"It's the most powerful food in the landscape of American culinary experience," according to Glenn Roberts, founder of Anson Mills, producer of handmade milled goods from organic heirloom grains. Glenn is a purist. His favorite way to enjoy the delicious milled corn dish is plain, eaten alone and with reverence. I can't say that most of us southerners are so calm around our grits, but we do love them.
While watching the movie The Naked Gun the other night, my husband and I were distracted by the scene of Frank Drebin and a fellow cop sitting in a car eating a mountain of pistachios, their mouths smeared lipstick-red.Red pistachios! They were a staple of my childhood, but I never see them anymore. Whatever happened to them?
As I've said before, I always find the most interesting or thought-provoking things at Maria Popova's site Brainpicker. A few days ago she unearthed a rare 1961 book that is perfect for lovers of literature, art, and the melding of all that with cooking...
Bitters are an essential bar ingredient, but did you know they were originally a staple of the medicine cabinet? Even today bitters may be just the thing if you need to settle your stomach after indulging in a big meal.
On March 12, 1967, Walter Cronkite gave his viewers a tour of a 21st century home, and it's a fascinating look at what captivated the imaginations of Americans in the late 60's. It's even more interesting to see what really has come to pass (videophones, newspapers delivered by satellite) to what still seems kind of bizarre (molded on-demand plastic plates?!). The plates were a major feature of the futuristic kitchen, which also has a 'no dirty dishes' policy. Why? Because the used plates are melted down again! Watch the video for more of Cronkite's 2001 vision, and see a transcript below:
Eating and cooking utensils may make our lives easier and more etiquette-friendly, but they've had a few unintentional historical consequences. For example, consider the fork—which, incidentally, is the title of a book by Bee Wilson documenting the evolution of cooking and eating technology. Wilson writes that overbites didn't become common until people started eating with a knife and fork. Here's how it happened:
In this age of excess, it's easy to forget that there was a time when people rallied around the idea of individual deprivation for the common good. What a nice surprise to come across this poster, which so neatly sums up some of my most basic beliefs about food, and realize it was created nearly a century ago.
There's something both sweet and intriguing about looking back through old magazines and newspapers to see what dishes were popular way back when. Flipping through my mom's food magazines from the 80's reveals strangely complex appetizers, a million variations on cooking shrimp, and heavy cream sauces. If you don't have a mother with decades-old magazines at the ready, you're in luck: The L.A. Times has opened up the recipe vault on their site, a veritable cultural study in the past few decades or so in food.
Have you ever wondered who thought up the whisk? Or how chicken came to dominate the dinner plate? What about the origins of cellophane packaging, or who invented soft serve ice cream? If your curiosity is piqued, check out these 15 quick glimpses into food history, including a look at meat market playsets in Victorian times (yes!) and history's 20 most significant food and drink inventions.
We love getting glimpses into the lives of some of our favorite writers, especially when it comes to their tastes in food! Did you know that Walt Whitman loved oysters and meat for breakfast? Or that Allen Ginsberg had a famous and "uncompromising" Borsch recipe? Read on for these secrets and more, including a roundup of terrific food journals, a peek inside a literary food-themed dinner party, and Beatrix Potter's recipe for gingerbread.