Cooking Cuban During El Período Especial Estadounidense

The picadillo at the Columbia Restaurant in Ybor City, a neighborhood in Tampa, Florida. That’s where it began, where the seed got planted. I’d just turned 21. To celebrate, several friends treated me to a fancy dinner there. And I ordered the picadillo, sided with a lime dacquiri. I think. I vaguely recall black beans, … More Cooking Cuban During El Período Especial Estadounidense

Brassai’s Paris, a View Through the Tunnel of Time

Before the second world war, filled with the wandering souls of the “Lost Generation,” Paris throbbed with the fluttering notes of jazz and the clattering of horse hooves on cobblestones. And Paris also served as a subject for the art of photographers like Brassai, one of the earliest photojournalists, influenced by surrealism. Brassai (born in … More Brassai’s Paris, a View Through the Tunnel of Time

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 … More Will It Be French?

Potato Blight

The return of late potato blight:** Home gardeners beware: This year, late blight — a destructive infectious disease that caused the Irish potato famine in the 1840s- — is killing tomato and potato plants in gardens and on commercial farms in the eastern United States. In addition, basil downy mildew is affecting plants in the … More Potato Blight

A Dish (or Two) for Children in British Colonial Africa

(A tribute to those women who endured the challenges of living in unfamiliar and far-flung places, raising their children without their extended families around. And cooking what they could.) Sometimes it literally WAS a dog’s breakfast. And mothers couldn’t do anything about it. Feeding their children properly preoccupied those mothers who followed their English husbands … More A Dish (or Two) for Children in British Colonial Africa