Food

Sweet Potatoes vs. Yams

I’ve always been blasé about seet potatoes, during the holidays or any other time. The straightforward version my parents served probably took their best shot with their browned, softened marshmallows on top, which invariably brought back happy memories of toasting marshmallows with friends and family over an outdoor fire. Friends and family – that’s what…

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Post-Turkey Day Taco Salad

If you love so-called taco salads or taco bowls – essentially a taco that’s turned upside down, or might it be inside out? – you owe a special debt of gratitude to a restaurant rather ridiculously named Casa de Fritos. In 1955. At Disneyland. Yes, the iconic theme park created by Uncle Walt was home…

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Whose Side Are You On?

If you’re looking for the birthplace of one all-American Thanksgiving food tradition, you might end up looking far beyond those Plymouth Rock-Pilgrims to Larsa, a city that happens to be in modern-day Iraq. You can gaze with curiosity and wonder at a 3,700-year-old clay tablet that contains not the famous Ten Commandments of Moses but…

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A Gratin with Gratitude

Another Thanksgiving is almost here, another feast built around all or most of our favorite flavors from the past. But if you’re looking for one more over-the-top vegetable dish for your Thanksgiving table, you might sample something new this year that’s actually almost as old to the French as Pilgrims and native Americans are to…

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The Season of Cranberries

What is the only berry you can think of that was enjoyed by native Americans 12,000 years ago, first commercially grown on Cape Cod by a veteran of the Revolutionary War, is typically harvested underwater, is eventually turned into a jelly-jiggling log that plops from a can, and is a safe expectation on any and…

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Less Trick, More Treat to Eat

If you don’t like eating eyeballs, then you have no business searching the internet for Halloween foods. That’s my takeaway, at least, from trying to do so myself. Recipe after recipe featured some bright orb or other, edible at least in theory, painted to resemble those things that let us see. Literally and figuratively, it…

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How Hatch Became a Pepper

You have to love a state that has an official “state question,” especially if that question is “Green or Red?” And that means you have to love New Mexico, which year after year turns its love of Hatch and other green chiles into a multi-million-dollar (and beloved) industry. For all that corporate money changing hands,…

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The Okra That Unites Us

In three-going-on-four decades of writing about, talking about, cooking and serving food, there’s only one ingredient that’s been regularly denigrated by people in my presence as being “slimy.” And the fact that it’s an essential ingredient for my hometown of New Orleans, my home state of Louisiana and my home region of the South doesn’t…

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That Cherry Cake Called…

According to the UNESCO Red Book of Endangered Languages, four of the six dialects of Occitan are “severely endangered,” with the other two (Gascon and Vivaro-Alpine) in slightly better shape, listed as only “definitely endangered.” Still, whatever happens to the Occitan language once spoken from Provence into Catalonia in the west and Italy in the…

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‘Oktober’ Is Schnitzel Season

All this month of Oktoberfest, here and around the world, schnitzel will be celebrated as a uniquely German dish – except it was actually launched in Austria and now can be found not only in the United States  but as “local food” in places as bizarrely dissimilar as Sweden, Brazil, France, Italy, Israel, Hungary, Iran,…

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