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Originally published September 21, 2012 at 12:00 PM | Page modified September 26, 2012 at 4:49 PM

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What's cooking? Nancy Leson joins Pacific NW magazine!

Let's talk about food, and family, and favorites, and all good culinary things.

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Glad you're back! I'm looking forward to reading the upcoming articles. MORE
Welcome back Nancy! I missed you. MORE
Thanks, nopollyanna. I'll certainly be writing about restaurants -- and you may... MORE

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WHAT'S COOKING? I'll tell you. It's time for my third act.

After nearly a decade as The Seattle Times restaurant critic and "Taste of the Town" columnist, and several years as the voice behind The Times' food blog, "All You Can Eat," I'm hungry for something different. I'll still be dishing about food and restaurants monthly, in Friday's arts and entertainment section Weekend Plus, but... I want a Sunday kind of love, and I've found it right here.

Starting today, you'll find me most weeks talking "Taste," inviting you to get to know the people, places and things that have long made me proud to be the big-mouthed food fanatic for The Seattle Times.

Or, as chef Maria Hines once called me — to my face — "the grande dame of Seattle food writing."

A dame, I'll cop to. But grande? Hardly. Ask anyone who knows me, as so many of you already do: I'm no fancy Nancy.

Step into my kitchen, a stop we'll frequently make on this page, and you'll learn that my battery de kwazine (pardon my fractured French) is as likely to come from Goodwill (99 cents for a hefty serrated knife stamped J.A. Henckels? Sold!) as it is from a high-end specialty shop (my beloved 5 ½-quart enameled cast-iron Le Creuset Dutch oven).

As the magazine's new Taste-maker, I'll be as apt to contemplate the joys of canned sardines as the joys of Canlis. As willing to wax rhapsodic about my farmers-market finds as my favorite Asian soup-noodle haunts. I'll be tinkering with classic bread recipes (my latest obsession) and re-creating the kind of dishes that make me sit up in a restaurant, make Giada De Laurentiis noises, and say "Hey! I can cook that!" — convinced that you can, too.

I also plan to introduce you to some darling local kids, and the glorious goat cheese made from their mothers' milk. Of course, you'll no doubt hear more about my own kid. He's been cooking since kindergarten, and now that he's a high-school freshman, I expect him to step in for me on workdays, cooking for our family of three between "School's out!" and "Mom's home."

But, oh, the weekend!

There's nothing more delicious, says me, than a Sunday morning spent contemplating what to make for dinner. Preferably while I'm still in bed, a stack of food memoirs and cookbooks at my bedside, a mug of Arabian Mocha-Java in my hand.

Sunday supper might bring something as simple as roast chicken, a bed of carrots doubling as its "roasting rack." Or as adventurous as a Sri Lankan beef curry, perfuming the house with cardamom, coriander and turmeric.

Most of all, I'm excited to share my Sundays with you. So, take a seat at my table. We've got so much to talk about.

See you next week.

Nancy Leson is Pacific NW magazine's food writer. She can be reached at nleson@seattletimes.com. Benjamin Benschneider is the magazine staff photographer.

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