Remembering the Magic and Wishing for Peace on Earth

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…

The Meat of the Matter: A Question of Sacred Reverence

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…

La fête de l’huître, in Riec-sur-Belon, Brittany

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.”

Boeuf Gras, or, Fat Bull = Fat Tuesday

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….

St. Joseph’s Day

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.

Irish Food History

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…

Carnevale Goeth: A Dip into Austerity and Cucina di Magro

“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…