Want to make historic recipes? You can help transcribe the University of Iowa Libraries age old assortment of handwritten cookbooks, ca. 1600s-1960s, documenting culinary history in America and Europe and how tastes have changed over the years. Copy the text as is, including misspellings and abbreviations. [more inside]
Sara White, Canadian blogger who recently moved to Rome, shares some thoughts about old world food cultures versus the American approach to cooking. One of the most interesting things to me about her post is the discussion about how having no limitations (many Americans can just waltz into a large supermarket and get almost anything from almost anywhere) can negatively impact culinary creativity.
Christopher Kimball: "He may be the sole person associated with food journalism to remark, 'There’s something about pleasure I find annoying.'"
"Cooking isn't creative, and it isn't easy." A NYT Magazine piece on Christopher Kimball, Cook's Illustrated, and his franchise (America's Test Kitchen, Cook's Country, et al.). "At the core of C.I.’s M.O. are two intrepid observations Kimball has made about the innermost psychology of home cooks. Namely that they 1) are haunted by a fear of humiliation, and 2) will not follow a recipe to the letter, believing that slavishly following directions is an implicit admission that you cannot cook... What the magazine essentially offers its readers is a bargain: if they agree to follow the recipes as written, their cooking will succeed and they will be recognized by family and friends as competent or even expert in the kitchen... The bargain further holds that the peppercorn-crusted filet of beef or butterscotch-cream pie will turn out not only in C.I.’s professional kitchen, with its All-Clad pans and DCS ranges, but also on a lowly electric four-top, using a dull knife and a $20 nonstick skillet." [more inside]
The broth is just chicken and onions, with a confetti of vegetables added at the end where their flavor remains bright. The noodles are wide and winding... But, for me, the real triumph was giving the chicken parts and onion a saute... before adding water to make the soup. This deepened flavor base makes for magical soup, with a bronzed color, more robust flavor and significantly reduced prep time. ... With all of the blustery, cold days to go this winter, everyone... deserves to have a homemade, from-scratch chicken noodle soup that can be pulled off in just about an hour in their back pocket. [more inside]
Like all shrines, this one is on a hill, and built into solid rock. Richard Olney saw it first in 1961 on an excursion south from his adoptive home in Paris. Olney, whose The French Menu Cookbook was recently judged the best cookbook ever by this magazine, immediately knew he had found his proper place on earth. [more inside]
On November 7, more than 60 chefs will converge on Valladolid, Spain to vie for glory in the annual National Tapas Competition. [more inside]
Archibald Query 's creation, Marshmallow Fluff, followed a winding path to household name. Most famous as a component of the Fluffernutter sandwich, this icon of New England cuisine appears in hundreds of other recipes, including whoopie pies and Mamie Eisenhower's Never Fail Fudge. You can even try making it yourself. . Other homages include the pop-style "Fluffart" of Susan Olsen, perhaps better known to us as the Brady Bunch's Cindy; some video tributes, and the What the Fluff? Festival in Somerville, MA (previously),
Ding Baozhen (1820-1886) was a governor of Sichuan province during the Qing dynasty. The emperor bestowed upon him the title Gōng Bǎo - "palatial guardian". He supervised the reconstruction of the Dujiangyan Irrigation System. But he achieved immortality through the dish named for him: Kung Pao Chicken. [more inside]
The known knowns, known unknowns, and perhaps even the unknown unknowns of why a calorie is not a calorie.
Ice Cubes - A Recipe. The comments offer many helpful tips.
Tomorrow would have been Julia Child's 100th birthday. To celebrate, PBS Digital Studios offers: Julia Child Remixed. They also have created a celebration page, complete with an infographic, recipes, quotes, videos and more. [more inside]
Food writing’s shameful secret, wrote John Thorne his seminal essay, “Cuisine Mécanique”, is its intellectual poverty. John himself is a notable exception. He is one of those rare authors who have the gift of transporting us into a world of their own creation which we are happy to occupy for a while in preference to any other. They are Virgils to our Dante, showing us around the territory and introducing us to the natives. In these magic realms, strangers speak to us immediately as old friends; arriving unexpectedly at dinner time, we find a place already set for us. [more inside]
Buffalo chicken wings were invented by Teressa Bellissimo at the Anchor Bar in Buffalo, New York in 1964. Americans will eat 25 billion of them this year - not a few of them at the 10th annual National Buffalo Wing Festival. Some people eat nothing else. Alton Brown steams his. But will any of them be more delicious than these Sriracha Garlic Wings?
Edward Behr is the editor and publisher of The Art of Eating, (named for MFK Fisher's book), a well-regarded food magazine. [more inside]
Now I agree that to some people using half a kilo of chocolate to make 12 biscuits may seem excessive. But I can tell you I don't put a price on alleviating human suffering. - Nigella Lawson [more inside]
io9 asks the question: When and Why did Science Fiction drop the ubiquitous "Dinner in a pill" device?
Undoubtedly, at some point in your life, a recipe has told you to brown or caramelize some onions for 5-10 minutes. As many frustrated cooks have found through experience, this step of the recipe is a damned lie. In fact, the now-ubiquitous suggestion of 5-10 minutes isn't even a remote approximation of the amount of time it takes to brown an onion; Alton Brown and Julia Child weigh in on the matter, suggesting that the task can take anywhere from 45 minute to an hour. [more inside]
Each bite brought a delicate balance between pleasure and pain—deliciously peppery flavor, bought at the price of having your mouth feel like you’d swallowed fire. But the pain was a good pain, somehow. It forced you to slow down and experience each bite, and that’s a rare experience these days. No one mindlessly gobbles Sichuan hot pot, simply because it’s physically impossible to do so without powerful anesthetic.
You have only 128 days left to eat at Charlie Trotter's eponymous restaurant in Chicago. [more inside]
Fresh tofu in Japan is far better than it is anywhere else, and the tofu in Kyoto is generally held to be the best in the country. This is generally attributed to the skill, refined court and/or temple-influenced culture and the quality of the local water. ... During my week in Kyoto, I was able to pursue one family business’s vision of what tofu should be from beginning to end. [more inside]
Classic seafood and fish recipes, from a time when it was cheap and plentiful, and often cured in salt.
For Super Tuesday, sardonic food writer Michael Procopio presents an excellent Rick-Santorum-themed cake recipe. [more inside]
This is the perfect recipe for those of you who like to enjoy a big bowl of macaroni and cheese for dinner and absolutely nothing else. It’s beautifully flavored, creamy, cheesy, and with the smokey bite of crisp salty bacon on top?? Oh man, you guys are in for a treat — I’m not even kidding. It’s amazing. (previously)
Kitchen Nightmares shows Gordon Ramsay helping restaurants make miraculous turnarounds. Ramsay helped relaunch Austin, Texas's El Greco, but the restaurant still ended up closing. Some people are saying that Ramsay's interference may have been the final nail in the coffin for the restaurant.
If you don’t use the right potatoes, the right oil, and the right fryers, well, you get french fries. And that’s the reason you don’t find Belgian fries anywhere. [more inside]
Energetic consequences of thermal and nonthermal food processing. Or, as discussed by Discover Magazine, Why Calorie Counts Are Wrong: Cooked Food Provides a Lot More Energy. (N.B. second link references a video of house mice eating a baby albatross alive.)
Chef Sanjay Thumma (vahrehvah.com) wants to teach you how to make pretty much any Indian dish you can think of.
He does not cook like you do. But I would like an invitation for dinner: Cajun Stuffed Pork Chops with Bacon [more inside]
Great food ideas for a fantasy and sci-fi themed Thanksgiving features recipes from Inn at the Crossroads (medieval recipes/Game of Thrones), Harry Potter Recipes, and The Geeky Chef ("a collection of recipes inspired by books, movies, and video games").
Vegan bakeries are churning out increasingly tasty treats. Due to the negative connotations associated with veganism, many of these bakeries are forced to keep their vegan identities on the down low.
[M.F.K. Fisher's] "How to Cook a Wolf" reads like an issue of Lady's Home Journal, if the editorial staff were taken over by a philosopher with an empty stomach, a slightly tipsy poet and your mischievous, foxy grandmother who once kept many lovers. (related) [more inside]
The Dinner Party Matrix from Mark Bittman. Drinks, appetizers, entrees, and desserts grouped by cuisine and ingredient.
Food Fight: Does Healthy Food Have to Be More Expensive? In which the blog Get Rich Slowly chronicles an argument about nutrition vs cost and then invites readers to chime in.
Pasta alla carbonara (usually spaghetti, but also fettuccine, rigatoni or bucatini) is an Italian pasta dish based on eggs, cheese (pecorino or parmesan), bacon (guanciale or pancetta), and black pepper. [more inside]
In 1931, Irma Rombauer, a Missouri homemaker struggling to support her family after the suicide of her husband, self-published The Joy of Cooking: A Compilation of Reliable Recipes with a Casual Culinary Chat. The New York Public Library later named it one of the 150 most influential books of the century. [more inside]
Though it is by far Peter Greenaway’s most well known film and, for all of the visceral and intellectual challenges it proposes, probably his most approachable, The Cook, the Thief, His Wife & Her Lover remains a difficult film to apprehend. (the beginning and the end, both NSFW)
Aspic and other delights showcases the absolute horrors of good, old-fashioned home cooking. Or, at least the advertisements for it. Aspic, in case you were wondering, is food, often meat or seafood encased in gelatin or cooled meat stock.
Doppelgänger Dinners. That was the seed of an idea that grew into our most recent dinner: a 7 course meal with an omnivore and vegetarian option where each corresponding course looked identical across the meat/vegetable line. [...] We also wanted to challenge ourselves by not simply creating a bunch of meat dishes and substituting each meat with tofu or some other protein stand-in. So no repeating of ingredients: if we used basil puree in the veggie dish, then we had to use parsley puree in the meat dish. Studiofeast commits culinary counterfeiting. [via]
Fast food in South India is fast | in Thailand iced tea is really cool | in Sri Lanka tea is cooled with dramatic effect | in Delhi the bread is made fast too | in Calcutta it puffs up magically | tea serenely | singly | or two at a time | in China tea is served with a long spout, acrobatically. [more inside]
Do you find yourself envious of the perfectly staged photos accompanying recipes? Are your drawing skills better than your culinary skills? Recipe Look is a collection of user-submitted illustrated recipes, some with pictures fit for a magazine, others a bit more casual. See also: Drawn Butter, an illustrated recipe blog (via Johnny Wander's Ecto-Cooler Smoothie); Pictoral Recipes from Oregon State University (in English and Spanish); and two recipes from comic artist Lucy Knisley (via; Knisley prev, prev).