Greg Easter and his Youtube channel, CookingInRussia, are one of the internet's greatest (and growing) repositories of culinary knowledge. I was reminded again of his unequalled excellence when he recently posted his unbelievable recipe for Persian Rose Chicken. Everything he teaches is directed at the home cook, but he will never dumb it down or simplify anything to sacrifice flavor. If a stock cube will make it taste just as good as stock from scratch, he's absolutely fine with that. But if stock from scratch is what's required, he will quite directly tell you to start roasting those bones, buster. [more inside]
Hollandaise sauce might sound like a typical Dutch delicacy, however, it isn’t from the Netherlands at all, and instead was originally called Sauce Isigny (Google books) after a town in Normandy, Isigny-sur-Mer, known for its butter and other dairy products, but was renamed Sauce Hollandaise in World War I when butter was imported from Holland. Or was it? (Gb). When the once exiled Huguenots returned from northern Europe back to France, they may have brought a creamy, lemony sauce known as Sauce à la Hollandaise, as listed there in François Marin's 1758 cookbook Les Dons de Comus, and similarly in The Book of Household Management by Mrs. Isabella Beeton as "Dutch Sauce for Fish," and "Green sauce, or Hollandaise verte" (Archive.org). [more inside]
As the UK continues to absorb the implications of the Brexit referendum vote, further splits open due to the (possibly overcooked) arguments between TV cooking show hosts. The declaration of one, that “no family should own a deep-fat fryer” leads to the reply that “...the UK was built on chips and spam fritters.” Host hostilities are further inflamed by the cultural flashpoint of whether Jaffa Cakes should, or could, be dunked in tea, with the retort of “We don't do that in the south, you know.” (Previously  and ) [more inside]
If you ever had the dal tadka or the Club Sandwich and wondered who to thank, you may want to look at our Colonial Rulers and their second big gift: the Dak Bungalow. More on colonial food from the British Raj. Recipes. Old recipes. Controversy in Portland. What came back Home. Comparisons. Hang on, deliciousness aside, what is a Dak Bungalow?
Take a large wheel of cheese. Cut it. Melt an edge of it under a grill. Scrape, scrape, scrape and pour over potatoes. Enjoy. [more inside]
The State of Soul Food in America: Exploring the Past, Present, and Future by Adrian Miller [First We Feast] What does soul food mean in 2016? A roundtable of experts discusses the emerging movements and obstacles the cuisine faces. [more inside]
No diet, no detox: how to relearn the art of eating, by Bee Wilson, author of the weekly column, The Kitchen Thinker. "All the foods that you regularly eat are ones that you learned to eat. Everyone starts life drinking milk. After that, it’s all up for grabs. From our first year of life, human tastes are astonishingly diverse. But we haven’t paid anything like enough attention to another consequence of being omnivores, which is that eating is not something we are born instinctively knowing how to do. It is something we learn."
What Are the Defining Ingredients of a Culture’s Cuisine? Priceonomics examines a dataset of Epicurious recipes to pull out the most common ingredient and the most distinctive ingredient by cuisine, plus a "Meat-o-Meter" that looks at commonly used meats in various cuisines. [more inside]
Who Owns Chicken Tikka Masala? Complicating a popular origin story.
60 Second Tasting Menu. Now that Eater is part of a $850M media org, they have rebundled their site's video offerings.
René Redzepi Plans to Close Noma, Reopen It as an Urban Farm. Mr. Redzepi, 37, the godfather of the New Nordic movement and the chef at Noma, arguably the world’s most influential restaurant at the moment, was standing outside what looked like an auditorium-size crack den. Used spray-paint cans lay in heaps amid the weeds of an abandoned lot. Street art covered the walls of an empty warehouse; inside, teenagers rumbled around on skateboards. “Welcome to the new Noma,” the chef René Redzepi said on a bright summer day. “This is it.”
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).
My mission: to eat (reasonably) authentic cuisine from every country in the world (160 countries), without leaving New York City.
In a bid to woo increasing numbers of tourists from India, South African Tourism had to create awareness of the different flavours of vegetarianism. Starting with how to distinguish between run of the mill vegetarians, from vegans and Jains, they ultimately found themselves launching a cookbook. Now you too can eat bunny chow and bobotie!
Here's literally every single thing that goes into one night of running a Russian restaurant in Portland, Oregon: One Night at Kachka
[E]ven though the restaurant's cartoonish decor bordered on offensive, it was still a temple to a people and a cuisine that America couldn't ignore. Taco Bells were everywhere. In every strip mall. Off every highway exit. Even the racists, the immigrant-haters, the people who'd laugh at my elementary-school stand-up comedy routine would run for the border.John DeVore writes about finding the "unexpected, self-affirming solace" of home... at Taco Bell. [more inside]
You can laugh or sneer at Taco Bell. Shake your head at its high fat and salt content. Go ahead and lecture on what true Mexican food is. My mom would probably just roll her eyes at you, and take a broken yellow shard of crispy taco shell and use it to scoop up the pintos, cheese, and salsa.
The Washington Post investigates how chef Peter Chang stopped running and started empire-building:
The pursuit of Chang soon became an all-consuming story among exotic-food hunters: a tale of obsession, devotion and love for one chef’s authentic Chinese fare. The chase narrative transformed a Hubei province farm boy with minimal English language skills into an American cult figure, an image that, years later, still clings to the chef despite his restaurant chain that keeps expanding year after year.[more inside]
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.
Perhaps no other classical composer was as obsessed with good food and wine as Gioachino Rossini, who claimed he would only visit America if his close friend, legendary chef Antonin Carême, accompanied him. Because of his culinary devotion, many dishes are named "alla Rossini." One of the most decadent is Tournedos Rossini, a heart-stopping combination of beef filet, fois gras, butter, black truffle, and Madeira. In honor of Signor Crescendo's birthday on February 29, here is a recipe for that infamous dish. And while it’s cooking, how about some bel canto? [more inside]
The History Kitchen takes a quick look at the food of the California Gold Rush, and has a recipe for Hangtown Fry.
The Huffington Post and Yelp have collaborated to create a map showing the most popular cuisine in each state.
Since the controversial 2010 takeover of the British company Cadbury, by the makers of processed cheese slices Kraft, consumers of chocolate have been dismayed at the many changes brought in by the new owners. But the breaking point of many has been reached as the recipe for Cadbury Creme Eggs in the UK is changed, replacing dairy milk chocolate with standard cocoa mix chocolate. To add insult to culinary injury, Mondelez International, owned by Kraft Foods, is also introducing five eggs in a pack instead of three and six-packs. The opinions of actors and wallpaper designers. [more inside]
SLBBC - Three cheers for the onion: onions are eaten and grown in more countries than any other vegetable but rarely seem to receive much acclaim. It's time to stop taking the tangy, tear-inducing bulb for granted and give it a round of applause. [more inside]
Recently on The Blue we've had discussions about American Chop Suey and New Jersey Pork Roll, but what about other regional favorites, like Lutefisk, Scrapple, or the French Dip Sandwich? Just in time for Thanksgiving, here are a few links to get you started:
Lieut.-Col. Newnham-Davis was engaged in 1897 as the restaurant reviewer of the Pall Mall Gazette, and his reviews of London restaurants are collected in Dinners and Diners: Where and How to Dine in London, available online from The Dictionary of Victorian London. Newnham-Davis was a bon vivant, amateur of the theatrical world, and man of parts, and his reviews were equal parts reminiscence of the conversation with his pseudonymous companions and recollections and reviews of his opulent and lengthy Victorian dinners. [more inside]
Amy Glaze writes How To Talk Like A French Chef:
I’m not learning the kind of French I intended to. The other night on one of my days off, I ordered a cocktail at an upscale restaurant that I had never heard of before. It was a mixture of rum and spirits with fruit juice. It sounded interesting but a little too sweet for my taste. I asked the server if it was dégueulasse (deh-guh-lass), which I thought meant ‘gross’.and The Chocolate Chip Caper:
My hands are permanently blood stained (out out damn spot!) and no matter how much bleach or hydrogen pyroxide I use it won’t go away. They are swollen from gutting hunted animals by hand and getting pricked by tiny bullet shattered bones – so much so, that I can’t even get my engagement ring over my knuckle let alone make a tight fist. The scars on my hands, wrists and arms from cooking and accidents (like the time I tripped on a box left on the floor and landed hands first onto our massive hot plate stove burning the entire side of my hand and wrist) are obscene.[more inside]
MIND MELD: Food in Science Fiction versus Fantasy
This week we asked about Food and Drink in SF. Food and Drink in science fiction sometimes seems limited to replicator requests for Earl Grey tea and Soylent green discs. Why doesn’t do as much food as Fantasy? Does Fantasy lend itself more to food than Science fiction? Why? This is what they had to say…[more inside]
Food in Every Country provides information on the foodways of several dozen countries (not all of them, despite the site's name), with brief explanations of their culture and history -- and recipes! [more inside]
Conservative bon vivant Michael Anton writes about the thrill of cooking in an haute cuisine restaurant, as well as the rise of celebrity chef culture and personalities like Anthony Bourdain and Michael Ruhlman.
The trailer for the 2012 documentary The Raw and the Cooked stands alone as a work of art, by capturing perfectly the best scenes from this beautiful film. Created by German filmmaker Monika Treut. Background.
Sinsemil.la isn’t about getting high — it is about haute cuisine. Founded in New York City, this underground supper club highlights exceptional and locally-sourced ingredients according to season. Marijuana varietals are tested not just for their organic qualities, but specifically to balance the flavors of each dish and for their psychoactive properties throughout the flow of the dinner.
"....many a tragic episode in family life is superinduced by the baleful influence of a tortured stomach. Mighty is the hand that holds the ballot-box, but mightier is the hand that wields to advantage the pepper-box, the salt-spoon, and the sugar-shaker." read the entirely of Maud C. Cooke's, Breakfast, Dinner and Supper; or, What To Eat and How To Prepare It (1897) online and enter a world of home remedies, large scale recipes, sound advice, leftover wizardry, squirrel stews, scientific digestion, and horrible things done to vegetables.
Scrapple, Half-smokes, Marionberry Pie, Cowboy Cookies and Akutaq: Deadspin responds to Slate's wonderful state-by-state sports map (previously) with a map of regional foods, complete with highly opinionated rankings and commentary.
"My wife and I were chatting while she was slicing potatoes on a mandoline..." A list of kitchen accidents, both personal and professional. (Maybe NSFW, definitely gory, though entertaining as hell.) [more inside]
For the past eighteen years, Gil Garduño has been chronicling his adventures in New Mexican cuisine on his NM Gastronome blog. With over seven hundred reviews of restaurants around New Mexico, Gil's got you covered, whether you like classic New Mexican food, green chile cheeseburgers, or even other types of food that happen to be well-represented in the state. Gil is fierce in his defense of homegrown eateries over chains, saying that "word of mouth is crucial to survival and through this bully pulpit, I’ll do my best to extol the great value and virtue of supporting local restaurants." A warning, however: if you like food, and particularly New Mexican food, Gil's excellent and evocative writing about (and photography of) great dishes is likely to make you more than a little bit hungry.
You got your cuisine in my astrophysics; no, you got your astrophysics in my cuisine: Neil deGrasse Tyson interviews Anthony Bourdain. (SYTL)
So, I’ve been doing my research. Because there are so many prefectures and so many famous foods, I’m going to be breaking this article up into two parts. One for North, East, and Central prefectures of Japan, and one for West and South prefectures of Japan. At the end of the second part, we’ll also include a printout that has a map with numbers on all the prefectures corresponding to a list down below it. That way you can print this out, take it with you, and go on a rompy food excursion in Japan.
Vice details dining on dog in Hanoi. (Trigger warning; pics of roast dog, graphic text). Dog eating is not limited to South East Asia, there's a historical precedent almost everywhere in the world, and is still eaten in parts of Europe. [more inside]
The five scholars explored the question, “What is the meaning of food?” and debated its role in ethnic and religious tensions. They also examined the possibility that “food, which is something that all of us share, albeit in different ways, can be used to bring people together instead of differentiating between us.” According to Goldstein, one of the most important ideas to come out of the group was that food is a social process rather than a commodity and thus is central to multicultural understanding: “[Food] has to do with how we live and it’s not just an object that we ingest.” Food: History & Culture in the West [PDF], was a 2010 UC Berkley Symposium exploring multiple links between food and culture: [more inside]
Historically, the city states of the Malay Peninsula often paid tribute to regional kingdoms such as those of China and Siam. Closer relations with China were established in the early 15th century during the reign of Parameswara, founder of Melaka, when Admiral Zheng He (Cheng Ho) sailed through the Straits of Malacca. Impressed by the tribute, the Yongle Emperor of China is said to have presented Princess Hang Li Po* as a gift to Mansur Shah, then Sultan of Malacca (+/-1459 AD). Tradition claims the courtiers and servants who accompanied the princess settled in Bukit Cina, intermarried with the locals and grew into a community known as the Peranakan. Colloquially known as Baba-Nyonya, the Peranakan or Straits Chinese, they retained many of their ethnic and religious customs, but assimilated the language and clothing of the Malays. They developed a unique culture and distinct foods. Nyonya cuisine is one of the most highly rated in the South East Asian region, considered some of the most difficult to master but very easy to love and enjoy.
ShortList has been reviewing British high-end (gourmet) burgers for the last few months. [more inside]
The BBC explore the olfactory delights of rakfisk, "trout sprinkled with salt and fermented in water for up to a year." But is it as smelly as Surströmming, fermented Baltic Herring from neighboring Sweden, or as extreme as the Icelandic Hákarl, basking shark buried in a hole and fermented for several months and tasting "similar to very strong cheese slathered in ammonia"? [more inside]
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