Food

Green, Green Peas of Home

Thanks to global agriculture, and especially to a giant who happens to be green, we’ve forgotten that peas have always been a springtime delicacy. In cuisines that have retained a more seasonal approach than our own, fresh peas as green as that laughing giant on the can are a symbol of the end of another…

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Sicilian Easter Lamb Pies

Even in its Easter celebrations, Sicily is culturally and culinarily a world apart from every other square inch of Italy. The fact that so many impoverished Sicilians left the island for America gives us a false impression that the foods we grew up eating in “red sauce Italian” restaurants, from spaghetti and meatballs to pizza,…

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How Pad Became Pad Thai

In last week’s column, we looked at the long history of fried rice, born of a Chinese culture that had limited proteins and vegetables but a seemingly endless supply of rice. The recipe – little more than a flexible idea, really – spread throughout Asia by way of conquest, trade or any combination thereof. This…

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Fried Rice Festival

It is often said, as with most things that are mostly true, that traditional Chinese cooking stretched whatever meats, seafoods or vegetables were available with lots and lots of rice. In that case, fried rice must by the absolute poster child for traditional Chinese cooking. And it’s actually been that way for a long time.…

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Stuffing the Wild Potato

There isn’t a lot of written history on the stuffed baked potato, so I’m pretty sure I invented it. And as usual with me, economy was the true mother of invention. There I was, many years ago when Wendy’s and I were young, pondering that the fast-foot burger chain made famous by Dave Thomas offered…

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Nights in Red Velvet

Red velvet cake is definitely a Southern creation, arguably even a Texas creation – unless you are one of those New Yorkers who associate it with the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel, or a Canadian who thinks the recipe comes from Eaton’s department store. Seriously now. Doesn’t red velvet cake appear in every Southern cookbook, not to mention…

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‘Sacrificial’ Seafood

Each year on Ash Wednesday, across New Orleans and the rest of south Louisiana, Catholics (which culturally means everybody, no matter where they go to church, or don’t) start replacing the meat in their diets with seafood. Happily, across New Orleans and the rest of South Louisiana, all the seafood is Catholic too. We’re just…

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Soup for the Season

It’s been several decades now since an impromptu gathering of wandering young Americans decided to shop at the outdoor market in the town they were visiting in Turkey and fix dinner. And since not a single member of the group knew the first thing about cooking, we knew enough to make soup. Obviously, there are…

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Uniquely British

George Bernard Shaw once quipped that America and England were two countries separated by a common language. At the time, he was talking about vocabulary, grammar, attitude and, of course, accent. But as we learned recently, his much-quoted wisdom applies to food as well. That’s one of the main takeaways from the happy news that…

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Trending Flavors from Africa

A couple weeks back, strolling through the mammoth Winter Fancy Food Show in San Francisco, we realized we could see Africa from there. Well, not exactly see it, though the continent is even larger than our own. But we could definitely taste it. After the show, that seemed the main thing most “survivors” (any Fancy…

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