25 weird food facts about the presidents

Remember Silent Cal Coolidge, that staid Vermonter? Well, according to a book by Stephen Spignese called Grover Cleveland's Rubber Jaw and Other Unusual, Unexpected, Unbelievable But All True Facts About America's Presidents, Calvin Coolidge's favorite breakfast was boiled raw wheat and rye and he liked to have his head rubbed with Vaseline while he ate it. And President Johnson? "When he… read more

Baking bread in a slow cooker

Our friends over at Bread in Five brought our attention to one of their recent posts that's getting a lot of buzz, Crock Pot Bread Baking (Fast Bread in a Slow Cooker). Besides the advantage of being able to keep your oven off during hot summer days, it is actually a faster way to bake bread since the rising time… read more

British food critic spares no feelings

Jay Rayner is a well-known (though not, perhaps, well-loved) dining critic in England, about to publish a book: My Dining Hell: Twenty Ways to Have a Lousy Night Out. In this Zagat interview he wastes no time in explaining, about other things, how to tell if a restaurant is likely to be dismal, what the difference is between U.S. and U.K. restaurant… read more

“Having it all in one place”: a good enough reason to keep a cookbook?

In the days before I developed a systematic winnowing process for choosing my favorite cookbooks, I often found myself making a familiar argument, as I stood - book in hand - over the discard pile.  "But having all these recipes in one place - that's got to be worth something, right?" Usually the cookbook in question leans on a lot… read more

When is a blueberry muffin not a blueberry muffin?

If you ever get tired of blueberry muffins, Serious Eats has an alternative - a Blueberry Breakfast Financier. To quote, "Financiers are essentially French teacakes. But the dainty proportions and restrained sweetness of the little almond-flavored cakes always struck me as somewhat akin to an all-American mini-muffin. Zut! I know I shouldn't even say such a thing, and I know… read more

7 “bad foods” that are actually good for you

Something about Memorial Day brings out a desire for lists. As we stop to remember those who are honored today, begin sorting summer clothes, or compile a summer reading list, our food preferences also change. And the same holds, I'm sure, in reverse for our friends down under. And so this list, from the Washington Post, caught our eye. As… read more

8 foods not to refrigerate

With Memorial Day here, so are Farmer's Markets. Or, at least, fresh fruits and vegetables in the grocery store. They're so tempting to buy in quantity and then, in order to enjoy them over a week or so, so tempting to refrigerate. Some can indeed take the chill, but others suffer. Food Network's Healthy Eats explains why you should never… read more

How the chicken conquered the world

The Smithsonian has the full 10,000 year history of the chicken - and it's definitely not a dull read. The article is full of intriguing tidbits such as: "A generation of Britons is coming of age in the belief that chicken tikka masala is the national dish, and the same thing is happening in China with Kentucky Fried Chicken." Or… read more

The Perfect Cookie? Almost…

In the interests of journalistic accuracy and community service, we wanted to share Michael Ruhlman's corrected recipe for Snickerdoodles from his recent award-winning book, Ruhlman's Twenty. Apparently the first printing, which sold out almost immediately, had an erroneous amount of sugar (2x as much) in the Snickerdoodle cookies. The recipe was fixed in subsequent printings. Ruhlman writes about his cookie,… read more

Food books that can change your life

Adam Roberts over at The Amateur Gourmet has compiled a list of The Ten Food Books That Changed My Life. And we must say that almost all of the books struck a chord with us. There are some wonderful writers - both old and new - represented here. Among them are Calvin Trillin, M.F.K. Fisher, Michael Pollan, Gabrielle Hamilton, and… read more

Does drinking more coffee really make you live longer?

Atlantic Magazine reports that "According to research published in the  New England Journal of Medicine, people who drank four or five cups of coffee a day tended to live longer than those who drank only a cup or less. The benefit was more pronounced for women, but men also stand to gain somewhat from pounding joe." The ideal amount appeared… read more

Two chefs ignore lofty food goals in favor of brilliant food

The New York Times has a thought-provoking article interviewing two famous chefs - Thomas Keller and Andoni Luis Aduriz of Spain. In the article, For Them a Great Meal Tops Good Intentions, both push aside the social idea of social responsibility that many chefs (Alice Waters leading the field) regard as their raison d'être. As these two argue: "Supporting local agriculture and food… read more

Deciphering basic nutrition terms

At best, nutrition labels are moderately informative, but they can also be hopelessly confusing, or, at the worst, misleading. How high is "high"? Did you know that there are no official guidelines for labeling something as "Low-Carb?" Here's a short collection from Huff Post Food of the seven most common nutritional terms that are used - high, low-carb, low-sodium, BPA-free,… read more

Going without: are photos essential in a cookbook?

Remember the old, unillustrated days of cookbooks, when you opened to a page of Mastering the Art of French Cooking, or Joy, and your eyes always fell on an unbroken page of solid words?   Oh, you might get a diagram of primal cuts on a beefer or something like that.  But as for the recipes themselves?  How they were… read more

What the royals eat at home

We wanted to honor Queen Elizabeth's Diamond Jubilee in some fashion - and how better than this behind-the-scenes look at what the royal family has eaten through the most recent generations? The variety has been quite astounding, even ignoring Edward VII's gargantuan menus. As Rachel Cooke in The Observer notes, "And so it continues, the strange coupling of decadence and… read more

A potpourri of kitchen tips & recipes

No matter how long you've been cooking, or how comfortable you are in the kitchen, there are a few tips that have slipped under the radar. Plus there is always a need to have some great recipes that only require a few ingredients. Here are some fun tips and a recipe collection to play with this weekend: 14 Simple Delicious… read more

Food Blogger Controversy: A Follow-up

We recently took notice of a blog on the IACP site attacking food bloggers, (see our blog, Should amateur food bloggers be paid to develop recipes?) and the web has energetically picked up the argument. We wanted to follow up with a couple of items. First, the IACP has weighed in now with their entry, A Brief Bit of Context… read more

Gourmet Live: The Sex Issue

I'm sure many of you have realized that the long-lived publication, Gourmet Magazine, didn't actually disappear, but was rather reincarnated as a digital magazine. While access to the old Gourmet recipes (from 1941 on) is still available on Gourmet.com and  Epicurious.com, Gourmet Live presents both old and recycled stories, videos, and recipes. Indeed, as the latest issue highlights, the new… read more

Should “amateur” food bloggers be paid to develop recipes?

In an opinion column called "Faking It" at the IACP* site, Amy Reiley has stirred up quite a hornet's nest. Apparently she was unaware until the last IACP conference that, "major as well as small, well-respected organizations in the culinary business (like Kraft, the Got Milk? campaign, Kitchenaid, etc.) are contacting high profile food and lifestyle bloggers to endorse products,… read more

Confused about salt?

For an ingredient that was so mundane for so long, salt has really taken a starring role in cooking over the past few years. But choice brings confusion (and extra cost). So do you really need more than one type of salt in the kitchen? When is it worth the extra cost to use a boutique salt? Food52 and its… read more

Three cheers for garden cookbooks!

With spring firmly underway and greenery springing up in every direction, I'd like to say a few words in praise of one of my favorite types of cookbooks--kitchen garden books.  Unlike, say, grill books or preserving books, it's not a densely populated category--there might be one every year or two.  They're all roughly the same format:  a focus on each… read more

Cookbook collaboration: How it should work

Andrew Friedman is a highly regarded cookbook collaborator and on his website, Toqueland, he's just finished a fascinating two-part series on how to create a unique cookbook. Admittedly spurred on by the recent controversy about cookbook collaborations, he presents the opposite story - how a good working relationship can produce a valuable and unique cookbook. Harold Dieterle, the winner of Top… read more

New blog focuses on celebrity chefs

A new blog, The Braiser, promises to bring a behind-the-scenes approach to the lives of celebrity chefs and those who support them. With an approach that looks to be a combination of People Magazine, the Buzz, and The Sun, the editor states as The Braiser's purpose, "to bring the personalities behind the food you eat and love (or hate!) to… read more

A Yankee finds a food paradise in Australia

Over at the Salt, a visiting Yankee discovers that Australians have thrown off the remnants of bad British food, and learns that "stunningly fresh ingredients, cultural diversity, and inventive cooking are the new norms." We're sure our Australian friends will enjoy this article, as will anyone planning to visit "Oz," but even if a visit to Australia is not in… read more

Opera and food is a match made in heaven

The New York Times has a delightful article, Don't Sing With Your Mouth Full, discussing how tightly entwined the worlds of opera and food are. As they write, "Opera, of all the art forms, is singularly associated with food, whether because of the appetites of well-girthed singers or the sensual pleasures celebrated in its rich ragout of music, emotion and… read more
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