Some food writers achieve success beyond recipes and cookbooks. MFK Fisher. (1908-1992) for example, earned a place among the great American authors (How To Cook a Wolf, The Art of Eating, Consider The Oyster…). Nora Ephron (1941-2012), is another (Silkwood, I Feel Bad About My Neck, When Sally Met Harry, Sleepless in Seattle, Julie and Julia…). Her semi-autobiographical novel, Heartburn (1986), is the painful-to-read, but hilarious account of the end of her second marriage; the story revolves around a stolen wedding ring and a recipe for salad dressing.

After Nora’s fictionalized self, Rachel Samstat, discovered that her husband was in love with someone else, she suspected that he only stayed with her because she wouldn’t tell him how to make her famous vinaigrette. “Even now, I cannot believe Mark would want to risk losing that vinaigrette. You just don’t bump into vinaigrettes that good.” She eventually showed him how to make it, but only after she had given up all hope of getting him to love her again and irrevocably finalized the decision by smashing a Key lime pie in his face.

The vinaigrette recipe is revealed on the next to the last page of the book. It is a gem—three ingredients and five minutes, max, start to finish.

Quotes from Nora Ephron:

“Sea salt comes in an itty-bitty dish with an itty-bitty spoon. You always spill it trying to move it from the dish to the food on your plate, but that’s the least of it: it doesn’t really function as salt. It doesn’t dissolve and make your food taste saltier; instead, it sits like little hard pebbles on top of it. Also, it scratches your tongue.”

“You can never have too much butter – that is my belief. If I have a religion, that’s it,” From an NPR interview about her 2009 movie, Julie & Julia.

“Secret to Life: Marry an Italian.” Her six-word biography in Not Quite What I Was Planning: Six-Word Memoirs by Writers Famous and Obscure


Just three ingredients and about five minutes for an amazing, home-made vinaigrette. Nora recommends serving it over gutsy greens; I find it useful for much more. Stir it into the mashed yolks along with a little chopped red onion for terrific stuffed eggs. Use it as a dip for crudities or as a sauce for roasted vegetables, chops, or steak,. It will keep without separating in the refrigerator.

Nora says, “This makes a very strong vinaigrette that’s perfect for salad greens like arugula and watercress and endive.”


  • 2 tablespoons Grey Poupon mustard
  • 2 tablespoons good red wine vinegar
  • 6 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil


Mix mustard and vinegar. Add the olive oil in a thin stream, whisking constantly with a fork until thick and creamy.

Serving size: 1 tablespoon
Calories: 75; Fat: 8.1 g; Protein: 0 g; Carbs: 0 g; Fiber: 0 g; Net Carbs: 0g

(c) 2017, Judy Barnes Baker

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Judy Barnes Baker

The working title for my first book was, “You’ll Never Know What You Are Missing.” It summed up my goal: to make eating for health synonymous with eating for pleasure. Once you discover the secret, you will find that the very best food for weight management, longevity, the treatment and prevention of disease, and over-all health and happiness is also the most sumptuous, satisfying, and indulgent way of eating the world has to offer. You are invited to the feast. Enjoy!
0 0 votes
Article Rating
Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments