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…

STONE CRABS: Clawing Their Way to Legend

Menippe Mercenaria: Menippe-Greek, meaning force or courage and Mercinaria-Latin, something of value Formerly known as “Morro crabs of Cuba”, stone crabs delight the gourmet’s palate and strain his or her wallet. Weighing in at nearly twelve dollars a pound for the larger size, stone crabs are not to be taken lightly. Don’t waste that exquisite…

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…

Cooks, Kitchens, and Places: Josephine’s Tale

Since modern photography only came into being around 1816, when Nicéphore Niépc combined camera obscura techniques and paper with photosensitive qualities, the faces of so many people will never be known to us. Those of the rich, the powerful, and the occasional peasant – thanks to artists such as Pieter Bruegel the Elder – we their…

Day 2: Oysters – Celebrate American Food History

Jonathan Swift once quipped, “It was a brave man who first ate an oyster.” And an even braver one who pried open the shell without special gloves and knives. Actually, it’s more likely that our hero (or heroine)  used a rock to smash into the mollusk. Oysters kept people alive in the early days of colonial North America,…

Day 1: Tuckahoe – Celebrate American Food History

It’s soon to be a big, big day for Gherkins & Tomatoes – on July 28 G&T will celebrate eight (8) years (!) of writing about food and food history. Why, that’s 1,181 posts. Yes, there could – and should – have been more lots more, but we must take into account the time spent writing…

Recipes for Thought

I just received a most intriguing book – Wendy Wall’s Recipes for Thought: Knowledge and Taste in the Early Modern English Kitchen (2016) – and thought that some of you might find it to be of interest. This, from the conclusion, sums up the author’s theory of what a recipe book meant, and likely still means: “The recipe…

From Mother Russia with Love: Meaty Mushrooms and Relentless Lent

One of her greatest pleasures in summer was the very Russian sport of hodit’ po gribi (looking for mushrooms). Fried in butter and thickened with sour cream her delicious finds appeared regularly on the dinner table. Not that the gustatory moment mattered much. Her main delight was in the quest. ~~ Vladimir Nabokov, Speak, Memory…