Food

Skewers Around the World

The next time you grill anything on skewers, whether you call it shish kebab in Turkish, shashlik in (formerly Soviet) Georgian, brochette in France, anticucho in Peru, sosatie in South Africa, satay in Indonesia  or chuanr in China, know that you’re probably using the most ancient cooking technique of them all. You’ll also be adopting…

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Back to School Bounty

Suddenly, one moment very soon, your days of racing the kids to this playdate or that swim practice or this camp will come to an and. And you’ll sit there, facing their eyes across the dinner table, and just know they know that you know – school starts tomorrow. Sometimes this is mostly a happy…

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Remembering Jean-Louis

I have no idea how many courses Jean-Louis Palladin served me that night many years ago after ascertaining I wasn’t allergic to anything. I do know it was my life’s first degustation, or tasting menu. And while I don’t recall a single dish he set before me, at least one or two involved my life’s…

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Kale Finds Its Way Home

I didn’t know what kale was before it became popular as a “superfood,” and I barely knew what it was after it became the butt of video jokes, most of which involved dumping a plate of dark, curly greens into a trashcan. Because I always liked what I thought of, what I’d been told, was…

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Peach Season Pound Cake

If you love peaches the way we love peaches, then there’s no time of year with desserts half so good as summer. And if you grow peaches, either as a business or as a hobby, then you have all the more motivation to enjoy them. Some years ago, after driving 14,783 miles all over Texas…

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Polpette, Meet Meatballs

For some of us it was always “meatballs and spaghetti,” while for others it was “spaghetti and meatballs.” We saw it written both ways on menus surrounded by red-checkered tablecloths and candles popped into basket-covered Chianti bottles. To actual Italians, however, it was more like, “Huh?” It is a delightful irony of American food history…

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Stuff That’s Stuffed

As they so often do, the Greeks have a word for it. They call the things “gemista,” and despite having read several slightly different translations, I insist it means “stuff that’s stuffed.” Just about any vegetable wandering past a Greek cook is liable to find itself stuffed with something – often but not always meat,…

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Chicken Wings Take Flight

I was reading something that stopped me cold the other day – or stopped me hot, to be more precise. The least expensive part of any chicken, the part producers could barely give away a mere half-century ago, has become the single most expensive part. That, just in time for July 4th, is the mystery…

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North Africa’s Exotic Spices

Due to a mashup of culture, history, geography, religion and politics, what we might have called North African food – or even Arab food or, by most associations, Middle Eastern food – has come to be known as “Mediterranean food.” In the same politicized way that, in modern America, “Persian food” sounds less dangerous than…

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Beware, Falling Figs!

It may well be the first fruit ever domesticated. It is mentioned – quite favorably, no less – in both Hebrew and Christian scriptures. And since it seems to reach back far enough in history, it may have even been eaten by dinosaurs. At least by those who weren’t busy eating each other. It is…

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