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A Few Words about Salt

Tuesday, August 20, 2019

It’s almost impossible to discuss sauces without mentioning sodium chloride. Salt is so important that the very words “sauce” and “salsa” (not to mention “sausage,” “salary,” and “salubrious”) are derived, ultimately, from the Latin “sal,” for salt. It is so basic that the Cynic, Antiphanes, was quoted in The Deipnosophistae of Athenaeus: “Of the relishes which come from the sea we always have one, and that day in, day out. I mean salt.” (Book 9, p. 161)

It’s not a coincidence that Matthew 5:13-16, has Jesus saying: “Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be salted? It is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men.” We are nothing if we’re not “worth our salt”—and neither are our sauces.

This is not just a Western concept. The ancient Chinese had a saying: “Oh salt, he is a General in the Chinese cuisine” … This saying, used earlier but recorded by Ban Gu during the Eastern Han Dynasty (25-220 CE), shows the importance of salt in all sauces.

Salt crystals bring cultural meanings and give people food choices in sauce manufacture. Salt supplements enhance each sauce, and Chinese food preparation reflects people's affection for sauce and salt in their lives. In China, people do not get their salt from a salt shaker. They get theirs using many different sauces as they prepare their dishes. Thus, in China, salt and sauce are great partners.(Zhou Hongcheng).

Salt is essential to life for all of us (animals travel miles just for a chance to lick soil containing even a trace of salt). However, for anyone afflicted by hypertension, too much salt can be dangerous. Fortunately, excess salt is eliminated by the kidneys of healthy people, so—for them, at least—warnings about NaCl’s dangers should be taken with a grain of you-know-what.


This excerpt from Sauces Reconsidered: Aprés Escoffier (Rowman & Littlefield Studies in Food and Gastronomy, 2019), and the illustration above—which is not part of the book—are protected by copyright, and may not be republished in any form without prior permission.

Food Sites for September 2019

Thursday, August 15, 2019

Black coffee... writing’s rocket fuel.

It’s almost September, as we write, so it’s still hot... but we can sense what’s coming. Fortunately, before the grim part of the year arrives, we get to celebrate the bounty of the harvest. Our gardens (or farmers’ markets) are gloriously replete with fresh produce... produce we won’t see again for a long time (unless it’s a pale substitute, picked someplace far, far, away).

The Rambling Epicure has published an article (“Cutting the Mustard”), which is actually an excerpt from our book, Sauces Reconsidered: Après Escoffier.

You can, if you wish, follow us on Facebook (where, among other things, we post a LOT of photographs), and Twitter. Still more of our online scribbles can be found at A Quiet Little Table in the Corner.

On the off-chance that you aren’t already convinced that caffeine is essential to our production of (often excess) verbiage, gulp down a few cups from On the Table’s culinary quote collection):

A mathematician is a device for turning coffee into theorems. Paul Erdos
Coffee: we can get it anywhere, and get as loaded as we like on it, until such teeth-chattering, eye-bulging, nonsense-gibbering time as we may be classified unable to operate heavy machinery. Joan Frank
As soon as coffee is in your stomach, there is a general commotion. Ideas begin to move... similes arise, the paper is covered. Coffee is your ally and writing ceases to be a struggle. Charles Maurice de Talleyrand
Coffee isn’t my cup of tea. Samuel Goldwyn
Gary
September, 2019

PS: If you encounter broken links, changed URLs—or know of wonderful sites we’ve missed—please drop us a line.  It helps to keep this resource as useful as possible for all of us. To those who have pointed out corrections or tasty sites (this month we’re tipping our hat to Cara De Silva), thanks, and keep them coming!

PPS: If you wish to change the e-mail address at which you receive these newsletters, or otherwise modify the way you receive our postings or—if you’ve received this newsletter by mistake, and/or don’t wish to receive future issues—you have our sincere apology and can have your e-mail address deleted from the list immediately. We’re happy (and continuously amazed) that so few people have decided to leave the list but, should you choose to be one of them, let us know and we’ll see that your in-box is never afflicted by these updates again. You’ll find links at the bottom of this page to fix everything to your liking.


— the new sites —

(The Guardian reports on a recent discovery of written evidence of the first scotch whisky still)

(scanned copy of A. M. & J. Ferguson’s 1892 book)

(Anne Ewbank’s beautifully illustrated review of Amy Goldman’s book, The Melon, in Gastro Obscura)

(Linda Rodriguez McRobbie, at Mental Floss, on a now nearly forgotten food journalist: Clementine Paddleford)

(Gary Paul Nabhan explains the similarities between Mexican and Arabic cuisines—and their historic connection through the Canary Islands—for AramcoWorld)

(Nathan Yau’s moving analysis of USDA data for the years 1970-2013; at Flowingdata)

(Rebekah Kebede, on the societal causes of food preference, for National Geographic)

(Jenny G. Zhang, asks—for Eater—how they actually did it)

(Franz Lidz, in Smithsonian Magazine, provides new evidence of the flavors’ antiquity)

(Reina Gattuso, at GastroObscura, on Salma Yusuf Husain’s book The Mughal Feast)

(Liz Susman Karp’s Mental Floss article; it includes the first appearance in print of a recipe for chocolate cake)

(Inverse’s Mike Brown on a taste-test of patties grown from a few stem cells)

(Feijun Tan, at RADII, describes thirteen varieties)

(Fabio Parasecoli’s essay from Roberta Sassatelli’s collection Italians and Food)

(Alexandra Pattillo interviews Robert Lustig and Marion Nestle for inverse to find out)

(Alastair Sooke, describes for The Telegraph, “a feast of a show that reveals what the Romans really ate”)

(Fran Kuzui and Phoebe Amoroso explain nihonshu and discuss sake, Tokyo style, for Culinary Backstreets)

(descriptions of hundreds of cheeses, plus cheese festivals)

(Adam Chandler travels our new McWorld in a quest for fast food for Literary Hub)

(Barry Smith explain, in the Proceedings of Wine Active Compounds 2008, why the flavor of wines can vary—even if they contain the same flavor compounds—"because of differences in their thresholds of perception”)

(Emily Matchar, at The Smithsonian, on William A. Mitchell, the chemist responsible for artificial tapioca, Cool Whip, instant Jell-O, Pop Rocks, and Tang)

(Huffington Post’s Lee Breslouer interviews butchers about the realities of their work)

(the low-down from New Mexico State University’s Chile Pepper Institute)

(Veronique Greenwood, in BBC’s future, pays a visit to a sourdough library in Belgium’s Centre for Bread Flavour)

(Barry Smith—from the School of Advanced Study, University of London, Institute of Philosophy—on how complex a wine tasting experience can be)

(Tracy Saelinger’s answer at Kitchn)

(Barry Smith asks the hard questions at The World of the Mind)

(Eater’s Nina Li Coomes waxes rhapsodic—and ecstatic—about the unexpected fusion of eastern and western pasta)


— inspirational (or otherwise useful or amusing) sites for writers/bloggers —




















— changed URL —



— that’s all for now —

Except, of course, for the usual legalistic mumbo-jumbo and commercial flim-flam:

Occasionally, URLs we provide may link to commercial sites (that is, they’ll cost you money to take full advantage of them). We do not receive any compensation for listing them here, and provide them without any form of recommendation—other than the fact that they looked interesting to us.

Your privacy is important to us. We will not give, sell or share your e-mail address with anyone, for any purpose—ever. Nonetheless, we will expose you to the following irredeemably brazen plugs for our books:

The Resource Guide for Food Writers
(Hardcover)
(Paper)
(Kindle)
(newsletters like this merely update the contents of the book; what doesn’t appear here is already in the book)

The Herbalist in the Kitchen
(Hardcover)
(Kindle)

The Business of Food: Encyclopedia of the Food And Drink Industries
(Hardcover)
(Kindle)

Human Cuisine
(Paper)
(Kindle)

Herbs: A Global History
(Hardcover)
(Kindle)

Sausage: A Global History
(Hardcover)
(Kindle)

Can It! The Perils and Pleasures of Preserving Foods
(Hardcover)
(Kindle)

Sauces Reconsidered: Aprés Escoffier

Terms of Vegery
(Kindle)

How to Serve Man:
On Cannibalism, Sex, Sacrifice, & the Nature of Eating
(Kindle)

How to Write a Great Book
(Kindle)

Here endeth the sales pitch(es)...

...for the moment, anyway.

______________

The Resource Guide for Food Writers, Update #227 is protected by copyright, and is provided at no cost, for your personal use only. It may not be copied or retransmitted unless this notice remains affixed. Any other form of republication—unless with the author’s prior written permission—is strictly prohibited.

Copyright ©2019 by Gary Allen.


Food Sites for August 2019

Friday, July 12, 2019

Carolina Reapers (Capsicum chinense... a cruel hybrid of Ghost Peppers and Habaneros)


It’s August, so it’s hot. 
Damned hot. 
And likely to get hotter.
We can hide from the heat—with A/C, frozen desserts, or a trayful of icy libations—or we can choose to embrace it. Biting into a Carolina Reaper might be taking things a bit too far, though. 

Long ago, one of our more imprudent forms of gluttony took wing, and Modern Salt has published an account of it. “And it Burns, Burns, Burns, the Ring of Fire...” is hot stuff (or, at least, it’s about hot stuff).

Roll Magazine has published “Zhōng Guó,” a more civilized account of more recent over-indulgence. It involves some of the best dim sum available within 100 miles (and a shopping trip to our favorite Asian Supermarket). 

While almost everything we’ve published (so far) has been about food, we’ve accumulated several unpublished books that are not. Finding an agent for the odd mixture of short stories, essays, novels, and poems that litter our hard drive is daunting. We’ve started self-publishing the backlog as Kindle books. Our first one is How to Write a Great BookAs you might guess, it’s not really a how-to book. What it is a tongue-in-cheekiness look at how the great writers actually wrote theirs.

You can, if you wish, follow us on Facebook (where, among other things, we post a LOT of photographs), and Twitter. Still more of our online scribbles can be found at A Quiet Little Table in the Corner.

More hotness, this time from On the Table’s culinary quote collection):

He chopped up peppers, mixed them with vinegar and Avery Island salt, put the mixture in wooden barrels to age and funneled the resulting sauce into secondhand cologne bottles. James Conaway (on the invention of Tabasco)
They used to have a fish on the menu that was smoked, grilled and peppered. They did everything to this fish but pistol-whip it and dress it in Bermuda shorts. William E. Geist
It doesn't matter who you are, or what you've done, or think you can do. There's a confrontation with destiny awaiting you. Somewhere, there is a chile you cannot eat. Daniel Pinkwater
Gary
August, 2019

PS: If you encounter broken links, changed URLs—or know of wonderful sites we’ve missed—please drop us a line.  It helps to keep this resource as useful as possible for all of us. To those who have pointed out corrections or tasty sites (this month we’re tipping our hat to Alan Lake), thanks, and keep them coming!

PPS: If you wish to change the e-mail address at which you receive these newsletters, or otherwise modify the way you receive our postings or—if you’ve received this newsletter by mistake, and/or don’t wish to receive future issues—you have our sincere apology and can have your e-mail address deleted from the list immediately. We’re happy (and continuously amazed) that so few people have decided to leave the list but, should you choose to be one of them, let us know and we’ll see that your in-box is never afflicted by these updates again. You’ll find links at the bottom of this page to fix everything to your liking.


— the new sites —

(An illustrated sample from Henry Phillips, at Gear Patrol)

(Emma Betuel, at Inverse, on neolithic brewing methods in China)

(Benjamin Aldes Wurgaft’s Hedgehog Review article on the future—and consequences—of cultured meat)

(Jodi Helmer, at NPR’s The Salt, on developing a coffee substitute entirely from chemicals)

(Jaya Saxena tells the offal truth about a regional specialty, at Taste)

(Megan Frye, at Culinary Backstreets, on that which makes Mexican dishes Mexican)

(archaeologist Kris Hirst looks at the evidence for the use of milk, going back 8,000 years, for Thought & Co.)

(Alicia Kennedy’s review of Joshua Specht’s Red Meat Republic: A Hoof-to-Table History of How Beef Changed America, in The Baffler)

(GastroObserver’s Dan Nosowitz says no one knows… but he does know who named it; Who nu?)

(barbecue author Jim Auchmutey clears the air in The Washington Post)

(Ed Behr, in his magazine, the Art of Eating, on the reality of—or lack thereof—uncured meat, and the joys of the real thing)

(Madeline Leung Coleman writes, for topic magazine, about “energy bars,” the non-food that people eat when they don’t want to eat)

(Chris Crowley’s Grubstreet account of Serious Eats’ rise to prominence)

(Susie Neilson, at NPR’s The Salt, on an ancient mutation that made sweet almonds possible)

(Henry Notaker, at Literary Hub, on how they did it with cookbooks)

(archive of articles about chocolate; recipes, chemistry, cultivation, techniques, etc.)

(Jonathan Nossiter, at Literary Hub, says not all of them “are natural wines of a spurious radicality”)

(a BBC slideshow, by Bernadette Young and William Park, about the collaboration of Matthew Walter and Alison Freedman)

(Amanda Herbert, at The Recipe Project, on a seventeenth-century precursor of the Instant Pot)

(Slate’s Sara Goldsmith history of the ubiquitous utensil)

(Appalachian Magazine takes some of the mystery out of mystery meat)

(Pamela Vachon, at Chowhound, on the miracle of preserved meats) 


— inspirational (or otherwise useful or amusing) sites for writers/bloggers —














— that’s all for now —

Except, of course, for the usual legalistic mumbo-jumbo and commercial flim-flam:

Occasionally, URLs we provide may link to commercial sites (that is, they’ll cost you money to take full advantage of them). We do not receive any compensation for listing them here, and provide them without any form of recommendation—other than the fact that they looked interesting to us.

Your privacy is important to us. We will not give, sell or share your e-mail address with anyone, for any purpose—ever. Nonetheless, we will expose you to the following irredeemably brazen plugs for our books:

The Resource Guide for Food Writers
(Hardcover)
(Paper)
(Kindle)
(newsletters like this merely update the contents of the book; what doesn’t appear here is already in the book)

The Herbalist in the Kitchen
(Hardcover)
(Kindle)

The Business of Food: Encyclopedia of the Food And Drink Industries
(Hardcover)
(Kindle)

Human Cuisine
(Paper)
(Kindle)

Herbs: A Global History
(Hardcover)
(Kindle)

Sausage: A Global History
(Hardcover)
(Kindle)

Can It! The Perils and Pleasures of Preserving Foods
(Hardcover)
(Kindle)

Sauces Reconsidered: Aprés Escoffier

Terms of Vegery
(Kindle)

How to Serve Man:
On Cannibalism, Sex, Sacrifice, & the Nature of Eating
(Kindle)

How to Write a Great Book
(Kindle)

Here endeth the sales pitch(es)...

...for the moment, anyway.

______________

The Resource Guide for Food Writers, Update #226 is protected by copyright, and is provided at no cost, for your personal use only. It may not be copied or retransmitted unless this notice remains affixed. Any other form of republication—unless with the author’s prior written permission—is strictly prohibited.

Copyright ©2019 by Gary Allen.


Food Sites forJuly 2019

Wednesday, June 12, 2019

“What is patriotism but the love of the food one ate as a child?” Lin Yutang

This issue marks the beginning of our twentieth year of publishing these updates. Time flies when... who are we kidding? Time just flies.

The Rambling Epicure has published our article, “The History of Roquefort French Dressing,” just in time for salad season.

You can, if you wish, follow us on Facebook (where, among other things, we post a LOT of photographs), and Twitter. Still more of our online scribbles can be found at A Quiet Little Table in the Corner.

Some patriotic reflections for the Fourth of July, from On the Table’s culinary quote collection):

A man accustomed to American food and American domestic cookery would not starve to death suddenly in Europe, but I think he would gradually waste away, and eventually die. Mark Twain
After a few months acquaintance with European coffee ones mind weakens, and his faith with it, and he begins to wonder if the rich beverage of home, with its clotted layer of yellow cream on top of it, is not a mere dream after all, and a thing which never existed.  Mark Twain
Gary
July, 2019

PS: If you encounter broken links, changed URLs—or know of wonderful sites we’ve missed—please drop us a line.  It helps to keep this resource as useful as possible for all of us. To those who have pointed out corrections or tasty sites (this month we’re tipping our hat to Cynthia Bertelsen), thanks, and keep them coming!

PPS: If you wish to change the e-mail address at which you receive these newsletters, or otherwise modify the way you receive our postings or—if you’ve received this newsletter by mistake, and/or don’t wish to receive future issues—you have our sincere apology and can have your e-mail address deleted from the list immediately. We’re happy (and continuously amazed) that so few people have decided to leave the list but, should you choose to be one of them, let us know and we’ll see that your in-box is never afflicted by these updates again. You’ll find links at the bottom of this page to fix everything to your liking.


— the new sites —

(Chris Shott’s praise for Frank Meyer, discoverer of a famous lemon; at Taste)

(five cookbooks, from the 1940s and 50s, in the University of Wisconsin-Madison Library’s digital collection)

(Peter Whoriskey and Rachel Siegel, in The Washington Post, on how conditions have not improved in the cocoa industry)

(Canadian database; Part II—“Settler Colonialism and Recipes in the Early Modern Maritimes” here)

(Laura Shapiro, in The Atlantic, on how we became a society of insatiable snackers)

(a useful tool from Gode Cookery)

(Bernice Chan explains in The South China Morning Post; spoiler alert: it was a political decision, in the 1930s)

(Amanda Mull on the history of American breakfast choices, in The Atlantic)

(Josh Jones looks at Twain’s nostalgic longing for the foods of home, for Open Culture)

(Kirsten Weir on neurogastronomy, for the American Psychological Association’s Monitor on Psychology)

(Clay Risen, in The New York Times, on brewing up some medieval sorcery in Minnesota)

(Caitlin Kearney’s article from The Smithsonian)

(O brave new world that has such meats in it; Meg Wilcox explains at Civil Eats)

(Caitlin Kearney’s article from The Smithsonian)

(Emma Grahn and Caitlin Kearney explore another decade for The Smithsonian)

(India Mandelkern, at Munchies, on a process that doesn’t at all resemble the drama of a TV restaurant make-over)

(recent archaeological work at West Cotton in Northamptonshire; posted at medievalists.net)

(Joshua Specht, author of Red Meat Republic, on the historical intersection of class and gender at the butcher’s counter)


— inspirational (or otherwise useful or amusing) sites for writers/bloggers —








— changed URL —



— that’s all for now —

Except, of course, for the usual legalistic mumbo-jumbo and commercial flim-flam:

Occasionally, URLs we provide may link to commercial sites (that is, they’ll cost you money to take full advantage of them). We do not receive any compensation for listing them here, and provide them without any form of recommendation—other than the fact that they looked interesting to us.

Your privacy is important to us. We will not give, sell or share your e-mail address with anyone, for any purpose—ever. Nonetheless, we will expose you to the following irredeemably brazen plugs for our books:

The Resource Guide for Food Writers
(Hardcover)
(Paper)
(Kindle)
(newsletters like this merely update the contents of the book; what doesn’t appear here is already in the book)

The Herbalist in the Kitchen
(Hardcover)
(Kindle)

The Business of Food: Encyclopedia of the Food And Drink Industries
(Hardcover)
(Kindle)

Human Cuisine
(Paper)
(Kindle)

Herbs: A Global History
(Hardcover)
(Kindle)

Sausage: A Global History
(Hardcover)
(Kindle)

Can It! The Perils and Pleasures of Preserving Foods
(Hardcover)
(Kindle)

Sauces Reconsidered: Aprés Escoffier

Terms of Vegery
(Kindle)

How to Serve Man:
On Cannibalism, Sex, Sacrifice, & the Nature of Eating
(Kindle)

Here endeth the sales pitch(es)...

...for the moment, anyway.

______________

The Resource Guide for Food Writers, Update #225 is protected by copyright, and is provided at no cost, for your personal use only. It may not be copied or retransmitted unless this notice remains affixed. Any other form of republication—unless with the author’s prior written permission—is strictly prohibited.

Copyright ©2019 by Gary Allen.


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Doorstops and lavatory entertainments abound in our book store.