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,…

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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.…

Can a 3-Star French Chef Be a Regular Guy? Marc Meneau Tries

Writing about 3-star French chef Marc Meneau is, in a way, like trying to write about Leonardo Da Vinci. Geniuses really need geniuses to write about them, to interpret them, to salute them, like buck privates in the presence of 5-star generals. It's a little bit like meeting God - you're afraid to look at…

Spice of History, or the Long Winding Road and Some Spice Blends for Today

"Variety's the spice of life, That gives it all its flavor." ~~William Cowper, English Poet~~ Picture narrow passages, in some exotic locale, thronged with humanity peering at bulging baskets of spices and herbs, heavily laden donkeys swaying along behind them. You're breathing the smoke-filled air, the smell of the smoke competing with the odor of…

The Lady From Chatham, Virginia

Southern hospitality is not gone with the wind, at least not in Chatham Virginia. Food writer Patricia Mitchell,* owner of the now-closed Sims-Mitchell House Bed & Breakfast, makes sure of that. And you can’t expect anything less from a woman who called her first 1968 Mustang “Penelope.” You know, after Odysseus’s wife, who kept the home fires burning and the soup bubbling while the hero was off slaying monsters and avoiding Sirens. Every day Mrs. Mitchell’s guests enjoyed baked concoctions at breakfast that would cause Scarlett O’Hara to swoon, even without tight stays or Rhett Butler lurking around.

Olive Sauce

Add Olive Sauce to ragu or marinara for a different layer of flavor. Use on crostini or bruschetta. Roast beef, pork, and chicken taste extra special with a dollop of Olive Sauce on the side. Black Olive Tapenade Makes 2 cups ¾ cup oil-cured black olives 6 canned flat anchovy fillets 2 T. shredded fresh…

Out of Africa: Review of “Food Culture in Sub-Saharan Africa”

Say “African food” and most people visualize a cartoon with two missionaries boiling in a black iron pot in the middle of a jungle clearing. That’s the “Dark Continent” picture, deeply rooted in the West’s persistent attitude of colonialism toward Africa. Or, instead, they “see” stick-thin children sprawled out on their mothers’ laps, listless, flies swarming everywhere.