Fruitcake, Fermentation by Another Name

ld We never eat fruitcake because it has rum, And one little slice puts a man on the bum. Oh, can you imagine the pitiful plight Of a man eating fruitcake until he gets tight? A man who eats fruitcake lives a terrible life. He`s mean to his children and beats on his wife. A…

Nutty as a …*

The worst gift is fruitcake. There is only one fruitcake in the entire world, and people keep sending it to each other. ~~ Johnny Carson ~~ It’s like liver: either you love it or you hate it. What? Fruitcake, that’s what. Just to prove a point, a few years back some enterprising journalists conducted a…

Poor Harry: Thanksgiving in the Truman White House 1946

President Harry S. Truman found himself on the slimming end of things in 1946. The New York Times reported that Truman’s menus seemed a bit austere and quoted White House housekeeper, Mrs. Mary E. Sharpe, as saying “When I make up menus I keep it in mind.” “It” being President’s Truman’s ongoing battle of the…

Día de los Muertos (Todos Santos)/ Day of the Dead Food-Laden Altars

(Note: The italicized portion of the following article is an excerpt from something I wrote for an encyclopedia on the history of dining and entertaining, Entertaining from Ancient Rome to the Super Bowl, Greenwood Press, 2008.) In Mexico, the Día de los Muertos (Todos Santos) (Day of the Dead/All Saints’ Day) resembles the norteamericano Halloween…

The Harvest Months

The frost descended on the pumpkin the other night and in the early morning light, as I drove around the curving roads of rural Virginia, a dozen cows stood silhouetted and blanketed in thick white fog. Eerily outlined against the fading green of the sparse grass they munched, for some reason those cows reminded me…

Warts and All: Cooks as Witches, Witches as Cooks

The cauldron , symbol of cooking, food, and nourishment. And of the basest, most primal horrors imaginable, the power of the Dark Arts, magic, and blasphemy. Everyone who’s ever read Shakespeare’s “Macbeth” recalls THE scene, the one with the three witches stirring the pot, chanting. FIRST WITCH: Round about the cauldron go; In the poison’d entrails throw….

Happy Hogmanay!

Perplexed as to what to serve for New Year’s Eve? Look no further than Scotland’s Hogmanay – or New Year’s Eve – celebration, rich in history (read more HERE), with just the right touch of ancient practices. Raucous, animal-skin dressed revelers call to mind Viking invaders of the 9th and 10th centuries, Hogmanay a substitute…

Happy Christmas 2015!

I wish all of you the very best Christmas, no matter where you cook! Thank you all for everything and inspiring me to keep on writing about my favorite subject: food.