Chinese Fried Rice Takes to the Tropics

By: John DeMers In the long-ago kitchen lingo of American café, diner and lunch counter, any dish ordered “walkin’” meant packaged to be carried out. Yet when you dig a bit through food history, no dish has walked farther, longer or with more impact than Chinese fried rice. It has walked almost everywhere on earth,…

Lecso: The Hungarian Vegetable Stew

By John DeMers I went to Budapest to meet the goulash the way some people go to London to meet the Queen. Despite several pleasurable encounters with the iconic and meaty Hungarian soup or stew, I ended up meeting lecso instead. Lecso is the perfect dish for this time of year. A slightly spicy vegetable…

A Cheesecake That Celebrates Cannoli

By John DeMers Getting a few thousand Sicilian Americans mad at me is probably not the brightest thing I’ve ever done. Yet the fact is, I never cared much about cannoli from Italian bakeries in Little Italys all across America. Cannoli (the word is plural) were okay, but not special enough to justify the calories….

The Globetrotting Joys of Grilling on Skewers

The next time you grill anything on skewers, whether you call it shish kebab in Turkish, shashlik in (formerly Soviet) Georgian, brochette in France, anticucho in Peru, sosatie in South Africa, satay in Indonesia  or chuanr in China, know that you’re probably using the most ancient cooking technique of them all. You’ll also be adopting…

Quick-and-Easy Back to School Dinners

Suddenly, one moment very soon, your days of racing the kids to this playdate or that swim practice or this camp will come to an and. And you’ll sit there, facing their eyes across the dinner table, and just know they know that you know – school starts tomorrow. Sometimes this is mostly a happy…

The Strange (Somewhat Italian) Case of Meatballs and Spaghetti

For some of us it was always “meatballs and spaghetti,” while for others it was “spaghetti and meatballs.” We saw it written both ways on menus surrounded by red-checkered tablecloths and candles popped into basket-covered Chianti bottles. To actual Italians, however, it was more like, “Huh?” It is a delightful irony of American food history…

A New Flight Path for Wings

I was reading something that stopped me cold the other day – or stopped me hot, to be more precise. The least expensive part of any chicken, the part producers could barely give away a mere half-century ago, has become the single most expensive part. That, just in time for July 4th, is the mystery…

Red Velvet Cake: A Southern Legend

Red velvet cake is definitely a Southern creation, arguably even a Texas creation – unless you are one of those New Yorkers who associate it with the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel, or a Canadian who thinks the recipe comes from Eaton’s department store. We call the latter two kinds of people benighted souls. Seriously now. Doesn’t red…

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…

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…