who to call: Bryan’s. Standing in front of a dim sum restaurant, I grabbed my cell phone and placed the order (most of the local butchers, grocers, and wholesalers are programmed into my phone for just this reason). Suckling pig achieved!

Now I just need to find six pounds of cardoons. New week, new needle.

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