The Reassuring Joys of Comfort Food

By John DeMers  In food, as in so many things, our highly personalized response to the coronavirus pandemic has striking parallels to, and surprising departures from, the other great trauma of most current lifetimes: the 9/11 attacks. In that case, our leaders told us to go out to eat and spend money. In this case,…

Hassle-back glazed ham, eggxactly what your Easter dinner needs

Stacy Whittemore, Fischer and Wieser Culinary Adventure Chef.  Easter brings memories of family and friends in our backyard, gathered around picnic tables covered with pretty tablecloths, chocolate bunnies in baskets, and colored eggs hidden among the tulips.   Before dinner, we would go to Easter church services.  I would sit, not so patiently in my starched…

WELCOME SPRING & ASPARAGUS

By JOHN DeMERS Asparagus can be white if it’s from Germany or purple if it’s from Italy. But for most of us, the long, tapered stalks that announce the arrival of spring are always a delicate green. For many diners, as for many chefs and home cooks, nothing is “more spring” than asparagus. We’ve always…

The Wisdom of Chef Paul Prudhomme

By JOHN DeMERS I can’t make Cajun food, Creole food or any New Orleans combination of the two without thinking of the afternoons I spent enjoying the company of the late Chef Paul Prudhomme. I’m pretty sure I’ve mentioned in every cooking class I’ve ever taught that he was my No. 1 mentor when it…

THE GLORY THAT IS BRUNCH

By JOHN DeMERS Just about the only people who don’t love Sunday brunch are chefs, who insist that being dragged back into their kitchens after a wild, long and late Saturday night is the worst idea that ever crossed anybody’s mind. Everybody else seems to love brunch a lot. There are many claims to “inventing”…

Beauty in a Bowl of Texas Chili

By JOHN DeMERS One of the ways that’s guaranteed to get virtually all Texans mad at you, regardless of their ethnicity, religion or politics, is to start telling them what chili is supposed to be. In New Orleans, you don’t make friends talking about what gumbo is supposed to be either. Yet in my life…

Valentine’s Day Then and Now

In 1920, buying your sweetheart a drink on Valentine’s day was clandestine and risky.  Probation had begun on January 17th, 1920 and across America, it was a scramble to get bootleg liquor to smoky speakeasies tucked away in hotel basements and hidden Jazz bars.  Bartenders had to great creative to cover up a particularly bad…

The Magic of Pairing Wines with Foods

We are lucky: we don’t live in a world in which so much is made of wine science, knowledge, sophistication and connoisseurship that nobody would feel worthy of drinking the wonderful stuff. We do, however, live in a world in which (as from the beginnings of wine culture in ancient Greece), the more you know,…

Christmas Eve: Santa Plus Seven Fishes

Around the world, wherever Christmas is celebrated, Christmas Eve is a time of waiting. And because, other than kids waiting for Santa, that often means adults committed to fasting and abstinence, what a lot of those adults are waiting for is food.  Southern Italy, Sicily and virtually all the Little Italys in this republic named…

Red & Green Huevos for the Holidays

By JOHN DeMERS I never really loved eggs very much, raised in a world in which they came only with bacon and, if I was lucky, buttered grits, until I found my way to Mexican egg dishes. Now, from huevos rancheros to the colorfully named huevos divorciados, from migas to breakfast tacos, I’m finally in…

Making Sweet Potatoes for the Holidays

I’ve always been blasé about sweet potatoes, during the holidays or any other time. The straightforward version my parents served probably took their best shot with their browned, softened marshmallows on top, which invariably brought back happy memories of toasting marshmallows with friends and family over an outdoor fire. Friends and family – that’s what…

It’s Cranberry Season in America

By John DeMers What is the only berry you can think of that was enjoyed by native Americans 12,000 years ago, first commercially grown on Cape Cod by a veteran of the Revolutionary War, is typically harvested underwater, is eventually turned into a jelly-jiggling log that plops from a can, and is a safe expectation…