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.
" When the stories we tell about cooking say that it is only ever fun and rewarding—instead of copping to the fact that it can also be annoying, time consuming, and risky—we alienate the people who don’t have the luxury of choice, and we unwittingly reinforce the impression that cooking is a specialty hobby instead of a basic life skill." [more inside]
The entire creation story of the Toll House Cookie™ is full of half-truths and outright misinformation. It’s time we knew the truth about the history of chocolate chip cookies. (sl, the Toast.) [more inside]
Pizza making questions come up on Ask Mefi and the Blue semi-regularly. But I was surprised to find that (before it was a pricey book) ENCYCLOPIZZA was a web site that has apparently never been mentioned here. It went officially offline at the end of 2011, but thanks to the Wayback Machine, the online ENCYCLOPIZZA can still be yours. If you are serious about learning and hanging out with other serious pizzamakers of all stripes, you should also get thee to the pizzamaking.com forums. (Previously: A Layman's Guide to Regional Styles, and The Ridiculously Thorough Guide to Making Your Own Pizza )
How to Cook Vegetables. How to Flavor with Spices. How to Flavor with Fresh Herbs. How to Maximize Flavor using the Flavor Star. An international guide to Aromatics.
Reanna Alder eats roadkill raccoon so you don't have to. (Article has no images except a highly processed one of a live raccoon.)
Cooking the Books
"Cooking the Books is an internet cooking show hosted by Emily Gould in which she invites famous authors into her kitchen to make food inspired by their books."[more inside]
As hinted in the leaked digital innovation report which outlined how the venerable newspaper could leverage a substantial archive to compete with clickbait, The New York Times has been developing cooking.nytimes.com, a beautifully searchable repository of every recipe ever published in the newspaper. [more inside]
Eating healthy food and eating together is important. But if you hate to cook, what's the best way to do that? (SLNYT)
American Chop Suey (aka Goulash) gets the Food Lab treatment from MeFi favorite J. Kenji López-Alt. (American Chop Suey was the subject of two recent questions on The Green.)
The Food Lab: Make Your Own Just-Add-Hot-Water Instant Noodles. "Wouldn't it be great if you could get all of the convenience and pleasure of instant noodles—the portability, the just-add-water cooking, the lunch-sized portions—but pack it full of fresh vegetables and real, honest-to-goodness flavor? Here's a secret: you can, and it's easier than you think."
Of course long before my boyfriend cheated on me or I made awful carrot/goldfish cum pasta sauce, cooking shame and sexual shame have gone together. For each, you put the very core of yourself out there in a very pointed attempt to give someone a one-of-a-kind sensual experience, and to differentiate yourself, to declare, "Please notice and appreciate my singular talent" and when at your urging they sample and reject, well, it is not good.An Argument for Never Cooking Again
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]
Every competitive cooking show in America, ranked by the A.V. Club
"Nowadays, we tend to eat biscuits with beverages like tea and coffee. But in the past they were an important element of the dessert course and were dipped into sweet wine." - Food History Jottings (previously) on the strange world of Regency biscuits. (Cookies to you US types.)
29 life-changing quesadillas you need to know about. Buzzfeed, gloriously cheesy list on one page.
One pound of Almons beat them small, in the beating put in the Row of a Pike 4 dates cut and the yolkes of 4 Eggs temper it with cold water Straine it through a Strainer & make a quart of it Season it with Suger Rosewater Salt pxxxxe beaten Mace When it is Baked scrape suger on
The simple chilled soup is perfect for steamy August days.
Gazpacho is so easy that children old enough to manage a food processor or a blender can make it themselves. But whether or not you have pint-size sous chefs at your disposal, a recipe that requires minimal effort and in most instances no heat is always a good thing this time of year. So, here is that ubiquitous summer standby done a few ways that you’re probably familiar with and a bunch more that you’re probably not. (If Thai melon gazpacho is already in your rotation, good for you, and I surrender.) The “recipes” here amount to little more than lists of ingredients and quantities, because the method doesn’t bear repeating 12 times: Combine everything in a blender or food processor, process to your desired texture, chill in the refrigerator if you like, garnish and eat.[more inside]
The Salt, NPR's food blog, explains how Leanne Brown was inspired to develop a cookbook for people on SNAP. Leanne published Good and Cheap[PDF] as the capstone project for her MA in Food Studies at New York University and released it online as a free ebook. She also ran a successful Kickstarter to produce a print version.
J. Kenji Lopez-Alt, managing culinary director at food blog Serious Eats, recently took an extended trip to China and southeast Asia with his wife, Adri, after driving across the country during a move from New York to San Francisco. He documented his Asia trip on a personal blog set up to elude Chinese censors. [more inside]
VanillaReview.com provides reviews of online vanilla bean sources. If you want to give homemade vanilla extract to your friends and family this Giftmas, now's the time to get started. But don't stop there -- you can also learn about vanilla frost, vanilla bean grading, vanilla growing, and even vanilla tattoos, which are used to prevent vanilla rustling. [more inside]
Multiple websites are out there to help you dine like an anime character. Typically, they consist of anime screencaps plus either adapted or invented recipes that attempt to replicate the dishes. Okonomiyaki, dainty strawberry cakes, gyoza, Ponyo's ramen, coffee jelly, you name it! There's the earnest Real Anime Food. Then there's the sillier Recipes for Weebs, which has functional indices. Anime Recipes hasn't updated in a year, but it has a long list of recipes, including the fish pie from Kiki's Delivery Service. [more inside]
"In peace or war, the ultimate refuge—the sanctuary of all that is humane—lies distilled within the warmth of the kitchen." Journalist Paul Salopek pauses in the middle of his 21,000-mile Out of Eden Walk from Africa to South America -- Ethiopia to Tierra del Fuego -- to reflect on the food shared with him during his time in Israel and Palestine. "Watching the women of Nablus move briskly, efficiently, purposefully about their tasks, chatting, often joking (about men, politics, life), I am reminded of all the meals that admitted me briefly into the conflicted lives of Israelis and Palestinians." [more inside]
The Oxford Symposium on Food and Cookery is an annual weekend conference discussing food, its history, and culture. Since 1981 the papers presented at the Symposium have been collected into a conference volume called the Proceedings of the Oxford Symposium on Food and Cookery, most of which have been made available for free in their entirety via Google Books. Each volume consists of about 25-40 papers surrounding the theme of that year's Symposium (e.g. Eggs, Authenticity, or The Meal). [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]
The Girl Scouts published the first recipe for Some Mores in 1927, and it just took off. The s'more has become an All-American campfire treat … and the combination of warm gooey marshmallow, melty chocolate, and crisp graham cracker has inspired a bunch of other s'more-inspired recipes. I give you: Triple dipped apples. Pie. Popcorn. Mini donuts. Stuffed cookies. Dip. Ice cream. Chocolatier ice cream. Homemade pop tarts. Macarons. Cups. Fudge. Krispies Bar. Truffles. Cheesecake. Pie pops. Bites. Milkshake. Empanadas. Trifles. Frozen. [more inside]
Looking for American recipes to take to tonight's 4th of July party? It's easy to find historic recipes. But why not look to America's great fiction writers instead? [more inside]
"Pastry work takes a level of skill, precision and rigor that I lacked in spades. I could’ve maybe become a decent pastry cook, with months of practice and a patient boss, but I was in no way qualified to be a pastry chef. I gave it my best effort, for three days, until the chef-owner realized her mistake and fired me. The place closed in less than 6 months. I never got paid." Laurie Woolever at The Billfold talks about how she went from Botantical Garden Intern to Anthony Bourdain's assistant.
The psychology of Soylent and the prison of first-world food choices
People are born with neither the ability to cook nor compile; both are taught, and chastising even an adult for not knowing how to cook a healthy meal makes about as much sense as chastising an adult for not knowing how to code or how to compile an application from source. Each of those two different ridicules demonstrates an identical lack of empathy and an accompanying equally stunning sense of privilege that you should probably check immediately.
The Art of Antarctic Cooking
What comprises “Antarctic culinary history,” Anthony writes, is “a mere century of stories of isolated, insulated people eating either prepackaged expedition food or butchered sea life.” It helped if some of these isolated, insulated people knew their way around the kitchen. “The cook, however good or bad, is an artist whose simple vocation is to make others lives happier,” observed chef Raymond Oliver. More magician than artist, a cook with an Antarctic expedition ranked as one of its most important members. His kitchen little more than a Primus stove, his ingredients either canned or scrounged, he conjured nourishing dishes as if from the gelid air.[more inside]
Molecular gastronomy at its most basic: Chef Heston Blumenthal makes chocolate mousse in five minutes using nothing but chocolate and water. (Heston Blumenthal (previously, pre-previously) [SLYT]