‘Tis the season….Holiday Scones

The holidays are upon us and, with them, the cold chill of winter’s breath. It is time for sweaters, wool socks, a fire in the fireplace and, of course, warm weekend breakfasts, the kind that fill the house with welcome aromas and warm comfort. Maybe it’s a sweet potato hash with candied bacon and caramelized…

The Joys of Homemade Food Gifts

Just try doing what we did. Try gathering internet advice on making homemade food gifts this holiday season. Everybody and his Aunt Lucy has recipes – oh yes, plenty of recipes. And online these almost always take the form of a “slideshow” you have to click through, invariably with some silly number that somebody decided…

The Beauty of Beets

There were beets hanging in the Hanging Gardens of Babylon, as well as being cultivated for both love and money in ancient Greece and Rome. The difference was: those cultures were growing beets to eat the greens sprouting from the top of the root. It was a very long time and far away, the 1500s…

Cajun Corn for The Holidays

The new settlers floundered initially, failing to recognize or locate enough of anything good to eat. Finally, as much out of desperation as brotherly love, they asked the native Americans who’d lived off this land a lot longer. And they, known as “Indians” since the geographically challenged Columbus called them such, pointed them to the…

THE GREAT SWORDFISH OF SICILY

It was the most memorable lunch on a cruise ship in my three decades of lecturing on cruise ships. It was especially so because quite a few passengers took one look at what was being grilled in the open air and ran not-quite-screaming to the familiar indoor lunch buffet. Somehow, while the ship had been…

Hungary’s Signature Beef Stew

By JOHN DeMERS If you stay in the beautiful capital on the Danube, Budapest, or wander from one remote corner of Hungary to the other, you won’t get a straight answer asking if goulash is really a soup or a stew. We’ve begun to suspect it is neither, or perhaps it is both. All we…

THREE CHEERS FOR CHALLAH 

A reoccurring theme in all that I do is the importance of community – of recognizing the beauty in others and celebrating that beauty over the joy and comfort of a meal prepared as much for the soul as for the stomach. As a child and then a young man, I put little thought into…

IMPROMPTU HOLIDAY GUESTS

It’s that time of year when cooking, be it plain or fancy, is at its most meaningful thanks to those you know are coming for a visit. Unless, of course, you don’t know they are coming. With all our communication technology, it seems implausible that friends or family would turn up at your doorstep without…

BUILDING THE BEST BISCOTTI

Showing every sign of good sense and more than a little good taste, the world has finally embraced the ancient Italian confection known simply as Twice Cooked. You might be wishing for a more romanticized, less workaday sort of name. Still, ever since the Roman legions discovered that these cookies retained their quality for days…

FREDERICKSBURG’S FUN FALL FESTIVALS

This is the month a lot of German families around Fredericksburg and the rest of the Texas Hill Country prefer to spell Oktober. That’s because Fredericksburg, along with a handful of other places in this immigrant nation, has for decades joined the original celebration in Munich in welcoming the fall festival season. Locally, that means…

AMERICAN CUISINE CELEBRATES A BIRTHDAY 

By John DeMers History was on the plate everywhere in New Orleans recently when the American Cuisine and Hospitality Symposium attracted luminaries from all across the country to discuss how far we’ve traveled. After all, the first (and only other) such symposium in 1983 is still considered one of the foundational moments in American cuisine.  And…

A LATE SUMMER VEGAN FEAST

As a chef, I am asked to do many things related to food, and from time to time those things come with challenge and intrigue. This last month has been no different and, in fact, brought the particularly fun challenge of preparing a vegan feast for some guests we were entertaining here at the Culinary…