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Posts Tagged ‘Food

“Some days I feel like playing it smooth. Some days I feel like playing it like a waffle iron.”*…

 

If you’ve been paying attention to breakfast in the past 15 years or so, you might have noticed something: waffles have gotten thicker and thicker. Stockier waffles with deep syrup pockets, often topped with fruit or Nutella or mountains of whipped cream, are the new norm. They’re what men with beards are handing you out of food truck windows, and what servers are plopping down in front of you at brunch. Today, in most diners and restaurants and those omnipresent hipster comfort-food places, if you order a waffle, it’s gonna be Belgian…

Waffles, like pancakes, have been in America for centuries. Thomas Jefferson allegedly brought the waffle iron to America from France. In the early 20th century, waffles were thin and flat, a wartime breakfast that spared frills. Skinny waffles were successfully mass-marketed to the public when three California brothers debuted frozen Eggo waffles in the ’50s. (Kellogg’s purchased the company in 1968.)

But even during the peak of Eggo popularity, a taste for a thicker waffle was percolating in America. Belgium natives Maurice and Rose Vermersch first served up thick, chewy waffles, known originally as Brussels waffles, at the 1964 World’s Fair in Queens. The waffles were such a hit at the fair that the Vermerschs simplified the name, deciding that the majority of Americans wouldn’t know where Brussels was. And from there, a craze was born…

The whole enchilada at: “The Tyranny of Belgian Waffles.”

* Raymond Chandler, Trouble Is My Business

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As we reach for the syrup, we might spare a thought for Curnonsky (Maurice Edmond Sailland); he died on this date in 1956.  (The name “Curnonsky” comes from the Latin cur + non “why not?” plus the Russian suffix -sky, as all things Russian were in vogue in 1895, when he coined it.)

An author who got his start as a ghostwriter for ‘Willy‘, Colette‘s husband, Curnonsky became France’s “Prince of Gastronomy,” the country’s most celebrated food and wine writer in the 20th century.  He wrote or ghost-wrote over 65 books and enormous numbers of newspaper columns. He is often considered the inventor of gastronomic motor-tourism as popularized by Michelin– he named the company’s mascot Bibendum and wrote Michelin’s weekly column “Les Lundis de Michelin” in Le Journal— though he himself could not drive. His “title,” “Prince-elu de la Gastronomie,” was awarded in a 1927 Paris-Soir poll of 3,000 French chefs, and has never been given since.  Curnonsky died by falling out of the window of his apartment. He was dieting at the time, and it is speculated that he had fainted.

Curnonsky (left) with his friend, Dr. Robine

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Written by LW

July 22, 2016 at 1:01 am

“As a child my family’s menu consisted of two choices: take it or leave it”*…

 

menu

From Open Table, a handy illustrated glossary of restaurant terms: Decode your menu.

* Buddy Hackett

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As we order with conviction, we might send tasty birthday greetings to Lafcadio Hearn; he was born on this date in 1850.  Also known also by the Japanese name Koizumi Yakumo, he was an international writer, known best for his books about Japan, especially his collections of Japanese legends and ghost stories (e.g., Kwaidan: Stories and Studies of Strange Things).  But Hearn should surely also be celebrated for La Cuisine Créole (1885), his collection of recipes from leading chefs and noted Creole housewives who helped make New Orleans famous for its cuisine– widely-agreed to have been the first Creole cookbook.

440px-Lafcadio_Hearn_portrait source

 

 

Written by LW

June 27, 2016 at 1:01 am

“The ultimate goal of farming is not the growing of crops, but the cultivation and perfection of human beings”*…

 

Deb Fallows, who (with her husband Jim) is driving the American Futures project (which readers can– and should– follow here), has just posted a fascinating piece on the way that the local food movement, often assumed to be a (privileged) feature of upscale urban life, is taking hold and changing prospects in the rural U.S.– specifically, in a remote desert town with very modest financial resources, and with a long history of the health problems that arise from poor nutrition.

Ajo, Arizona, the small desert community we have visited several times and written about for American Futures, offers something unique: a thriving local agriculture and food movement in the middle of the Sonoran Desert. For starters, conditions are about as challenging as you can imagine: desert temperatures with freezes in the winter and 110 degrees in the summer; poor soil with low organic and microbial content, high alkalinity and caliche (a natural cement); and four inches of rainfall annually, often arriving in downpours.

Undeterred, the active Ajo community pooled their energy and opportunities to build an intricate, cooperative network around food. Cooperating together in this town of only a few thousand people are the school, the clinic, local gardeners, the farmers’ market, local restaurants, the town’s grocery store, student interns, adult volunteers, the food bank, the CSA, and the anchor of the Sonoran Desert Conference Center, with its spaces for gardens, a chicken coop, celebratory events, teaching and demonstration space, and a newly-finished commercial kitchen…

Read the full story– important and heartening– at “Farming in the Desert.”

* Masanobu Fukuoka

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As we tend our gardens, we might send cultivating birthday greetings to Peter Henderson; he was born on this date in 1822.  An immigrant from Scotland, he settled in New Jersey, where he became a market gardener, florist, seedsman, and prolific author, publishing best-selling books like Gardening for Profit and Practical Floriculture.  The Henderson Seed Co., which he founded in 1847, operated until 1953… for all of which he is widely known as “the Father of America Horticulture.”

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Written by LW

June 9, 2016 at 1:01 am

“The secret of success in life is to eat what you like and let the food fight it out inside”*…

 

From the always-illuminating folks at Dangerous Minds:

It’s arguably the greatest LP gatefold image of all time: the drool-inducing food porn Mexican spread from the inner fold of ZZ Top’s 1973 Tres Hombres album. Only Coven’s Witchcraft Destroys Minds & Reap Souls comes close to matching it’s exemplary use of the medium, but as far as gatefold images go, it’s hard to top THE TOP.

In what is destined to be the the greatest short film of 2016, Austin chef Thomas Micklethwait lovingly re-creates this enviable meal and proceeds to eat the shit out of it.

As someone who has often dreamt of being at that fabled table, all I can say is kudos to the chef for allowing me to live vicariously through him and yet not have to experience the following day’s Afterburner tribute.

Fans of ZZ Top or grande burritos, take note:

email readers click here for video

* Mark Twain

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As we settle in for Concussion Fest 50, we might recall that today is Pork Rind Appreciation Day.

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Written by LW

February 7, 2016 at 1:01 am

“If they don’t have cookies in the cookie jar, they can’t eat cookies”*…

 

The staff of Food52 has gathered a repository of the world’s swellest sweets: 46 different cookies from around the world, each linked to its story and recipe.

As interestingly, they’ve opened up the drawer, inviting users to post their own favorite cookie recipes, geo-tagged to a world map.

* Suze Orman

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As we brush away the crumbs, we might recall that this is Human Rights Day, the date each year on which we celebrate the United Nations General Assembly’s adoption and proclamation, on December 10, 1948, of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR), the first global enunciation of human rights and one of the first major achievements of the new United Nations.

Eleanor Roosevelt, who chaired the Commission that wrote the Declaration, with the Spanish version

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Written by LW

December 10, 2015 at 1:01 am

“Opposites attract”*…

 

Indian food is categorically delicious: its flavors are complex, oscillating between sweet, savory, and spicy; its textures meld creamy sauces with doughy breads and tender meat and vegetables to make the slop of dreams. It’s a divine synthesis that is aromatic and sophisticated without being bougie. Hell, you can get a better-than-decent plate of it for nary more than the cost of a deli sandwich.

But what is it that makes Indian food so endlessly rich and tasty? Scientists were wondering, too, and recently performed an analysis of 2,500 recipes to find out…

Find illumination (and a timely life lesson) at “There’s a Scientific Reason Why Indian Food Is So Delicious.”

* Proverb

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As we dive into the dal, we might recall that it was on this date in 1967 that Arlo Guthrie’s anthemic “Alice’s Restaurant was released.  In 1965 (then 18-year-old) Arlo Guthrie and his friend Richard Robbins were arrested by Stockbridge, MA police officer William “Obie” Obanhein for illegally dumping a bag a garbage after eating Thanksgiving dinner at Alice’s Restaurant.  Guthrie and Robbins pled guilty, were fined $50 dollars each, and sentenced to pick up their garbage.  Guthrie memorialized the incident in “The Alice’s Restaurant Massacree,” which he first performed live on WBAI radio (a listener-supported station in New York); the song was so popular that the station would play it only after a listener made a substantial donation.  Since then, as some readers will know, it’s become traditional for many classic rock radio stations to play the song each Thanksgiving.

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Written by LW

November 22, 2015 at 1:01 am

“A Big Mac– the communion wafer of consumption”*…

 

Hiroyuki Terada, the star of the YouTube series “Diaries of a Master Sushi Chef,” (which has racked up over 40 million views) presents “Will It Sushi?”– the story of an ugly duckling 770-calorie double-decker hamburger and fries that became a swan: an appealing roll of beef and fresh veggies…

email readers click here for video

More background at “A master sushi chef makes a roll out of a Big Mac.”

* John Ralston Saul

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As we sharpen our knives, we might spare a thought for Art Ginsburg; he died on this date in 2012.  Better known by his professional name, Mr. Food, Ginsburg was a pioneering television chef (on the air from 1975) and best selling author of cookbooks.  He was an enthusiastic advocate of quick and easy cooking, and laid the groundwork for countless celebrity cooks to come.  His catch phrase, “Ooh! It’s so good!”, with which he ended each show, is a registered sound trademark with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.

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Written by LW

November 21, 2015 at 1:01 am

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