They Called it Callaloo

Stuck off the beaten track, but surrounded by the heavy traffic of a congested city, the Grand Market in Virginia Beach, Virginia is not an easy one to pinpoint, even with GPS  tracking technology. But "Sam's" voice droned "Turn right, then left," and somehow  I managed to avoid the motorcycle on a kamikaze path to my…

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Parsleyed Ham and Kitchen Breezes: The Letters of M. F. K. Fisher and Julia Child

Today is the 20th anniversary of M.F.K. Fisher's death, so in tribute and at the request of her friend Leo Racicot, I am reposting this, something I wrote last year after attending Barbara Wheaton's "Reading Historic Cookbooks" seminar at Harvard. Sometimes words, both spoken and written, take on terrible power. Use the wrong word and,…

* Biscuits and Buttermilk: A New Year and New Directions

After a long fallow period, spent baking (and eating) many Christmas cookies, I have decided to bloom/cook where I am planted, so to speak. Lately I’ve become more intrigued by the cuisine that surrounds me, here in the American South.  After all, I've basically been a Southerner for over 30 years. Although many cookbook authors…

Will It Be French?

For most Americans (and Britons), French food means memories of the insipid Steak au Poivre or bland French Onion Soup served in a pretentious “fancy” restaurant. That’s enough to condemn French cuisine to staying put between the covers of Julia Child’s Mastering the Art of French Cooking (1961 and 1970). The perplexing and continuous popularity…

Cookies and Cookees

The importance of logging camp cooks can’t be fathomed, really. But try to imagine being miles from anywhere, without a restaurant nearby or a place to cook for oneself; imagine the sheer dependence on log camp cooks, of men burning up 8000 calories a day while felling trees. Like baby birds counting on their parents…

France Encore

France bewitches. Burgundy. Normandy. The Loire Valley. The French Alps. Provence. All sublime. But the besotted dream most of returning to live in some tiny Parisian garret, drinking high-class red or white plonk, writing of life, death, and love while seated at a sticky Formica-covered table at Flore or Deux Magots. And surreptitously paging through…

Election-Day Menu: Food from Our Greatest Presidents

Hands down, my vote for the greatest presidents we've seen in this country goes to George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln, and Franklin Delano Roosevelt. John Kennedy might have been a truly great president, but he died before he could prove his mettle, though his stand against the USSR during the Cuban Missile Crisis counts…

BARACK OBAMA’S CHILI AND JOHN McCAIN’S RIBS

Barack Obama's reply to a reporter who asked him in March 2008 what was his favorite dish to take a potluck: Chili. He said that, "I've been using this chili recipe since college and would bring it to any potluck. I can't reveal all the secrets, but if you make it right, it's just got…

White Beans with Cream, Prosciutto, and Parmesan

Autumn teases you, you know, with its chilly mid-September mornings, urging you to dream of sitting outside on cool evenings, wrapped lightly in woolen shawls, a bowl of hot bean soup nestled in your hands, a glass of Pinot Grigio resting on the small table next to you. Dreaming of a stone cottage in Italy's…