I dedicate this post to the children and the parents, everywhere, especially Newtown, Connecticut. Every year, in December, a marvelous thing happens. At least I think it’s wonderful. And not for the reasons you might think. Christmas comes around, bringing with it a sense of magic in the air, some thing that I felt as a child. And lest you think me not sensitive to the cultural experiences of those who do not celebrate Christmas, I say that no matter […]
Meat eating presents modern society with a bit of a dilemma. How to raise and slaughter large numbers of animals under humane conditions, while keeping the price down and within wallet reach of most consumers? That’s the major issue, tinged with other, often moralistic, questions. First, right up front, I am not a vegetarian, and never will be, despite having fumbled with the idea a few times. My first experience with vegetarianism came about chiefly out of curiosity. The central […]
Alas, we’ve just missed La fête de l’huître, a popular festival that takes place at Riec-sur-Belon, Brittany at the end of July. Maybe next time … For more about oysters, see “Oysters Tales and Pearls of Wisdom.”
In 2011, the event takes place on March 3, thanks to a personal message from the Office of Tourism in Bazas. The day before Lent descends. With a litany of names. Mardi Gras. Fat Tuesday. Boeuf Gras. Shrove Tuesday.* Boeuf Gras? Symbol of the fattened ox, the last meat devoured before Lenten stringency took hold. With roots in the Minotaur and Labyrinth myth. What really drove the Lenten fast? And how did Boeuf Gras begin? During the Middle Ages, and […]
St. Joseph’s Day (March 19) always enthralls me because of the elaborate “tables” that Italian women created in honor of Saint Joseph. In many ways, these “tables” remind me of Mexican Day of the Dead altars. Here’s a link that takes you to a site with first-person accounts of the feast-day celebration and customs.
Amidst the mythology of Saint Patrick’s Day, a little Irish food history to cheer you on your way — be it to stove, pub, or church. John Linnane wrote a wonderful introduction to the history of Irish cuisine before the arrival of the potato. Here he comments on the customs of feasting, very appropriate for St. Patrick’s Day: A feast was an occasion for great celebration and rejoicing, though it could often end in bloodshed as well if a hero […]
“Thin” kitchen, that’s what the “magro” part means here. No, not a galley kitchen. Not a New York loft kitchen. Not even a Paris apartment kitchen. Skinny food. That’s cucina di magro. Vegetables. Legumes. Fish. Fruit. Shellfish. The bones of the Mediterranean diet. No meat, at least none that walks around on four legs. Or even two. Many years ago, out of sheer curiosity and a strange desire to experience gastronomically and historically what people encountered during the forty-day Lenten […]