Allen Salkin has been a New York Times staff reporter and written for lots of other outlets (New York Magazine, Details, Edible). He's also done a lot of different jobs and been a lot of places: cast industrial films in Hong Kong, wholesaled rubber duckies in Las Vegas, picked oranges in Crete, peddled oil paintings door-to-door in Western Australia, has a hobby of attending Summer Olympics (been to 7), and, most recently visited Ikaria, know as the island where people live forever. Allen attended U.C. Berkeley (Go Bears! — graduation dinner Chez Panisse downstairs), Calabasas High (pre-Kardashians), and N.Y.U. for a Journalism Masters, and has since taught there. From Scratch is his second book. He wrote Festivus: The Holiday for the Rest of Us, a bit of a lighter affair, a few years ago and still pays the fee to keep festivusbook.com alive.