Day 5: Tomatoes – Celebrate American Food History

Tomatoes, poisonous or aphrodisiac? That was the question lurking in the pot for quite some time after the Spanish and the Portuguese began their voyages to the New World beginning around the late fifteenth century and likely introduced the tomato (and other New World foods) to Europe and Africa. John Gerard, a renown herbalist and…

The Dangers of Nostalgia at the Stove: A Critique of Modern Food Writing

Is nostalgia dangerous? More to the point, is nostalgia a dangerous weapon when held in the hands of some food writers? I’ll confess to a salient fact: I’ve written about food  through a thick lens of nostalgia, licking the pot of myth and stirring with the spoon of longing . I’ve cooked the iconic dishes of…

Boeuf (Beef) à la Mode: British Beef Made American

Cooking at the White House wasn’t always the glam job it is today. Thomas Jefferson’s French chef Honoré Julien – who’d cooked for George Washington, too – wanted to quit upon seeing the kitchen at the White House. And George Washington placed a want ad for a cook: ”A cook is wanted for the family of…

In Defence of English Cooking, Or, Orwell Revisited

George Orwell.* Remember him? Of course you do. Yes, think Animal Farm, Burmese Days, Shooting an Elephant. And, of course, 1984, which gave rise to the phrase “Orwellian world.” Orwell is actually enjoying a posthumous popularity, sixty-five years after his death in 1950, thanks in part to Edward Snowden and other factors. But, if you’re a food-obsessed…

The History and Present State of Food in Virginia

There was nary a cook among them. Nor a single woman, the usual gendered division of labor notwithstanding. No, in December 1606, the Virginia Company of London sent 104 men into the treacherous, wintry Atlantic, with stopovers in the Canary Islands and later Bermuda and the Caribbean. After a brief reconnaissance stop at Cape Henry, they made…

A Bee in My Bonnet

Coming up with unique and substantive blog content tends to be terribly time-consuming. Combine that with the current chatter about blogging being dead in the water and you end up with a recipe for melancholy, or at least writer’s ennui. But sometimes life throws you a plum, a reason to take up the plume again and…

What is Home?

What is home? What is not home? The following pictorial essay portrays a number of symbols associated with the United States, and, indirectly, home. Mine, anyway. (If you click on the photos, you’ll see far more detail than this WordPress theme shows in the posts. And further clicking zooms in, I’ve discovered.) © 2015 C….