Black is the colour … “Black is the colour of my true love’s hair, his face is something wondrous fair,” goes a traditional ballad sung in the Appalachian Mountains, with origins likely from Scotland. I started thinking about colors and food when I read of the passing of Irish poet, Seamus Heaney. Heaney wrote of … More Black is the Colour of My … Food
At this time of the year, cookbooks flow like rivers out of publishing houses. The usual stabs at global cuisine are always there, covering everything cooking-related from Vietnam to Persia to Cuba, with the usual obsequious curtsies to France and Italy. Gluten-free and farm fresh crop up, too. But the most interesting trend in … More Cookbooks for the Season: Preserving is the Hot Topic These Days
It’s not REAL mayonnaise. You know the one I mean. Mayonnaise – made with egg yolks, an acidic liquid, a dash of mustard, salt, and oil, usually olive – feels as smooth and soft as a silk pillow, sliding like thickened cream across the tongue. There’re no startled taste buds in the presence of too much … More Real Mayonnaise, Real Food? Or Just Sanctimonious Snobbery?
What does it mean to cook? Some – Harold McGee for example – would say that cooking means to prepare food by heating, while others, such as historian Rachel Laudan, extend the definition to include modes of preparation beyond heating. I tend to agree with the latter and not the former. So, with that sticking point … More Why Do We Cook?
I always take a shopping list with me to the grocery store. But I rarely stick to it, because those marketing experts working for the big chains know just how to entice me into buying things not on my list. That’s probably why most people I see in the grocery store don’t shop with a … More The Grocery List: Color, Primates, and Food Selection
I bought four very green, very hard pears four days ago. Waiting for them to ripen made me think about how quickly everything happens in our lives today. There’s something soothing about watching the ripening process, something profound actually, because no matter how much I might have wanted to make a pear cake, I just … More Waiting for Pears
No, it’s not. That’s your immediate answer, isn’t it? After all, you’ve got more important things to do, don’t you? Or do you? You can live your life without cooking. You can go to your nearest grocery store and bypass all the technology and knowledge that took your ancestors centuries to refine. You can buy … More Is Cooking Necessary?*
A little prickle of recognition, a sense of déjà vu — that’s what happened when I turned to page 86 of A Colonial Plantation Cookbook: The Receipt Book of Harriott Pinckney Horry, 1770 (1984, edited by historian Richard J. Hooker*). There it was: “Ats Jaar, or Pucholilla.” My first thought was, “What is an Indian … More Ats Jaar: Possible Origins of the Practice of Pickling in the Antebellum American South
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