Nutty as a …*

The worst gift is fruitcake. There is only one fruitcake in the entire world, and people keep sending it to each other. ~~ Johnny Carson ~~ It’s like liver: either you love it or you hate it. What? Fruitcake, that’s what. Just to prove a point, a few years back some enterprising journalists conducted a…

Cooking with Wolves (Or, Keeping the Wolf Away from the Door)

There’s a whining at the threshold, There’s a scratching at the floor. To work! To work! In Heaven’s name! The wolf is at the door! ~~~C. P. S. Gilman The season of gift-giving will soon be upon us, with the mail deliverer knocking at our door, bearing credit card bills, not gifts. The holiday season hovers…

Poor Harry: Thanksgiving in the Truman White House 1946

President Harry S. Truman found himself on the slimming end of things in 1946. The New York Times reported that Truman’s menus seemed a bit austere and quoted White House housekeeper, Mrs. Mary E. Sharpe, as saying “When I make up menus I keep it in mind.” “It” being President’s Truman’s ongoing battle of the…

Relishing the Cranberry: A Real American Original

Bad cranberries don’t bounce. Bad cranberries don’t float. Bad cranberries sink. In fact, cranberry growers bounce their cranberries seven times over a four‑inch high barrier before packing. Imagine buying unbagged cranberries in the grocery store, with savvy shoppers chasing after red berries boomeranging all over the produce section! Who has ever seen fresh cranberries sold…

Día de los Muertos (Todos Santos)/ Day of the Dead Food-Laden Altars

(Note: The italicized portion of the following article is an excerpt from something I wrote for an encyclopedia on the history of dining and entertaining, Entertaining from Ancient Rome to the Super Bowl, Greenwood Press, 2008.) In Mexico, the Día de los Muertos (Todos Santos) (Day of the Dead/All Saints’ Day) resembles the norteamericano Halloween…