Another Slice of Omnivore?

Recently, Andrew at "Very Good Taste" challenged the foodie blog world with a list of 101 things no true foodie couldn't NOT eat. So how about a new list? This time what counts is this:  How many do you know? Never mind if you ate them, that's not the point. What do you REALLY know…

A PASSAGE TO INDIA, REVISITED … SORT OF (AND BOOKSTORES)

For those lucky souls living in one of the larger cities of the eastern United States, bookshops purveying only cookbooks exist just around the corner. In Portland (Maine), Philadelphia, and New York City, to be exact. Who knows? You might find a copy of one of Elizabeth David's favorite books, a rather pompous Anglo-Indian cookbook…

Yin-Yang Beans

Yin-yang beans, also called Calypso or orca or black calypso beans (Phaseolus Vulgaris), resemble nothing more than the ancient Asian symbol of "yin-yang," even to the point (no pun intended) of the eternal black dot. The beans take 70-90 days to produce "fruit." According to gardening catalogs, these hyrbids grow to be fifteen inches high.…

Cookbooks for a Desert Island, or an Autumn Afternoon

[Note: Apologies to readers who tried to access The Forme of Cury online link yesterday---for some reason it was linked to something else! Anyway, the link is now correct and works, so if you want to see it, go to my post on The Forme of Cury. Thanks for reading!] Although Italian cuisine is all…

EARLIEST ENGLISH COOKBOOK, FORME OF CURY, TO BE DIGITIZED

Yippee! Another ancient cookbook to be digitized so that all of us food history lovers can wallow in the old texts without sneezing from the dust or going broke on airfare fees flying to check out archival material in some out-of-the-way library half-way across the world. The Guardian announced recently that the University of Manchester…

THE FUNGUS AMONG US

Mushrooms are not really food, but are relished to bully the stomach into further eating. ~~Seneca, Stoic Roman Statesman Toadstools, devil's work, fairies' rings, mysterious, deadly, the deeply superstitious people of medieval Europe applied all these monikers to mushrooms. Fungi they are, botanically. Everyone's culinary favorite, they are not. Their names invite punsters to unite:…

Pizza

Bet you thought that "pizza" as we know it just magically appeared in the United States one day. Or maybe that Americans invented pizza, not the Neapolitans. Nope. (Though in a way, Americans DID invent pizza, but we'll leave that controversial subject for another conversation.) Now, for the $64,000 question, "How in the world did…

LEAFING OUT: Cooking with Asian Leaves

A new (to me, anyway) cookbook always heralds further culinary adventures for armchair explorers. In Cooking with Asian Leaves, authors Devagi Sanmugam and Christopher Tan---both residents of Singapore---ladle out detailed information about 26 different leaves, many that rarely make it into mainstream American kitchens. Including scientific names, appearance, flavor, and culinary and medicinal uses, this…

Making Pizza Dough FAQs: A Slice of Pizza and History

Frances: Have you ever made a pizza? Claire: ... I suppose if I put my mind to it, yes, I could make one. ... Frances: What would make you feel uncertain abut making one? After all, you say you've made bread before and and you've made things similar to tomato sauce. Claire: The toppings perhaps,…

Italian Cooking in Paradise: A16 is A-1

As a cookbook junkie --- close to 200 of my 3500 cookbooks concern Italian cooking --- I drool when books like Nate Appleman's A16: Food + Wine show up. The cover alone is worth the $35.00 admission price, for the photo makes my soul cry out for the simplicity it represents. Not because anything's sad…

The Eggs Had It: Goodbye, “Cool Hand”

I have steak at home, why go out for hamburger? Paul Newman Paul Newman's death brought up many memories of his films. Since I am a "foodie," one scene in particular popped up in my mind. Yes, that gut-wrenching "meal" in "Cool-Hand Luke," when Luke (Paul Newman) stuffs himself with fifty hard-cooked eggs. Ouch. Thanks,…

Big Bad Breakfasts? No, DIFFERENT Breakfasts …

It's a dog's breakfast. (British slang for a mess or muddle, used since the 1930s) Bad breakfasts? Well, sometimes Waffle House fails to deliver. And occasionally I bite into a pretty hard almond when I'm eating my pathetic half-cup of homemade granola in the morning. Most days it's a bad breakfast if a filling falls…

CHOCOLATE, CHOCOLATE, & MORE CHOCOLATE

I wait upon the Lieut. Governor at Dorchester and there meet with Mr. Torry, breakfast together on Venison and Chockalatte; I said Massachusetts and Mexico met his Honour's Table. ~~The Diary of Samuel Sewall,* 1697~~ Chocolate, gotta love it. Most people do, although I've known a couple of die-hard chocolate haters. Then there are the…

GHERKINS: A Little Etymology on the Side

Gherkins (Cucumis anguria) Today begins a new series on "Gherkins & Tomatoes." After delving into the frankly scatological history of  "chocolate" the other day, I realized just how much fun learning about food-word histories can be. And since "Gherkins & Tomatoes" aims to clarify food history as much as possible, it seems only natural to…

IT’S LEEK TO ME

Fluellen: Your majesty says very true: if your majesties is remembered of it, the Welchmen did goot service in a garden where leeks did grow, wearing leeks in their Monmouth caps; which, your majesty knows, is an honourable badge of the service: and, I do believe, your majesty takes no scorn to wear the leek…

THE GOURMAND WORLD COOKBOOK AWARDS

In less than a month, some lucky cookbook authors will win the year's Gourmand World Cookbook Awards at the Frankfurt Book Fair, October 13-15, 2008. Edouard Cointreau founded the World Cookbook Awards in 1995, which were renamed Gourmand World Cookbook Awards in 2001. Mr. Cointreau's lineage is almost as illustrious as that of his liqueurs,…

THIS MUCH I KNOW IS TRUE (WITH APOLOGIES TO WALLY LAMB) … 1001 Foods You Must Taste Before You Die

My copy of 1001 Foods You Must Taste Before You Die arrived the other day. And if nothing else, this much I know is true: above all, it makes the perfect doorstop. I think it spent the night on my front porch and it's a good thing the house didn't catch on fire, because when…

WAR & DROUGHT THREATEN AFGHAN FOOD SUPPLY: HUNGER IN AFGHANISTAN

A story in the 9/19/08 New York Times, "War & Drought Threaten Afghan Food Supply," brings home the very real problems of that tragic country and its long-suffering people: Underlying the warnings are growing fears of civil unrest. The mood in the country is darkening amid increasing economic hardship, worsening disorder and a growing disaffection…

ONE POTATO, TWO POTATO …

One potato, two potato, three potato, four, five potato, six potato, seven potato more. Icha bacha, soda cracker, Icha bacha boo. Icha bacha, soda cracker, out goes Y-O-U! Children's Rhyme This year the potato finally gets its due. The UN General Assembly named 2008 as the International Year of the Potato, celebrating a vegetable with…

An Apple a Day

The apple doesn't fall far from the tree. Folk proverb One of autumn's most anticipated pleasures --- aside from football and the welcoming onslaught of cooler weather --- lies in the first bite of fresh, crisp apples. Originating in Asia Minor, apples grew wild in Europe by prehistoric times. Myths in many cultures place apples…

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…

Food Network Magazine Launches on October 14

Just when you thought that the 'Net finished digging the print media's grave, along comes a behemoth, Hearst Magazines, and their new offering: Food Network Magazine. Described as "The magazine will appeal to food lovers and Food Network fans of all ages and culinary abilities, offering pages of accessible recipes and tips, as well as…

CHILI DAYS ARE A’COMIN’: AN ODE, OF A SORTS

"Open some cans of chili - mighty good." -Toots Shor's recipe for chili- Chili, the stuff of tall tales, legends, grudges, and just plain cussedness. If you earned a buck for every chili recipe ever cooked, fantasized about, or pirated, you'd probably beat Bill Gates at the money game. Not much appeals more to American…

Lefse, Food of Exile

"Yew tak yust ten big potatoes Den yew boil dem till dar done." ~~Beginning of a lefse recipe~~ Term: lefse (food) Definition: thin, unleavened bread of Norwegian origin, traditionally made of a potato-based dough and baked on a griddle [Source: Dictionary of American Regional English] I used to worry that the lefse we ordered from…

Ecstatic in Farmers’ Markets (with a List of Cookbooks at the End)

Not too long ago, driving through the flat land of northern Illinois, I passed near Galena, a charming Victorian town nestled among bluffs and rolling hills near the Mississippi River. Just before arriving in the town, along scenic Highway 20, several small farmers' markets beckoned. Now, truth be told, my hands tingle and my blood…

Heavenly Marriages

Pancakes for dinner? If the "breakfast dinner" reigned supreme in your childhood with a barren pantry, the larder empty, the idea of pancakes for dinner comes as not as a welcoming gesture, but as a reminder of poverty. Of imagination, the pocket, the wallet. But wait ... pancakes mean more than flapjacks. Think about enchiladas,…

Turkey Talk and Stuff: A Gobble Ahead

"When the wine has stopped fermenting in November, the turkey is ready for roasting." --Italian Proverb-- The slight chill in the air lately conjures up dreams of fall nights replete with soup and crunching leaves underfoot and turkey dinners. Wild turkeys dart in and out of the bushes around the woods near my house. And…

It’s Superfruit! It’s an American Thang! It’s The Blueberry!

Call it what you may ---  whortleberry, bilberry, huckleberry, starberry, hurtleberry, buckleberry, or blaeberry. A card-carrying member of the Vaccinium family, with all its cousins. Whatever the Native Americans or the early American settlers called blueberries, today the health media calls them Superfruit. Full of vitamin C and vitamin K, scientists are just now confirming…

*Critics’ Corner: Yum-O Gal, You’re No Fannie Farmer, or Julia Child, for That Matter

"Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery," C. C. Colton said in 1828 in The Lacon: or, Many Things in a Few Words; Addressed to Those Who Think. But what about parody, rife with derision? On September 3, Elizabeth Hilts, author of Getting in Touch with Your Inner Bitch, releases her big bad bash of Ray: Every Freaking!…

The Omnivore’s 100—Think You’re an Adventurous Eater?

Feel like taking a test today? Oh, come on--this promises both fun and a learning experience all rolled into one. The original is posted at Very Good Taste, so go there to make a fresh copy. Here’s what Andrew wants us to do: 1) Copy this list into your blog or journal, including these instructions.…