Food, the Dog Days of Summer, and a Few Other Shocking Facts

The dog days of summer arrive, as they always do, abruptly and relentless with a seemingly never-ending swelter.  Visions of panting tongues and listless tails crowd my thoughts. But what does that phrase have to do with summer heat? A quick glance at an etymological source informs me that real, breathing dogs played no role in the … More Food, the Dog Days of Summer, and a Few Other Shocking Facts

Pears – an Exploration of Ancient Food Preservation

The soft, beguiling fragrance permeates the air, rising above the aroma of the Jonagolds and the Galas, even over the sweet perfume of the Golden Delicious apples piled in baskets, resembling yellow baseballs. The knobby Bartlett pears (Pyrus communis), also known as the Williams pear, still slightly green but with a small and promising pink … More Pears – an Exploration of Ancient Food Preservation

In My Grandfather’s Garden, or, a Long Apothegm on Apricots

I don’t really remember my grandfather very well, for he died just a month before I turned 14. Yet he left a legacy that lies hidden deep in my brain, a usually dormant place where I apparently shelve all my food memories. But in the right circumstances, and with the right stimulus, that place – … More In My Grandfather’s Garden, or, a Long Apothegm on Apricots

Sour and Bitter Blended in the Soup of Wu:* Very Early Chinese Herbals

For years, I’ve been carting around a number of books about Chinese medicine and food, fascinated by the ancient linkage of food with medicine (similar in some regards to the Ayurvedic system of India). As you can imagine, getting down to the bone on this matter is not an easy proposition, given the lack of … More Sour and Bitter Blended in the Soup of Wu:* Very Early Chinese Herbals

Feasting in State: Obama’s First Real State Dinner

In the next week, we will see real-time examples of a few of the different types of feasts common to American culture: Thanksgiving — essentially a harvest feast tinged with overtones of cultural identity — and President Barack Obama’s first true State Dinner, to be held on November 24, 2009 for India’s Prime Minister Manmohan … More Feasting in State: Obama’s First Real State Dinner