President Benjamin Harrison, being a card-carrying participant of the Gilded Age, and his wife Caroline Scott Harrison served an unusual dinner on Christmas day, 1890. (The menu follows below.) Unusual in one way. Carlsbad Wafers. Huh? The mention of Carlsbad Wafers stopped me in my tracks for a minute. Like a curious cat, whiskers trembling, … More Christmas in the White House: President Benjamin Harrison’s Carlsbad Wafers and His 1890 Christmas Dinner
Patron Saint of Mexico and the Americas Mexican novelist Carlos Fuentes once said that “…one may no longer consider himself a Christian, but you cannot truly be considered a Mexican unless you believe in the Virgin of Guadalupe.” Apocryphal or not, the story of the Virgin of Guadalupe makes fascinating reading. And the food’s pretty … More December 12: The Virgin of Guadalupe
Only the knife knows what goes on in the heart of a pumpkin. ~ Simone Schwarz-Bart, The Bridge of Beyond, Éditions du Seuil (1972) Cutting soft bones or soft flesh – be it animal of vegetable or fruit, the cleaver’s sharp edge become a merciless tool even in the hands of the most tender cook. … More The Violence of Cooking: A Photographic Interpretation à la Caravaggio (Part I)
© 2013 C. Bertelsen. No copying of photographs without my permission.
Remember the old shoeboxes for valentines in your grade school classroom? How you’d decorate your box with all sorts of frou-frous and hope the cute little boy (or the cute little girl) with the dimples would give you a valentine card, one of those mass-produced things? In school, at least, probaly no teacher ever told … More Let Me Count the Ways: St. Valentine’s Day 101 (Yes, There’s a French Connection)
…visions of sugarplums danced in their heads. ~~Clement C. Moore~~ ” ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas” Happy Holidays to all readers and visitors to Gherkins & Tomatoes / Cornichons et Tomates! I will “see” you again on January 2. ‘Tis soon the season to be jolly. And to bake cookies, the sugarplums of today. I’m … More SUGARPLUM VISIONS: Christmas Cookies
The day before Lent descends. With a litany of names. Mardi Gras. Fat Tuesday. Boeuf Gras. Shrove Tuesday.* Boeuf Gras? Symbol of the fattened ox, the last meat devoured before Lenten stringency took hold. With roots in the Minotaur and Labyrinth myth. What really drove the Lenten fast? And how did Boeuf Gras begin? During … More Boeuf Gras, or, Fat Bull = Fat Tuesday