Hoppin’ John, or Dashing Myths Galore

(Due to a foul up with WordPress and dates, this post appeared on December 30. I was not finished with it yet!  But now I am!) Black-eyed peas, a gift to the New World from Africa. These beans were there as early as 1659 at St. Louis, now present-day Senegal, but they actually originated in North Africa, in…

A Bare Table is Like an Artist’s Canvas

There’s something about tables, big, little, or bare – and those bare ones  in particular – that make me want to festoon them with food I’ve cooked, like floral garlands at a grand wedding. I feel an urge, too, to seat people on the equally vacant chairs, saying, “Come on now, sit down a spell,…

Are Pole Beans Like Cows? A Crashing Tale

Pole beans are sort of like cows. If you keep milking a cow, she produces milk. Likewise, if you keep picking pole beans, the plant keeps producing. Pole beans are not like bush beans, which render up a crop and then die back. I call them pole beans, but some people call them flat beans…

If on a Winter’s Night, a Bowl of Garbure

Nights spent huddled by fires snapping  and popping and providing respite from the howling winds and wolves, when you think of the dark and the cold and the danger, don’t you — all snuggled up in your down comforter or quilt passed down from your great-grandmother — feel a slight shiver? Of déjà vu? Not the…

Winter’s Leafy Greens: A Romantic History à la Française

A few mornings ago, the pumpkins sprawling on my front porch sparkled with frost. And you know what that means. It’s time for some serious rustic cooking. (And I’d like to include a recording right here of someone yelling “Yippee!”) It’s time to turn to the hardy greens of winter, something that French cooks* use…

Eat a Meal of Solidarity: Haiti’s Sos Pwa Rouj

As in a nightmare wrought by Quentin Tarantino, I watched the horrors unfolding in Haiti after the earthquake. Hands tied, unable to help in any major way, I turned to my pantry, memories of the lovely Haitian women who cooked for us stepping into my mind, smiling, images of hope for Haiti’s future. Here’s a…