* The Legacy of a Typo: A Meditation on Tomato Gravy

Stirring the flour into bacon drippings, creating a blond roux, and sautéing finely chopped yellow onions in the mixture turned out to be quite an adventure. No, I didn’t burn myself – for once – on the lethal combination of hot fat and flour. No, in the seemingly simple and slow act of making tomato…

Thomas Jefferson: The Francophile Who Became the First U.S. “Foodie”

Thomas Jefferson. President. Scientist. Writer. Man of many passions, some hidden, some not. In his writings and in his actions, food clearly revealed itself as one of those passions. Above all, Jefferson was a Francophile. From the design of his dining room in his house, Monticello, to the gardens surrounding him in the foothills of the…

Ladies of the Pen and the Cookpot: Edna Lewis

Who was Edna Lewis? Why call her an American Idol? Before she wrote The Edna Lewis Cookbook, The Taste of Country Cooking, In Pursuit of Flavor, and co-authored that recent jewel of a book, The Gift of Southern Cooking with chef Scott Peacock, well, Edna Lewis did many things in her long, experience-rich life, including…

Not Your Mama’s Lettuce

I don’t know about you, but I grew up with the ‘berg in the fridge, with a jar of Hellman’s on the side. That was as green as it got (and still gets) in my mom’s kitchen. Iceberg lettuce. Crisp, colorless, flavorless. Usually just a tired limp leaf garnishing a shrimp cocktail or stuck haphazardly…

Honey, I’m Cooking!

As an infant, Zeus, the Greek god of gods, fed on milk and honey, or so the story goes. And in Exodus 3:8 (KJV), Moses states, “And I am come down to deliver them out of the hand of the Egyptians, and to bring them up out of that land unto a good land and…

Good Golly, Miss Molly: Mary Randolph’s Boarding House

In March, 1808, readers of The Richmond Virginia Gazette would have read the following advertisement in the pages of that newspaper: “Mrs. RANDOLPH Has established a Boarding House in Cary Street [Richmond], for the accommodation of Ladies and Gentlemen. She has comfortable chambers, and a stable well supplied for a few Horses.” Author of The…