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…

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George Washington’s Family Cookbooks

Martha Washington's cookbook tells a tale, one that really needs no elaboration:  George went through life toothless. Recipes for soft puddings, quidonys (a type of fruit preserve), and jellies abound. Of course, puddings testified in part to the, well, Englishness of the Father of Our Country and his wife. But the fact of the matter…

Uber-Chef Alice Waters Comes To Washington: Inauguration Week’s Best Dinner

Alice Waters deserves more main-stream press recognition. Follow the link to see the detail about Alice's Restaurant (!) taking shape in Washington DC, where $500 gets you the best meal in town. (Note that $350 of that lump sum will end up in the coffers of local soup kitchens, and rightly so.) Aided by a…

Cristeta Comerford: White House Chef

The news is out --- Cristeta Comerford will remain as White House chef, according to an article in yesterday's The Huffington Post. Lots of great photos with that story, BTW. From the AP wire story: Cristeta Comerford took the job in 2005 and is the first woman and first minority to serve as executive chef.…

Rest in Peace: Gaston Lenôtre

Gaston Lenôtre, wizard of French pastry and culinary empire builder, died January 8, 2008, according to the January 9, 2008  New York Times. My fonder memories of Paris include gorging myself on Operas from his pastry shops. Not that other shops didn't make swoon-worthy Operas, but somehow I just kept thinking of Lenôtre's as the…

Alice Waters: The Woman Behind the Throne? (Or, Um, The Push for White House Chef)

Alice Waters. Chef. Restaurateur. Cookbook author. Agricultural activist. Now add political activist to the list, too. Stir well. See what cooks up. Since 1971, Ms. Waters has overseen the stove and tables at her celebrated and innovative Berkeley, California restaurant, Chez Panisse. She's the force behind the Edible Schoolyard program that "demonstrates the transformative power…

Mrs. Charles Darwin’s Recipe Book

Nearly everyone on the planet, or at least those with access to education --- unfortunately many areas of the world and even this country lack miserably in the teaching of the young --- will know the name of Charles Darwin, as the blurb below allows. Now, maybe  some people don't buy into the theory of…

In the Kitchen in Kansas … The Food of Obama’s Mother’s Childhood

There's No Place Like Home ... ~~ Dorothy, The Wizard of Oz Kansas is flat, real flat. Yes. And President Barack Obama's green leaf of choice, arugula, clocks in pretty low on Kansans' list of comestibles. But none of this means that President Obama doesn't love Kansas and especially its wholesome, comforting food. That said,…

Foodie Books About France

I recently submitted a list of fabulous food writing to  Peter Steinberg of Flashlight Worthy, a great original and innovative site. All readers, please go to Foodie Books About France at Peter's site and explore the rest of his site, which is terrific for booklovers and readers with all sorts of interests. © 2008 C.…

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,…

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…

*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!…

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…

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.