Amanda Hesser Allowed Back Near Newsprint!

It's a hysterically dark day in the Times' Dining section, as foodie beastlord Amanda Hesser has returned! OK, so technically she never left — she was merely banished to a column in the magazine, which was just hidden enough for us to forget her spoon obsession and comfortably settle in Frank Bruni's warm embrace. But today Hesser is on actual newsprint, in the real dining section.

Unless you count some random Travel piece she wrote on Vietnam late last August, this is the Hessermeister's first honest-to-God, non-magazine Times byline in well over a year. And what does she tell us? That "Thumb-Wrestling With Plantains Is Now an Optional Sport." Oh, good. Thanks, Amanda — we were worried we might be forced into that sort of thing.

Stupid headlines aside, Hesser knows how to write a compelling story: her lede describes an encounter with a "phallic-looking" plantain peeler, which she claims to have hidden in her kitchen drawer — but you know damn well the only drawer that baby ended up in was her nightstand. We dare you to look away.

Thumb-Wrestling With Plantains Is Now an Optional Sport [NYT]