Idylls of Cuisine, # 83

[A photograph, and nothing more, for silent contemplation.]

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Is Cooking Necessary?*

No, it's not. That's your immediate answer, isn't it? After all, you've got more important things to do, don't you? Or do you? You can live your life without cooking. You can go to your nearest grocery store and bypass all the technology and knowledge that took your ancestors centuries to refine. You can buy…

Forgotten Recipes and Forgotten Cooks

If you think that real cooking needs to be resurrected, you'd be right. You can't exist on McNuggets alone, as the film Super Size Me proved. But if you think we should all go back to cooking everything just like our foremothers (and sometimes forefathers) did, you'd be a bit misguided. Romantic, yes, and it's…

The Feat of Feasting

One cannot both feast and become rich. Ashanti Proverb “Feasting,” for all practical purposes, appears to be the antonym of “hunger.” And yet, feasting is rife (ripe?) with teeming contradictions and ritualistic conventions. For some, feasting implies hunger. Ambrose Bierce defined feasting in a rather limiting manner in his irreverent Devil’s Dictionary: FEAST, n. A…

Fresh: A Look at the Meaning of Freshness and the Refrigeration Revolution

A review of Susanne Freidberg’s Fresh: A Perishable History (Belknap Press of Harvard University, 2009) The debate continues on the local foods argument ... To listen to many food activists talk these days, one would think that for dinner --- up until now --- most people just simply stepped outside their doors and plucked fresh…

Reveling in Books: DIY (Old) Food, Knowledge Lost and Now Found

Want to make your own cheese? How about pickles or chow-chow? Sausage and headcheese? Raise a couple of cows or keep a flock of geese? At a time when people want, no, need, to know the how-tos of old foodways, it seems that there’s a book for making just about everything. Fortunately, because this knowledge…