Find past News in Food announcements here. I’ll be updating this post as I update the News in Food column. My apologies in advance for broken links, I cannot maintain them after they’re archived. If you find that a link is broken, and you have found the correct new site, you can post the link in the comments section below.
A list of 34 common mistakes in cooking technique. Some of them are more preference than mistake (see #30 – I happen to like crinkly bacon), but I’ve definitely been culprit of #20 and had to enlist advice #24. And now I always set a timer!
People have strong opinions about food. But I’ve never heard of getting a misdemeanor for growing vegetables. The city’s urban planner has an interesting definition of “suitable” – since when was being uncommon against the law?
Just in time for summer: if you live in Portland, OR, Philadelphia, or New York you should check out these shops. Also look for the bottled classic and recently revived Dandelion & Burdock by Fentimans.
Urban planning meets food: can a city block hold enough space for mixed housing condos, a playground, gardens, and parking? Daniel Nairn looks at what that would take, and asks for feedback.
Extreme Ice Cream
An interesting profile piece on San Francisco pastry chef Jake Godby’s ice cream parlor venture in the Mission district called Humphry and Slocombe. The article goes far more in depth than explaining what’s in the flavor “Elvis (the fat years).”
Mark Bittman has done it again: a hundred and one short recipes for grilling everything from fennel and oranges (yes, oranges!) to steak and lamb. Enjoy the simplicity!
Radio Show and Podcast
Earth Eats is out of Indiana University and all about making conscious food choices, the environment, and food policy. An excellent show to add to your podcast downloads!
Rhubarb Tart Song
Because you have to appreciate the creativity and dedication on the part of the creators of this short film to two delicious members of the produce department!
Community Garden Resources
Join in the gardening craze this year and plant your own garden! Now is the time to start planning, and in some parts of the country and world to start planting.
Stephen Albert’s book Kitchen Garden Grower’s Guide is a great place to start planning.
Organic Gardening offers helpful tips and techniques for your garden.
The American Community Garden Association has a list of gardens as well as helpful tips to start a garden in areas where land is at a premium.
Slow Food Nation
If you’re in the San Francisco Bay Area on Labor Day weekend, park your car, hop on the BART, and check out the Slow Food USA’s largest food event yet: Slow Food Nation. Spend a weekend eating great food, listing to music, learning about sustainable food alternatives, and celebrating food with a bunch of other people who value it too. People are worried, with right, that the Victory Garden will be pulled up after the event, but let’s look at it this way: if San Francisco can pull this off, maybe other cities around the nation (and world) can emulate it in their own ways and we’ll start having “food fairs” just like we now have state and county fairs. Now wouldn’t that be tasty?
Coffee and Tea
The New York Times blog has posted on flavored coffee. I agree: as someone who grew up in the Pacific Northwest among coffee purists, blueberry coffee does not sound good to me. Furthermore, today’s Boston Globe has posted on iced tea around the area here. Check it out, my cafe (Darwin’s) plays a starring role!
Art Fair Season
For me, these festivals are the epitome of summer. The Salem Art Association’s art fair is what I grew up on – a weekend when art, music, and food took over our city park and celebrated. So it came as a pleasant surprise when I found out that Somerville, where I now live in Massachusetts, is having its own festival in Davis Square next weekend, July 18-19. If you’re looking for a festival near you, check out this great database for art fairs all over the US. And when you go, try to find an elephant ear – the yummiest thing you’ll ever eat at a fair.
I don’t like Valentine’s – it’s a big ploy to allow candy and flower companies to make billions. I believe in random acts of chocolate. However, I couldn’t help but be intrigued by Serious Eat’s latest series on cookbooks. This would make for some tasty reading!
Tea for Two (or Twenty)
If you’re looking for the champaign of teas, look no further. As I’ve mentioned before on this blog, Teekampagne has started a US mail order service. Selling (only) darjeeling sourced directly from India, you can now get several varieties of this exotic brew for only $8.50-$10.50 for 250 grams (depending on the variety). Check out their informative site and tell your friends! They rely only on word-of-mouth advertising, based off the economy professor-cum-tea merchant’s philosophy.
Pearl sugar is an important ingredient in my mother’s Christmas cookies, and in the States we are forced to buy the Swedish version of these hail-sized sugar granules (otherwise known as “pearl sugar”). Thus, in our household, we now call them only by their Swedish name. This year our usual source left us empty-handed, but a trip to Ikea to return some curtain rods left my mother and me wandering around the grocery section and striking gold. Apparently, we weren’t the only ones!
Starbucks: It’s Official
If you’ve been trying to put off believing that Starbucks is not a fast food chain, you can’t do so anymore. Not since Dunkin’ Donuts actively took over for Starbucks’ customers when the latte joint closed for three hours to retrain its staff.
Umami Food and Art Festival
From April 8 to the 15th celebrate food and art in New York City at the quirky Umami Festival. They have a schedule with everything from a water tasting, “Orphic Memory Sausage” making with shoes and dried fish (?), and music performed on kitchen utensils by Musique a la Mode. There’s even an event for your kids – painting with food. Umami is apparently much more than a taste for these guys – it’s an experience.
Part of a new Unicef program, the Tap Project is cooperating with restaurants to have patrons donate $1 for their tap water during the week of March 16-22. All donations will go to helping children around the world receive safe drinking water. Restaurants from New York City, Boston, Portland (OR), Charleston, and many other cities around the country have joined. Look at the listings of participants and seek them out when you are choosing where to eat out next week.
I’ve always been taken aback when I read menu entries like “Wagyu flat iron, coffee gnocchi, coconut, cipollini, sylvetta” (from WD~50 in NYC). I feel like I should understand what that is, but I don’t. However, I’ve stumbled on this new-to-me site called khymos.org, which has some very interesting notes on flavor pairings and science behind it. Now I’m intrigued and (dare I say it?) ready to experiment. But using coffee instead of stock (as shown in this local-tv-news-style clip) might be going a bit too far…
Incompatible Food Triad
This is a funky question, raised by a seemingly equally funky man named George Hart. He asks, or rather continues to ask, the question: can you find three foods which, in pairs, taste great together, but of which all three in the same dish would be disgusting? If this seems confusing, try reading his explanation and see if you can’t help him solve the riddle.
Extra Shot of Music, Please
It’s apparently no longer coffee and cigarettes, but coffee and CDs. Cafes are a place to find indie, up-and-coming artists. Or so the cafe-going crowd believes. So what happens to the little artists when Starbucks sets the trend to go mainstream, and doesn’t pay a fair rate for it?
Toni Morrison on Food
She’s best known for her beautiful prose depicting the lives and hardship of the African American community. If you haven’t read the Bluest Eye yet, you should put that at the top of your reading list. To entice you, here’s a short column she wrote in the seventies just after publishing the Bluest Eye. She describes a family picnic in a way that reveals the entire family’s culture. It’s simply beautiful.
No, it’s not a map made out of chocolate, but a map of Manhattan, pointing out the best chocolate places in the city. I’d love to go to New York and spend a weekend hitting each and every chocolatier on that map (or at least the “notables”)! Somebody want to make one for Boston?
Meat and Hats?
This site just cracked me up when I saw it: hats made of meat! How bizarre, that someone should come up with such a thing! I like the comment in the FAQ section: “A squirt-gun filled with lemon or lime juice is an excellent canine deterrent.”
US Barista Championship
I don’t know why I’m surprised, but there seems to be a competition for my current line of work! This seems very American, but apparently the winner goes on to a world championship (and it doesn’t seem like the one for baseball). Competitors have to create four espresso shots, four cappuccinos, and four “signature drinks” in 15 minutes, one for each of four judges. Sounds intense, but fun!
Rube Goldberg Competition
How many steps does it take to assemble a pre-cooked burger patty, two vegetables, and a bun? Apparently, as many as 156. An engineering competition last month was held to test the ability of college engineers to come up with the most whimsical, inefficient machine to perform a very simple task.
San Pellegrino’s top 50
I’m always skeptical of “top” lists, because how can you actually decide what’s the best if you don’t try absolutely everything? It seems to me it turns into more of a “my favorites” list compiled by a bunch of people claiming to love, and be knowledgeable about, food. Not to mention the fact that these restaurants don’t seem to be cheap (who says cheap food can’t be the best in the world?). Nevertheless, it’s interesting to see what other people are thinking, and nice to know I’ve at least heard of a lot of these restaurants (so I don’t live that much under a rock after all!).
Strawberries are my favorite food, so this time of year is heaven for me. The Boston Globe published an article this week about U-Pick strawberries in the Boston area. If you’re not around here, check out this website for listings in the US. As always, take online information with a grain of salt – and call ahead before you drive all the way out there!
This title is vague, but you’ll understand when you visit Gigachef. This site seems to have almost everything the professional chef, and the serious home cook, would want: personalizable recipe databases, vendor information, menu archives, and even sample employee descriptions. It does require registration to view all the features, but it is free and relatively painless. The site seems to be in the beginning stages, but seems to me to be a great resource.
People are going crazy about their cheese. The Brits have chased a Double Gloucester down a scary hill for centuries (not even earthquakes, public safety concerns, or foot and mouth disease can keep them from rolling the cheese). In addition, the US has added a cheese statue of the signing of the Declaration of Independence to the list of acceptable ways to play with food. Sponsored by Cheez-It crackers, the July 4th attraction in New York City was carved out of two tonnes (yes, two tonnes) of Wisconsin cheddar. Imagine: someone actually spent 8 hours a day for a week in a walk-in sculpting this thing!