December 12: The Virgin of Guadalupe

An old post, but still timely.

Advertisements

What’s A Turnip Got to Do with Halloween? Or Rutabagas, Beets, and Gourds, for That Matter?

Folklore or fakelore, the general consensus seems to be that the Irish who came to America brought their custom of carving turnips for All Hallows Eve. They must grow large turnips in the sod over there! Lacking a turnip, rutabagas, beets, or gourds would also do. Delicious legend, that's what started the practice of carving…

Halloween, It’s More Than Just a Martha Stewart Recipe

I confess, I love Halloween, it's so pagan in its roots that I know that I am seeing vestiges of ancient practices. People associated many different foods with the holiday, not just pumpkins. A little shiver of pleasure runs through me as I think of those customs coming down to us from the past, visible…

Question for Readers of Gherkins & Tomatoes

One of the readers of Gherkins & Tomatoes has mentioned that they have been having difficulties in seeing my posts, that only the background shows up. I am wondering if this is because I have been posting a lot of photos, most of which are fairly high resolution. If you have a moment, please leave…

Julia Child’s “The French Chef, ” by Dana Polan

“a history of early American television telescoped through the persona and history of Julia Child. . . . fascinating . . .” When you walk the streets of Cambridge, Massachusetts, you can’t miss the lingering traces of heroes and history. From the names of the men who brought you the Boston Tea Party to the…

Macarons – Food of Dreams and Fairy Tales

Macarons. Truly an example of "Don't try this at home." But how I longed to recreate the taste and the crunch of the macarons I greedily ate as often as I could, when I passed that fairy-tale bakery on the Rue de Rivoli, close to the Hotel de Ville metro stop: Maison Georges Larnicol. Although…

Lemons – Tiny Cathedrals of Gold

Lemons, their pitted, nay, prehistoric, skins secreting golden oil, Shielding sourness, evoking memories of a grandmother's kitchen, A grandfather's garden. Born in the East, fruitful India, A kiss of cold, albeit fleeting, spawns the yellow Immortalized  in stone, paint, and clay. A fruit reverenced, Blossoming from mountain and lake, Urging cooks to slice, pierce, and…

Vitis, Vin: Gift of Life

Reach out a hand and take the ruby fruit, gift grown of sun and rain. Vitis. Grapes. Gift too of earth, of chalky soil, sloping and stone-filled, redolent with vistas and vast horizons. Hard toil, yes --- certainly this truth the hands of peasants knew. Cutting and pruning, trimming back. Thus, from that harsh care,…

Culinary Bigotry? Pas nous, pas du tout!

So how do you perceive French cuisine? Katharine Shilcutt decided to find out what Texans thought of various ethnic cuisines popular in the United States. Here's a Venn diagram from her October 27, 2010 article on the Houston Press blog. The left side of the diagram shows what foods Texans associate with French eating habits,…

All the Presidents’ Tables: James Buchanan’s Inaugural Extravanganza

Named the worst of all U.S. presidents, James Buchanan --- ironically boasting the most government-related domestic and foreign experience of any president prior to taking office --- lived as a bachelor all his life. His niece (and ward) Harriet Lane became his White House hostess. She'd been with Buchanan in London when he served as…

All the Presidents’ Tables: Abraham Lincoln’s Inaugural Menus

In the throes of the 2008 election campaign, I decided to do a little looking into what the candidates, Senators Barack Obama and John McCain, eat when no one's watching. (Chili for Obama and ribs for McCain - hmmm, wonder if there's any Freudian, Jungian undertones there?) Such musings lead, naturally, to a perusal of…