The Zen of Artichokes

I love autumn. If it’s not the leaves and all the color, then I find poignancy in the drying and dying weeds littering the ground. They embody survival to me. One plant I particularly love is a thistle-like plant, filled with tiny seeds attached to billowy white parachutes. The least puff of wind forces the…

The Curse of Corn: Poverty and Politics and Pellagra

Dr. Joseph Goldberger stands watching the children eating. He’s about to prove his hunch that pellagra occurred in the face of nutritional deprivation. He devoted years to discovering what caused the curse of corn, pellagra. Although the fat cats in the South of the time, and we’re talking early 20th-century here, didn’t want to spend…

Unquenchable: Natalie MacLean’s Terrific New Book on Wine

If, like me – overwhelmed by the hundreds of possible choices in front of you at the grocery store or local wine shop – you’ve ever stood in front of the endless shelves of stunning wine bottles and felt like just closing your eyes and grabbing a bottle, any bottle (preferably one on the lower…

Lemons – Tiny Cathedrals of Gold

Lemons, their pitted, nay, prehistoric, skins secreting golden oil, Shielding sourness, evoking memories of a grandmother’s kitchen, A grandfather’s garden. Born in the East, fruitful India, A kiss of cold, albeit fleeting, spawns the yellow Immortalized  in stone, paint, and clay. A fruit reverenced, Blossoming from mountain and lake, Urging cooks to slice, pierce, and…

Seduced by Spaghetti

Continued from Still Mi Amore — Wild Abandonment Among the Tomatoes and Zucchini: Shall I not have intelligence with the earth? Am I not partly leaves and vegetable mould myself? ~~ Henry David Thoreau ~~ Only when I studied the culinary heritage of Catholicism did I pay deeper attention to Italian food. The saints’ days…

In a Kitchen Far, Far Away …

Once upon a time, in a kitchen far, far away … A neophyte Italian cook opened up Marcella Hazan’s The Classic Italian Cook Book: The Art of Italian Cooking and the Italian Art of Eating and two handsome princes swore eternal love over an ethereal pasta roll stuffed with spinach and ricotta.* That’s how the…