Food news antipasto

Alton Brown's new show Good Eats: The Return debuts in August, and earlier this week Brown gave his fans topics that will be covered in the first season. Via social media, he said that we could expect to see the following this fall: "steak tartare, latkes, chicken parm, ancient grains, Oyster Poor Boy, Immersion Circulator cooking (sous vide), Shakshuka, Sauces part 2, Sourdough, Icebox cakes, Dates, low ABV cocktails for the holidays, and a one hour turkey special." 

Alton Brown

The Nashville-style hot chicken sandwich craze has spawned a hot fish sandwich trend that adds a kick to the classic fried fish on a bun. Bolton's Spicy Chicken & Fish in Nashville, Tenn., serves four versions of the sandwich made with various types of fish, while Strfsh in Santa Monica, Calif., serves its own take made with beer-battered cod dressed up with hot spice, lettuce and tartar sauce.

The Washington Post is highlighting a wave of immigrant cookbooks that celebrate diversity in the United States and England. Several of the books are ones we have highlighted here at EYB, including Heirloom Kitchen, We Are La Cocina, and Together: Our Community Cookbook, which features 50 recipes by women who cooked in the aftermath of the devastating Grenfell Tower fire in London in 2017. These cookbooks "are welcome reminders, during a time of anti-immigrant rhetoric and government policies, of the rich cultural and culinary variety immigrants bring."

What's the latest craze in chef fashion? Custom sneakers. A handful of chefs have collaborated with shoe designers to create custom kicks. One of these chefs is Dominique Ansel, who partnered with Koio to create shoes that feature shiny, golden croissant clasps on the laces. For $348 USD, one would hope to get a dozen cronuts too, but sadly that is not the case. 

Food news antipasto

This week's sampling of interesting or offbeat food news begins with a tribute to the late Anthony Bourdain. Earlier this week, the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, Bourdain's alma mater, announced that it would be offering a scholarship in his name. It will be awarded to one or two students per year, and will help to pay for their studies abroad, allowing them to expand their culinary and cultural horizons. Bourdain's close friend, Chef Eric Ripert, brought the concept to the C.I.A. as a way to celebrate the late chef's legacy. 

Of course, not all of this week's news was as worthy as a scholarship honoring a culinary giant. The next story brings us to what must be the zenith of the craft cocktail trend. Having good, clear ice is important to drink enthusiasts, but the Forge Clear Ice System takes it to the level of absurdity. The crowd-funded device promises to deliver "glass-like" ice spheres for your bourbon or rye. While most countertop ice makers set you back a couple of hundred dollars at most, the Forge's clarity comes at a much steeper price-a whopping $1,400 for an ice maker that makes "large blocks of gem-shaped ice" in about four hours. If you hurry you can preorder the device for the bargain price of $1,199.


If you have an InstantPot that is more than a couple of years old, you might be surprised to learn that it has a hidden feature. In older models, there is a small black plastic tab or loop on the back of the cooker. While most people don't notice it, the loop has a purpose: it was designed to be an integral spoon holder. The makers of InstantPot nixed the loop in recent years following customer feedback. 

Would you boil 47 eggs in an attempt to find the best method of making a hard-boiled egg? Ella Quittner at Food52 did, so you don't have to. Find out which method she says makes the ultimate hard-boiled egg.

Another technique that floated across my social media feed this week comes from British chef Romy Gill via Saveur. Gill teaches us the technique to make perfect samosas, like the  Potato dumplings with tamarind chutney (Samosas) pictured above. 

Food news antipasto

Usually when I sit down to write the daily post of what's happening in the world of food and cookbooks, it follows a lengthy session of social media and food website browsing as I search for news that will be meaningful or useful to our readers. As I scroll through various posts, many offbeat news items will catch my eye but I pass on by because I know there isn't enough depth there to make it worthwhile.

Today I decided to share several items that drew my attention in the last week but were not worthy of a full-length post. We'll begin with a dubious marketing decision by Kraft Foods. The food conglomerate has rebranded its ranch salad dressing as "salad frosting" in an attempt to make it more attractive to kids. In a press release, the company says "Kids will eat anything with frosting, right?" I predict therapy in some kid's future for trust issues. 

Moving on to the snowballing vegan trend, IKEA has announced that beginning in 2020, it will offer vegan meatballs in its stores. The product is still under development, with a team dedicated to working on the meatballs and pursuing wheat-, soy-, peas-, and oat-based versions to find the most appealing. In other vegan food news, Impossible Burger shortages are cropping up at various eateries. Both White Castle and Red Robin say they can't keep up with demand. Impossible Foods recently secured new funding to address the problem, but it will take a while to ramp up production. 

A discrimination lawsuit proceeded to trial earlier this month against celebrated chef Thomas Keller and his restaurants Per Se and The French Laundry. Former employee Vanessa Scott-Allen claims she was denied a transfer to TFL and was ultimately let go because she was pregnant. Keller and the restaurant group deny the claims and say that performance issues prompted the termination. I have not seen any reports on the outcome of the trial yet.

Food companies often have rivalries, but they rarely escalate in the way a feud between energy bar companies Clif and Kind recently did. It all began in March when, for reasons unknown, Clif took out a full-page newspaper ad challenging Kind to go all organic. Kind retaliated last week (I guess it took them a while to come up with a suitable retort) with a campaign accusing Clif of being high in sugar. Unlike other rivalries that involve self-deprecating humor - or humor of any sort - this one just sounds like two cranky people arguing with each other. 

The strangest item I encountered this week involved food as art. As part of an effort by a nonprofit organization that promotes the state of Kentucky, artist Coleman Larkin preserved a Kentucky Fried Chicken drumstick in resin. Actually he preserved 50 of them; you can purchase one for $100 for the ultimate dinner party conversation piece. 


Finally, cooking tips that I have recently spied:

Photo of onigiri from Lucky Peach Presents 101 Easy Asian Recipes

Seen anything interesting? Let us know & we'll share it!