Luis Egidio Meléndez: Still Life of Oranges, Watermelon, a Pot, and Boxes of Cake, ca. 1760 The thorn-like spines on the stems nicked me. I had no idea orange trees bore thorns, like the crown of Christ on the cross. And like Christ on the cross, I bled. Sucking my finger, I yelped, and Daddy … More Oranges, Florida’s Gold
Florida experienced a “gold rush” almost as soon as the first Spanish soldier spit out an orange seed and kept marching through the palmetto and myrtle oak in 1513. It’s no mystery as to why California and Florida became dominant citrus-growing regions. Moors (Arabs) ruled Spain for over 800 years, and citrus – particularly oranges … More The Second Gold Rush: Citrus Crate Labels
Haiti, it is said, is the place to discover how much can be done with little. ~ Wade Davis Like Julia Child with her sole meunière at La Coronne in Rouen, I remember the first meal I ate in Haiti. Flickering lights in the darkness below outlined the curves of Port-au-Prince, a … More Epis, the Haitian Condiment You Never Knew You Needed
Easter traditions in Haiti include kite flying, rara bands, and food. Soaring in the wind, simple, colorful kites express the longing to transcend the quotidian. And rara brings music, tapped out on metal instruments, many rough and angular, hewn from scraps of metal and old oil drums. As for food, Haitian Poisson gros sel (Rock … More Flying Kites, Rara Bands, and Poisson Gros Sel: Easter Season in Haiti
“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 … More Carnevale Goeth: Dipping into Austerity via Cucina di Magro
Fritters and Carnevale, lumped together like ham and eggs, mashed potatoes and gravy, risi e bisi, rice and beans. Ricotta fritters, to be exact. True, most people associate ricotta fritters more with St. Joseph’s Day, March 19 in Italy. But those fritters lean toward the filled variety, sweetened, creamy ricotta delivering a tantalizing surprise with … More Carnevale Cometh: Ricotta and Fritters, Oh My Goodness!
And now for the food of Carnival, as interpreted by cooks in what is now Italy. (See previous post on Carnival for more history.) Greasy, fatty, protein-rich, oozing with cheese or sugar, the dishes created for Martedi Grasso (Mardi Gras, Fat Tuesday) served a higher purpose than merely feeding hungry stomachs: the severe Lenten proscriptions … More Carnivale Cometh, Again: Sumptuous Lasagne di Carnevale
Some pumpkin-laden advice from Janet McKenzie Hill, sounding like the Martha Stewart of a much earlier generation in her Practical Cooking and Serving: a Complete Manual of How to Select, Prepare, and Serve Food (1902, p. 566): CENTREPIECE OF FRUIT FOR THANKSGIVING DINNER OR HARVEST FESTIVAL [Halloween] Select a golden-colored, medium-sized, well-shaped pumpkin. With a … More Saints, Souls, and Haints: Here Come the Pumpkins