The first and only time I went to the Walmart in Iowa City was surreal. When I was in high school, my parents’ business-oriented small press had published a book called The Case Against Walmart that called for a national consumer boycott of the company; the author denounced everything from the superstore’s destruction of environmentally protected lands to its sweatshop labor to its knockoff merchandise. So by the time I made a pilgrimage out to the superstore at age twenty-one, I hadn’t stepped in a Walmart for nearly a decade, and it had acquired this transgressive power—the very act of crossing the threshold was as shameful as it was thrilling…
In “Spoiled,” the culinary historian Anne Mendelson takes aim at the American fallacy of fresh milk as a wonder food.
Six decades ago, Pedro Cuatrecasas, a fledgling resident at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, was studying the lives of impoverished residents of Baltimore when he noticed an unsettling trend. In interviews, a number of his Black patients would confess that they found milk repellent. Continue reading →
Picking too many fiddleheads from a single ostrich fern plant can reduce its productivity. Jared Rosenbaum, a field botanist, never harvests more than one or two from any individual plant. (Also, cooking with fiddleheads can be toxic, so be sure to wash them well and never eat them raw: Always boil them before you sauté or cook them in any other way.) Jared Rosenbaum/Wild Ridge Plants
Margaret Roach delivers the goods when we need a dose of useful plant life information:
This spring, don’t forage for wild edible plants. Instead, welcome them into your garden.
Jared Rosenbaum knows the primal thrill of foraging — a sense of interdependence with the natural world that he wants his son to experience, too.
But as a field botanist, he also understands that foraging is one of the many pressures on native-plant populations. And he has a proposition for gardeners: What if we gave back to the wild edible plants that tempt us on our springtime woodland hikes, by welcoming them into the landscapes we cultivate?
For a fleeting moment each spring, wild leeks (otherwise known as ramps) are a star of restaurant menus, creating a demand that has intensified the pressure on wild populations. Jared Rosenbaum/Wild Ridge Plants
It’s one layer of the habitat restoration and ecological design inspiration that he and his wife, Rachel Mackow, provide to clients of Wild Ridge Plants, in rural Pohatcong Township, N.J. And it’s reflected in many of their mail-order nursery’s plant choices, too.
In Mr. Rosenbaum’s recent book, “Wild Plant Culture: A Guide to Restoring Edible and Medicinal Native Plant Communities,” he revisits that idea: “The time has come to reconnect with our habitats, right where we live, work, and play,” he writes. “Not as museum pieces, but as vital, sustaining elements in our lives, livelihoods, and lifeways.”
China has spent millennia exploring the culinary possibilities of soybean curds. The West has barely scratched the surface.
Guiyang didn’t have many restaurants,per se. The metropolis was more of a city-wide night market. Even in the pre-COVID days, streets like Qingyun Road were only half-filled with cars, to leave room for tents and tables that stretched to the horizon, and for smoke and steam that rose into the clouds. Continue reading →
The year was 1977, and I was 12 years old. A neighbor kid’s parents had bought an espresso machine—an exotic gadget in those days, even in Seattle. There was just one Starbucks in the world back then, and as luck had it, we lived within walking distance. Continue reading →
Maize is arguably the single most important crop in the world and is rivalled only by soybeans in terms of versatility. That said, it is, along with sugar cane and palm oil, among the most controversial crops, proving particularly so to critics of industrial agriculture. Although maize is usually associated with the Western world, it has played a prominent role in Asia for a long time, and, in recent decades, its importance in Asia has soared. For better or worse, or more likely for better and worse, its role in Asia seems to be following the Western script. Continue reading →
More than six billion baguettes are sold every year in France. But the bread is under threat, with bakeries vanishing in rural areas.
PARIS— It is more French than, perhaps, the Eiffel Tower or the Seine. It is carried home by millions each day under arms or strapped to the back of bicycles. It is the baguette, the bread that has set the pace for life in France for decades and has become an essential part of French identity.
On Wednesday, UNESCO, the United Nations heritage agency, named the baguette something worthy of humanity’s preservation, adding it to its exalted “intangible cultural heritage” list. Continue reading →
Stelios Trilyrakis, the chef behind Ntounias in Crete, pats one of his heritage cows, a rare Cretan species called Gidomouskara. SteMajourneys
I have a longstanding habit, in an article like this one listing travel experiences including 5. Savor an Unforgettable Lunch at Ntounias in Western Crete, of skimming to find whether the writer(s) have been to anywhere that I know firsthand; if they write something meaningful about a place I know, I read the entire article. These days I have less interest in going to places I do not already know (between 57 and 60 countries where I have had meaningful experiences, ranging from a few days to living there for a year or more).
When I see Crete, I am all in, for reasons I have made plain previously. In this case I want to abandon all responsibilities and get on a plane.
Since that is not possible I am left to desk-travel, which is what I did to learn more about this place. I see now that on the two occasions when I have mentioned Xania I have spelled it two different ways. With the X my spelling was transliterating into English the letter used in the Greek alphabet for spelling that town’s name; otherwise the dipthong of Ch is necessary to produce the sound of the Greek letter that looks like an elongated X. Now that I have excused my spelling discrepancies, and daydreamed of a meal on the island of Crete at a later date, I will get on with my responsibilities.
If you subscribe to the tenets of the raw food diet, or even if you don’t, you may have heard the phrase, “When you cook it, you kill it.” Many people believe that applying heat to vegetables — whether by sautéing, boiling, steaming, frying, roasting or grilling — zaps their nutrition. Continue reading →
Guardian graphic | Source: Boston Consulting Group
We were already convinced by testing (our own and others) that this product category would be important, but this study shows the importance to be practically off the charts in terms of reduced carbon footprint per dollar invested. Our thanks to Damian Carrington, the Guardian’s Environment editor, for bringing this to our attention:
Malte Clausen, a partner at BCG: ‘Widespread adoption of alternative proteins can play a critical role tackling climate change.’ Photograph: Nathaniel Noir/Alamy
Exclusive: Non-animal proteins can play critical role tackling climate crisis, says Boston Consulting Group
Investments in plant-based alternatives to meat lead to far greater cuts in climate-heating emissions than other green investments, according to one of the world’s biggest consultancy firms.
The report from the Boston Consulting Group (BCG) found that, for each dollar, investment in improving and scaling up the production of meat and dairy alternatives resulted in three times more greenhouse gas reductions Continue reading →
From high-protein food to plastics and fuel, Swedish scientists are attempting to tap the marine plant’s huge potential
Steinhagen inspects the tanks in her “seaweed kindergarten”.
You can just see the buoys of the seafarm,” Dr Sophie Steinhagen yells over the high whine of the boat as it approaches the small islands of Sweden’s Koster archipelago. The engine drops to a sputter, and Steinhagen heaves up a rope to reveal the harvest hanging beneath: strand after strand of sea lettuce, translucent and emerald green. Continue reading →
A beef rib lifter stacked with strip steak and a sagebrush tree. Photograph by Kyoko Hamada. Styled by Martin Bourne
The photo to the left might have appealed to me last year or earlier. But having tried giving up beef for so long, and finally prevailing, now it has no appeal. It does not disgust me, but I expect to get there.
My highest compliment is reserved for the stylist Martin Bourne, for making the photos just slightly creepy, matching my current emotional response to looking at beef.
Strip steaks alongside a piece of sirloin tip. Photograph by Kyoko Hamada. Styled by Martin Bourne
When it comes to America’s legacy of Manifest Destiny, there’s perhaps no meal more symbolic than a bleeding steak. So who are we now that we’re consuming less red meat?
MEAT IS PRIMAL, or so some of us think: that humans have always eaten it; that it is the anchor of a meal, the central dish around which other foods revolve, like courtiers around a king; that only outliers have ever refused it. But today, those imagined outliers are multiplying. The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization reports that the consumption of beef per capita worldwide has declined for 15 years. Nearly a fourth of Americans claimed to have eaten less meat in 2019, according to a Gallup poll. The recipe site Epicurious, which reaches an audience of 10 million, phased out beef as an ingredient in new recipes in 2020. Continue reading →
Roast rack of squirrel, fondant jersey royal potatoes, carrot and wild garlic served at Paul Wedgwood’s restaurant in Edinburgh, Scotland. Photograph: Wedgwood
‘Invasivorism’ is a growing ethical dining trend but is ‘eat them to beat them’ really the answer?
From oral contraceptives to proposals to edit their DNA, efforts to control the UK’s invasive grey squirrel population have become increasingly elaborate. But a growing number of chefs and conservationists have a far simpler idea, which they see as part of the trend in ethical dining: eat them. Continue reading →
Frances Moore Lappé’s last hamburger was in 1971, the same year she published “Diet for a Small Planet,” her hugely influential book about food and sustainability, which virtually created the publishing category of food politics and turned Ms. Lappé into what she once self-deprecatingly called “the Julia Child of the soybean circuit.” Continue reading →
We have just placed these books on display in the two Authentica shops in Costa Rica, one at Marriott Los Suenos and the other at Marriott Hacienda Belen. The author, Isabel Campabadal, has been an author and chef for nearly five decades, and is a perfect fit with one of our aims as merchants: respect traditions and respectfully update them with all that the modern world offers.
When we posted on his book a few weeks ago the title of our post suggested that it was a frivolous offering. Not so. Surprisingly we have not posted about Nathan Myhrvold before, but the best profile on him was written before this platform launched. Then his dinosaur obsession and invention workshop were his primary talking points. In recent years those have made room for food.
And in case you do not have time for his book, you can get a sense of those talking points on this episode of The Splendid Table podcast:
This week, we take a deep dive into pizza with the co-author of the voluminous Modernist Pizza, Nathan Myhrvold. We get into the history, culture, and techniques behind great pizza. We hear stories from his worldwide travels and deep dives into pizza cultures and traditions. Plus, we hear about the culinary lab research devoted to making the best pizza ever, and he sticks around to answer your pizza-making questions. He is the founder of the Modernist Cuisine Lab…
It’s a feeling we come back to again and again, especially when talking about foods we love. Coffee, cheese, wine, tea…the significance of each one resonates with both a sense of culture and place to where quite a few of the contributors to this site have called home.
In the case of the image above, we peer into the poro trees we have mentioned numerous times. This particular poro, whose thick diagonally oriented trunk is situated at the uppermost point on the land where our coffee grows, is home to several orchids, both wild and cultivated. And in the foreground of the image a young cecropia tree is making its way upward, with a reddish top.
Next to the cecropia, out of the frame, is a mature coffee tree. Next to that is a young lime tree, and surrounding are various flowers and mano de tigre, aka monstera deliciosa. Just downhill from the trees and flowers in this image are bananas, plantain and sugar cane. The best coffees enjoy diverse company as they grow.
Modernist Pizza might apply the latest science to the pizzaiolos’ role, but it also dishes up deep history too
Modernist Pizza certainly applies a little science to the task of making a great slice. In this huge, comprehensive, three-volume publication, authors Nathan Myhrvold and Francisco Migoya share innumerable practical tips and innovative techniques to create great pizzas. Myhrvold is Microsoft’s former Chief Technology Officer and studied under Stephen Hawking at the University of Cambridge, and so almost all of those tips and techniques aren’t simple repetitions of old hunches and dogma, but the product of numerous test-kitchen experiments. Want to know the precise effects of ageing on mozzarella? Or which parts of your oven really cook your pie? Then get this set of books. Continue reading →
Matthew Raiford swore he’d never return to his family farm in coastal Georgia. But in breaking that vow, he found a sense of community worth celebrating with a lavish spread.
BRUNSWICK, Ga. — It’s not a stretch to say there may have never been a party for a cookbook like the one Matthew Raiford threw on his family farm a few weeks ago.
Rinne Allen for The New York Times
The book’s title is “Bress ‘n’ Nyam” — “bless and eat” in the English-based Creole spoken by the Gullah Geechee people who live along the coasts of the Carolinas, Georgia and northern Florida. Their ancestors were captured in West Africa and enslaved. Nowhere else in America has the cultural line from Africa been better preserved. (Mr. Raiford’s people call themselves freshwater Geechee, which means they are from the mainland of coastal Georgia. Saltwater Geechees are from the barrier islands.) Continue reading →