Return of the Bread Bowl

Only a few months back, a national bread-centric chain called Panera introduced a “hot new trend” – yet another version of soup served in a bowl of hollowed-out bread. It was a “hot new trend” because Panera, along with many food journalists, told us it was.  Which is great – since soup served in a…

Gingerbreading a Local Landmark

Working in the kitchen can be fun, entertaining, challenging, rewarding, and exciting. An adventure always waits in the kitchen and sometimes that adventure is even better when shared. At the cooking school I get to live a life of sharing every weekend. And though I reap the rewards of satisfaction and joy with each class,…

The Exotic Flavors of Smoked & Dried Chiles

The smoking and drying of meats and other perishable foods reaches back beyond written history across the Americas, so much so that when French explorers sailed into the pre-colonial Caribbean, they found locals preserving food with smoke on grates called “boucains.” Thus, in French, these obviously wild, semi-naked practitioners became “boucainiers.” When that got translated…

SOUPS FROM HOLIDAY BIRDS

In a holiday season that traditionally begins with turkey and ends with goose, it should come as no surprise that this time of year is for the birds. And that includes roasted chickens, Cornish hens and even tiny, delicate quail. Many of those larger birds produce leftovers, of course. So it’s our job as intrepid…

‘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…