Harvard's Science & Cooking class - a collaboration between eminent Harvard researchers and world-class chefs - featured a series of public lectures from scientifically-minded A-list chefs, including Ferran Adrià (of elBulli), Wylie Dufresne (from wd~50), Grant Achatz (of Alinea), White House Executive Pastry Chef Bill Yosses, and Nathan Myhrvold .
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.
Pie a la Apple - a recipe for completely edible, single serving apple pies made out of the apples themselves. [more inside]
You have only 128 days left to eat at Charlie Trotter's eponymous restaurant in Chicago. [more inside]
The Pressure Cooker Makes A Comeback. "Pressure cookers are exploding—in a good way—into home and restaurant kitchens. I discovered the joys of pressure cooking last year while reviewing Modernist Cuisine, the 2,348-page encyclopedia of avant-garde cuisine by former Microsoft executive Nathan Myhrvold. He argues that pressure cookers are the perfect vessel for making stock, and he's right. Pressure cooking extracts more flavors from the primary materials and keeps them in the pot, where they condense back into a rich, full-bodied liquid. I was blown away by the chicken stock I made the first time I used a pressure cooker. But I didn't stop there. I followed a few of Myhrvold's other suggestions and soon discovered that pressure cookers make superior, stir-free risotto—cooked through, but with a pleasant hint of resistance—after just five-and-a-half minutes at pressure. Braised short ribs are similarly sublime, fork tender without being mushy, and bathed in a broth with an intense, concentrated beef flavor. They went from being a Sunday afternoon project to a supper I could prepare after work on weeknights. Emboldened by success, I even went so far as to pressure cook a surprisingly moist lemon-mascarpone cheesecake." [more inside]
Food Network Magazine's 100 Greatest Cooking Tips (of All Time) goes beyond the basic "taste-as-you-go" kind of advice (though it's in there). [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.
The Swedish Chef (Muppet Wiki) is the incomprehensible preparer of foodstuffs for The Muppet Show. A rather literal variation of the Live-Hand Muppet concept, the Swedish Chef is a humanoid character, with human hands rather than gloves. An annotated list of every televised appearance of the Swedish Chef is after the fold... Børk! Børk! Børk! [Click here to view the thread translated fully into Mock Swedish] [more inside]
For Super Tuesday, sardonic food writer Michael Procopio presents an excellent Rick-Santorum-themed cake recipe. [more inside]
In [the USA], buying a good over-the-counter nasal decongestant requires picking a card from an empty spot on the shelf, taking it to the pharmacist, handing over your driver's license, and getting it from behind the counter. Only the larger drug stores bother. Meth, on the other hand, is apparently easier to come by. So here (PDF), from the the wonderfully named Journal of Apocryphal Chemistry, is a paper on how to make Sudafed® from Meth.
These people in the midwest, they wouldn't know a bagel from a donut. They only saw a bagel if one fell off a truck. Four professors were dissecting it before they found out what it's all about.
Hiya Freddie baby, give me a dozen...my life's blood, without bagels what is a day? Yah make it a dozen assorted. Dat's it, give me the garlic, the sesame, the onion, give me them all baby, that's it! They're still handmade eh? Hot Bagels! Wait a second let me PAY yah! Here you are, kid. Thank you. Have a good day.
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)
Noma's Chef Rene Redzepi, whose dishes include Vintage Carrot and Chamomile; The Sea; and Asparagus and Spruce, on the science of deliciousness and the importance of using local ingredients. [more inside]
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]
Black Chefs' Struggle For The Top With the restaurant industry booming and chefs becoming celebrities and wealthy entrepreneurs, few blacks are sharing in that success, and as young black men and women enter the profession they are finding few mentors or peers. [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").
Food Lab Filter: J. Kenji Lopez-Alt presents the "Complete Guide to a Stress-Free Thanksgiving"
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]
Henry's Kitchen is a cooking show unlike any other: it is unpretentious (he's no arrogant, trained chef), dramatic in a unique way, and has some information that one doesn't find anywhere else. Henry's Anytime Chili for One is a classic. There's also Killer Oven-Baked French Toast, Spicy Shepherd's Pie, and Delicious Nutty Chocolate Truffles.
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]
Ever wanted to eat those nachos in the gas station but been too scared? This recipe for Filling Station Nachos will help you out. Thanks to the Milwaukee Public Library's Historic Recipe File you can make that dish, Three Hole Cake or a Milwaukee Man's Crepe. A "fascinating glimpse into the local and ethnic foods that were popular in Milwaukee from as long as 50 years ago." Making Taters Polish Pride or President Washington's Rice Waffles With Honey-Maple Syrup might take you a while. And while there are no bees in Bee Cake, the Barbecued Coon is a different story. [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).
Then, coming on six o'clock, Mr. Myhrvold, the former Chief Technology Officer of Microsoft and an inventor with hundreds of patents to his name, came in, wearing chef's whites, and ushered us into dinner. Boy, people eat early around here, I thought. Little did I know I would be eating non-stop for the next three hours. (previously: 1,2) [more inside]