The idea behind Cookbook Club is a simple one—a group of friends all make recipes from the same book and gather to share the results, a crowdsourced feast. But there's a bit of magic to Cookbook Club that I didn't anticipate when I attended my first meeting, walking into an unfamiliar house clutching a bowl of pumpkin seed dip from Diana Kennedy's The Essential Cuisines of Mexico.
"The room was upholstered in crimson and oatmeal and decorated with Socialist Realist frescoes of industrious maidens. A hefty multipointed star descended from the ceiling like a satellite returning from space. Above the tables a pair of identical life-size plaster statues of Soviet schoolgirls faced each other in the manner of temple guardians. They drummed on drums with a look of patriotic ecstasy; crimson blindfolds bound their eyes. Taking a swig of kvas, a fermented bread beverage that's slightly reminiscent of root beer, I wondered whether the statues were intended to be a political statement, nostalgic kitsch, or just a really ambitious exercise in color coordination." - The Surreal Thrill Of Moscow Dining by Alex Halberstadt
Michael Twitty is becoming one of the most transformative figures in the world of food. Reinterrogating and recreating African-American history in the context of American culinary history through his blog Afroculinaria, Twitty argues for "culinary justice" in food writing and the conversation on food history. His project (and forthcoming book of the same name) The Cooking Gene is in part a product of his Southern Discomfort Tour, a journey retracing the preservation and transmission of culinary knowledge before, during and beyond slavery. [more inside]
60 Second Tasting Menu. Now that Eater is part of a $850M media org, they have rebundled their site's video offerings.
When shopping for a microwave oven, bring a box of appalams and cook four of them for 30 seconds. (via What if? xkcd via this amusing ELI5 about a microwave-resistant gnat)
A short series from the Guardian.
What we eat
How we eat it
How we grow it
How we cook it
How we share it
What we eat
How we eat it
How we grow it
How we cook it
How we share it
A few weeks ago, the restaurant critic for the East Bay Express found himself duped by reviews of a phony Chinese restaurant in the hills of El Cerrito. Was it a hoax or a glimpse of a possible future?
The Food Lab's Complete Guide to Sous-Vide Steak (J. Kenji López-Alt, Serious Eats)
"As you can see, the steak cooked for just one hour stretches and pulls when you tear it. This gives the steak a pleasant amount of chew. It's still tender, but it tastes like a steak. By the time we hit four hours, that chew has been reduced a bit. Connective tissue has broken down and individual muscle fibrils split apart easily instead of sticking together, though a four-hour steak is still pretty decent."[more inside]
What were the food and cooking techniques of the Viking Age? you could ask The Viking Answer Lady or get pollen analysis, reconstruction tips, and recipes from The Viking Food Guy, or you could just ask Chef Jesper Lynge (Daily Mail) who is attempting to revive Viking Cusine from his cafe in an Danish Iron Age graveyard. ( Recipies and descriptions )
Today is World Jollof Rice Day. Jollof rice is a traditional West African dish, but not a humble one. Subject of #JollofGate, the outraged social media response to chef Jamie Oliver's patently inauthentic recipe, aficionados debate the merits of special ingredients. Others prefer joining the loud brangling online over Ghanaian vs Nigerian Jollof. Regardless of your beliefs, join the world today in celebrating the tasty goodness of this much loved dish.
HOW many eggs? A couple of librarians make recipes they've always wanted to eat from their favorite books. Recipes may contain bibliographies. [via mefi projects] [more inside]
In AD 79, a baker put his loaf of bread into the oven. Nearly 2,000 years later it was found during excavations in Herculaneum. The British Museum asked Giorgio Locatelli to recreate the recipe as part of his culinary investigations for Pompeii Live. [more inside]
Rene Redzepi, of Noma restaurant, has a beautiful instagram feed. Here are photos of a "Danish", crispy cabbage, segments of citrus, gooseberries, the "ellen-selfie" for chefs, fiddlehead, porcini, a giant conch, honeycomb. How do they get all these ingredients? (Previously).
The Magic Chocolate Flower Dessert was created by Portuguese pastry chef Joaquim Sousa. Here he demonstrates how to make it. (Via)
Summer's upon us, and that means it's time to wallow in delicious ice cream over at Serious Eats. Learn how to make sorbet, sherbet, gelato, fro-yo, and soft serve. While you're at it, mix in the best ways to swirl in chocolate, nuts, and booze. Top it off with myth-dispelling advice from the pros on when to use corn syrup, age an ice cream base, add eggs to a recipe, incorporate a stabilizer, and create a smoky finish. If the ice cream sounds like too much work, make a no-churn Key Lime Pie instead. For you vegans out there, we've got something for you too.
The Fruit Cutting Championships, a 2008 episode of the TV Tokyo variety show TV Champion 2, complete with commercials. Remarkably entertaining despite the language barrier (due to the visual nature of the competition). Event breakdown/explanation after the fold. [more inside]
David Lebovitz visits the Le Creuset factory in Fresnoy-le-Grand, France.
Do Androids Dream Of Cooking? The following recipes are sampled from a trained neural net. Happy cooking!
Cooking In The Archives: recreating recipes from the Early Modern Peroid (1600s-1800s) in a modern kitchen. Not old enough? Then try some authentically medieval recipes.
We talked to registered dietitians, personal trainers, health editors, book authors, nutritionists, and healthy food writers and asked them -- what do you eat for breakfast? (buzzfeed)
" “I tell my daughters that when I go, they’ll know the good recipes from the dirty pages.” [NYT]] A group of Nashville writers mounts an exhibit of the dirty pages from their own family cookbooks.
Building a stove is simple. Building a good stove is hard. Building a good, cheap stove can drive an engineer crazy
Edouard Pozerski de Pomiane was a physician and biologist with a particular interest in gastronomy and cooking. Long before thirty, twenty, and fifteen minute meals, de Pomaine made La cuisine en dix minutes. [more inside]
FoodGawker is basically a food-based search engine, complete with pretty pictures of really good lookin' foods and the links to their recipes. [more inside]
Dumpling Week has come to Serious Eats! Learn about dumplings around the world, which frozen potstickers are best, where chicken and dumpling soup came from, and how to make your own pierogi, xiao long bao, and gyoza. It's a dumpling party!
Got a recipe with an ingredient you can't find? Never fear, the Cook's Thesaurus is here. The Cook's Thesaurus contains information on thousands of ingredients and kitchen tools, including recommended substitutions and commentary on flavors, and is especially useful for people learning to improvise in the kitchen. Entries range from callaloo to huauzontle to Velveeta. There's even sometimes a bit of colorful commentary, as in the entry for chipped beef.
Thai Curries — Kaeng (or Gkaeng or Gaeng). Award-winning cookbook author, cooking teacher, and tour guide Kasma Loha-Unchit discusses Thai curries. More detail on making curry: making curry paste from scratch, tips on equipment and technique, tips on prepping herbs and spices, the importance of the mortar and pestle. [more inside]
31 Exciting Pizza Flavors You Have To Try. Native New Yorkers should probably not click through and may wish to revisit this thread instead.
Irish-American Dining. A history of and guide to food that is expressly Irish-American, by Mefi's own Max Sparber. Irish Egg Rolls! Early onion-based pub food! The hidden history of the Shamrock Shake! [via mefi projects]
Have you ever looked at a recipe in a mid-century cookbook and thought, “Ew. That is so nasty.” But you couldn’t stop looking at the recipe. Or thinking about it. As time went on, you kept going back to the book, thinking, “I wonder what it tastes like?” Then the Mid-Century Menu is for you. And so is: Barbecue Bean Jello Mold. Spaghetti Subs. Candied Crackers. Oh, and Happy Saint Patrick’s Day! [more inside]
The robot cookbook: can a supercomputer write recipes? Watson, IBM’s supercomputer, has (with help from the Institute of Culinary Education) written what IBM's Florian Pinel calls "the first specimen of a new generation of smarter cookbooks". Do the unusual ingredient combinations work, or is plum pancetta cider really as disgusting as it sounds? IBM sent a food truck to SXSW to (ahem) road-test the recipes. Reports are, the Bengali butternut BBQ sauce is delicious. Of course, there's a TED talk.
Climbing Mt. Ramen, vegan-style. For the past four years, J. Kenji Lopez-Alt of Serious Eats has gone vegan for the month of February.
This is hands-down the best bowl of ramen I've ever made. And it can all be yours—with a little bit of heavy-duty climbing, that is. It's a bear of a recipe with many moving parts and tons of individual elements that need to come together in one bowl at the end. Set aside at least half a day for this project because you won't be making it on a weeknight. That said, it's not very difficult, technique-wise, lots of simmering and straining and just a bit of roasting. Come with me. I can lead the way and put the anchors in for you, but you're going to have to pull yourself up to the top.
Okonomiyaki World is a surprisingly comprehensive cooking resource that includes a history, recipes and variations for both Osaka/Kansai and Hiroshima styles, information on ingredients and nutrition, supplies and utensils, restaurants serving okonomiyaki around the world, and even an okonomiyaki discussion group. The only thing it's missing is a banjo tribute that features animated, dancing cats, but this link has you covered.
AVclub.com asked Weird Al Yankovic, "If a deli named a sandwich after you, what would be on it?" His answer:
I’d say a fire-roasted eggplant, some roasted red peppers, diced heirloom tomatoes, some thin-sliced red onions—maybe double up on the onions and have some caramelized onions on top of the sliced onions. A little basil, some arugula, some chopped and marinated mushrooms, maybe a slice of fresh avocado, some alfalfa sprouts, a dose of hummus, a drizzle of pomegranate molasses and put it on a warm toasted French roll lovingly sprinkled with some truffle oil.Challenge accepted.
Cooking with Christopher Walken Spoiler: They roast a chicken.
Carlos Llaguno Garcia, the Mexican born chef who rose from being an undocumented immigrant to executive chef at Les Halles, has died of cancer. He was 38. Carlos gained some minor television fame when he took his former mentor, Anthony Bourdain, on a tour of Puebla and Mexico City for No Reservations, and also appeared in his role as the restaurant's executive chef when Bourdain and chef Eric Ripert went back to work in the Les Halles kitchen for the show.
"To me this intersection [between food justice, fat-positive politics, and LGBTQ politics] seems clear as I live in a community where food is not easily accessible and I’m a fat dyke… We can simply look at the numbers and see that folks in poverty and are classified as food-insecure often have greater percentages of fat folks in their numbers. Often we get a lot of crossover between folks belonging to the LGBTQ communities and low-income folks. I’ve been doing food work with street-based queer youth for almost five years now. But beyond just the numbers we share this similar struggle, this fight for what’s just. We are all part of groups that are marginalized by society and many of us are doing work in many of these spaces."
The History Kitchen takes a quick look at the food of the California Gold Rush, and has a recipe for Hangtown Fry.
Isabella Rossellini's daughter Elettra has a witty, attractive food/recipe blog where she shares a customizable pasta dish her grandfather, the iconic director Roberto Rossellini, used to make.
Steve Albini is many things: a recording engineer, a guitarist and singer, a curmudgeon. He's also a surprisingly talented food blogger. [more inside]
A very basic white chicken stock is a pretty simple affair: It's made with water, chicken, aromatic vegetables like onion, carrot, and garlic, and then herbs.