‘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…

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…

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…

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…

BACON, LETTUCE AND GUACAMOLE!

The BLT has reigned as America’s second-most beloved sandwich – after only ham, say experts on such things – since at least 1950, with its formation as an iconic food both here and in England going back to the beginnings of the 20th century. Isn’t it high time we let the BLG have a turn?…

The World’s Ultimate Fast Food

In recent years, one of the most popular ways for busy families to enjoy a home-cooked dinner together has come via slow-cooking – a trend that took off with the Crock Pot in the 1970s. Yet with the broader embrace of Asian flavors, it seems high time we also embrace one of the world’s oldest…

The Tradition of Kentucky Stack Cake

When I close my eyes, I can still hear my grandmother describe the taste of the spiced layers of her legendary stack cake. Virginia Price had a story to go along with everything in her life, and her stack cake was no exception. She called it a Kentucky stack cake and, as the story went,…

Bean Soups Make the World Go ‘Round

Call it a reverse treasure hunt: go out and search all the cuisines on earth and bring back one that doesn’t love bean soup. It’s hard to picture you having much luck. Bean soup combines what has to be the world’s least expensive protein for nourishment with what has to be the world’s least challenging cooking…