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…

The Story That Okra Tell Us

By: John DeMers In three-going-on-four decades of writing about, talking about, cooking and serving food, there’s only one ingredient that’s been regularly denigrated by people in my presence as being “slimy.” And the fact that it’s an essential ingredient for my hometown of New Orleans, my home state of Louisiana and my home region of…

Storm Brings Memories of Bahamas Food

By John DeMers The Bahamas, so recently the source of terrible headlines after Hurricane Dorian, form a set of Caribbean islands that are not in the Caribbean. They are in the Atlantic. Yet the same smoldering mix of sugar, rum, pirates and slaves that formed Caribbean culture (and cuisine) over four centuries formed these 700…

FISCHER & WIESER EVENT SUPPORTS LOCAL MENTORS

As part of its ongoing Cooking for a Cause series of fundraising cooking classes, Fischer & Wieser Specialty Foods presented a check for $2,640 to Fredericksburg Academic Boosters, a group that provides mentoring to students in local public schools. Group leader Karen Vanek accepted the check from company President/CEO Case D. Fischer at the Culinary…

Like Oktoberfest, Schnitzel Conquered the World

By John DeMers All this month of Oktoberfest here and around the world, schnitzel will be celebrated as a uniquely German dish – except it was actually launched in Austria and now can be found not only in the United States  but as “local food” in places as bizarrely dissimilar as Sweden, Brazil, France, Italy,…