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Food Sites for November 2021

Tuesday, October 12, 2021

Benjamin Franklin’s choice for the national bird


If you have ever had any interest in preserving your current body shape, remember your Dante. “Abandon all hope, ye who enter” the gluttonous circle of hell that we like to call “La Grande Abbuffata.” After all, if we weren’t meant to be overweight, why would Christmas, Hannukah, Kwanzaa, Thanksgiving, and New Year’s Eve be heaped onto our plates—each one more densely caloric than the last—just as the year gives up the ghost?


Changing the subject, abruptly: We discovered that one of our articles “Knocking Trout Off Its Perch,” is no longer available on Drexel University’s Table Matters website—so we posted it on our blog, Just Served. We changed the title to “Spring and the Nature of Eating” (which was the original title, anyway).


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 older online scribbles can be found at A Quiet Little Table in the Corner. There’s even an Amazon author’s page, mostly about our food writing.


And now to pluck a few seasonally-appropriate excerpts from On the Table’s culinary quote collection:


In so far as God has partly revealed to us an angelic world, he has partly told us what an angel means. But God has never told us what a turkey means. And if you go and stare at a live turkey for an hour or two, you will find by the end of it that the enigma has rather increased than diminished. G. K. Chesterton


If the soup had been as warm as the wine; if the wine had been as old as the turkey; and if the turkey had had a breast like the maid, it would have been a swell dinner. Duncan Hines


The pilgrims were kicked out of England, quarreled with the Dutch, alienated the Indians, and had an evil reputation among the turkeys. Dave Beard


Don’t assume you’re always going to be understood. I wrote in a column that one should put a cup of liquid in the cavity of a turkey when roasting it. Someone wrote me that “the turkey tasted great, but the plastic cup melted.” Heloise

Gary
November, 2021


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 and 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.



— the new sites —


4 Cholesterol Myths It’s Officially Time to Stop Believing, According to Dietitians

(Karla Walsh sets the record straight, for allrecipes)


Automated Restaurants, Past and Present

(Annie Ewbank’s Gastro Observer article about food on the move)


Battle of the Bubbles, A: War Comes to the Prosecco Hills

(what’s in a name? Jason Horowitz writes, in The New York Times, about the ensuing battle between the producers of Italian prosecco and Croatian prosek)


Book of Bread, The

(PDF of Owen Simmons’ 1903 professional how-to-manual/photobook)


Can the Iconic Georgia Peach Keep Growing in a Warming South?

(Sarah Gibbens discusses the effects of climate change on the fuzzy fruit in National Geographic)


Cook in Spanish: Bi-lingual Gastronomic Vocabulary

(from “alfalfa” to “yellowtail”—“alfalfa” to “jurel;” a PDF)


Death of the Wine Critic Has Left a Hangover, The

(Jason Wilson’s lament/complaint, at Pix)


Ethiopia’s Wild Coffee Forests

(GastroObserver’s interview with Jeff Koehler, author of Where the Coffee Grows Wild)


Food Culture and Literary Imagination in Early Modern Italy. The Renaissance of Taste

(Allen J Grieco announces Laura Giannetti’s first volume in the series Food Culture, Food History before 1900 for the Amsterdam University Press; the book is here)


Guide to Thai Curries, A

(Pailin Chongchitnant’s article at Serious Eats; with definitions, recipes, and links to more recipes)


History of Börek, A

(Alexander Lee’s account of ubiquitous stuffed pastries dating back to the Ottomans and beyond; article at History Today)


How to Read a Wine Label, in 12 Easy Lessons

(Eric Asimov’s answer in The New York Times)


Massive Kitchens, Unique Tastes: India’s Ancient Temple Cuisine Sits in a Class of Its Own

(Rakesh Kumar’s report for CNN Travel)


Saint Hyacinth of Pierogi

(Karol Palion’s blog, Forking Around with History, takes on the questionable connection between saint and Polish stuffed dumplings)


Transpacific Trade Route & Its Influence on Mexican Cuisine, The

(Candelaria Donají Méndez Tello and Blanca Estela Leyva Gutiérrez on “the exchange of plants, seeds, spices and people,”—a different story than the well-known Columbian Exchange—for imagine-mexico.com)


Types of Plums: Black, Red, and More Varieties (with Pictures)–Including Plumcots, Apriums, and Pluots

(lots of details, from Leafy Place)


West African Influence on Mexican Rice Cultivation and Gastronomy

(excerpt from Marco Polo Hendández Cuevas’ book, The Afro-Mexican Ancestors and the Nation They Constructed)


When Life Gives You Lemons, It’s a Status Symbol: On the Evolving Literary and Cultural History of Citrus

(Jean Huang jumps from Little Women to the literary, historic, and archaeological evidence—for Literary Hub)


Wine Tasting, Vineyards, in France

(photographer Bertrand Celce visited a vast number of French vineyards and interviewed their winemakers)



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


7 of the Oldest Recipes in History


Apparently, Some People Can’t Be Bothered With Food


Claudia Roden: “What Do I Want from Life Now? Having People Around My Table”


Cookery Books: Britains Gift to America


Digitized “What’s the Recipe for a Queer Cookbook” Exhibit


Drexel Food Lab’s Deutsch Shares Future of Foodtech


Food Wars, The


Generate Free Barcodes Online


Gundruk, The


Inside the Company Printing America’s Community Cookbooks


ISSUE 36, PICNIC, Part 1: The Heart of the Picnic


Just 10 Companies Control Most of the World’s Food & Beverages


Spoof of a Saveur Story Might Go Like This..., A


Tea or Coffee?


Ten Things Nobody Tells You About the Publishing Industry


We Share More than Food at the Table, Says Culinary Historian Jessica Harris


Who Called the Carbonara Police?


Wine, Food, and Nostalgia



— another blog —


Chandri’s Kitchen



— podcasts, etcetera —


Calendar of Virtual Food History Talks, Cook-Alongs, Demos


EatsDrinksTV


Kitchen Whisperers with Dorothy Kalins


M.F.K. Fisher: Poet of the Appetites | The New School


Tequila, the OG Mexican Spirit


Truth About Food, The


West Africa in Mexican Rice Cultivation and Gastronomy



— changed URL —


Sporkful, The



— that’s all for now —


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


As an Amazon Associate, this newsletter earns from qualifying purchases made through it. These include our own books (listed below), and occasional books mentioned in the entries above. If you order anything via those links, the price you pay is not increased by our commission.


Occasionally, URLs we provide may take you to commercial sites (that is, they’ll cost you money to take full advantage of them), or publications that have paywalls. 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 own 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: Après Escoffier

(Hardcover)
(Kindle)


Terms of Vegery
(Paper)
(Kindle)


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

(Paper)
(Kindle)


How to Write a Great Book

(Paper)
(Kindle)


The Digressions of Dr Sanscravat: Gastronomical Ramblings & Other Diversions
(Paper)
(Kindle)


Ephemera: a short collection of short stories
(Paper)
(Kindle)


Prophet Amidst Losses
(Paper)
(Kindle)


Cenotaphs
(Paper)
(Kindle)


Future Tense: Remembrance of Things Not Yet Past
(Paper)
(Kindle)


Backstories: As retold by Gary Allen
(Paper)
(Kindle)


Here endeth the sales pitch(es)...


...for the moment, anyway.


______________


The Resource Guide for Food Writers, Update #253 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 ©2021 by Gary Allen.


Spring and the Nature of Eating

Sunday, September 19, 2021

 


Trout season is approaching its most glorious phase, that time known as “the sweet of the year.” It’s that blissful time when the season is at its showiest, the air is soft, the streams have cleared, and the trout are rising freely in a most pleasing manner. Which is not to say that they are easily caught—they are still trout, after all. These elegant fish inhabit some of the most poetic and pristine waters, and employ their wiles inscrutably to bewitch and befuddle even the most sophisticated anglers.

So why, over that paean of piscatorial prose, is this scrawl illustrated with a lowly Yellow Perch?

Trout and Yellow Perch tell us something about the way we choose to feed ourselves. Some fishermen (at least those who do not adhere strictly to the canon of catch-and-release) will occasionally consume trout and bass, but eschew “lesser” species such as Bluegills or Yellow Perch. These easily-caught fish actually taste better than the more prestigious species (that’s why they are known collectively as “pan fish”). Trout, especially hatchery-raised fish (which are much more common than truly wild trout ) tend to have soft flesh, with a slightly musty flavor that is probably the result of the food pellets they ate. Bass (especially large-mouth bass) are often caught in muddy or weedy waters, and their flavor can reflect that terroir. Pan fish, on the other hand, are nearly always wild, and their flesh is firm and sweet. So why would someone prefer a food with potentially poorer culinary properties, that is harder to come by?

Those choosy fishermen demonstrate an important aspect of eating: the food itself is only a small part of the eating experience. What we choose to eat is determined by factors that are often at odds with our best interest. We place greater value on the symbolic aspects of foods than on their intrinsic properties.

Why would people (in the past) have preferred white bread to the “lowlier” peasant breads that were cheaper, tastier, and more nutritious? White flour was more labor-intensive, so only the wealthy could afford it—therefore eaters of white bread were visibly part of a higher-status group than eaters of dark breads. Once industrially-produced white flour, became cheap, available to everyone—consequently, losing status. Before long, whole grain breads—made, supposedly, by artisanal methods—gained a newly enhanced status. That status, in turn led people to believe that such breads were “more healthful.” Today’s supermarkets carry a plethora of supposedly more natural breads: not just whole wheat; but honey-laden 12-grain; crusty loaves festooned with seeds of pumpkin, sunflower, and flax; studded with wheat-berries and rolled oats. It’s only a matter of time before we’re offered breads that are indistinguishable from Chia Pets. Being sufficiently well-off to choose “health” over mere sustenance implied higher status, justifying the higher prices of darker breads. Former peasant breads, like pumpernickel and Russian black bread regained their lost status.

Since trout and bass require more effort to catch than plebian pan fish, they likewise confer higher status on those who choose to eat them. Yellow Perch, on the other hand, are so willing to be caught that even a small child, equipped with only the simplest gear (a hand-line, hook, and an old cork will serve nicely) and most rudimentary skills, can easily catch enough to feed their whole family. All that’s required are a few worms, and the ability to wait until the bobbing cork says it’s time to give the line a yank.

Despite the pretentions of fishers of elite species, what they demonstrate is not connoisseurship, but rather the brute power of supply-and-demand. Time is money, so having the leisure time to invest in the sport— not to mention the financial wherewithal to acquire custom-made bamboo fly rods or high-powered bass boats—means that every mouthful of gamefish is more precious than saffron-gilded peacock’s tongues.

At one time lobsters and caviar were so abundant that only servants and slaves had to eat them. The poor were pitied for having to endure the monotony of such mundane fare. Salty caviar was once given away free in taverns to encourage beer sales, while lobsters were so common that they were fed to prisoners, or used to fertilize vegetable gardens.  When my mother was growing up, on the Connecticut shore, mussels were abundant—but only poor Italian immigrants collected them. Her Yankee family considered mussels to be trash, and would never touch them. Even during The Great Depression, they chose to eat the tougher (and harder-to-collect) hard-shell clams, Those big quahogs were only suitable for chowder, or chopped for clam pies. I doubt that any of my Yankee ancestors had ever tasted the sweet and tender black mussels that covered every rock in Long Island Sound, were free for the taking.

Why would people shun perfectly-delicious food in favor of something more difficult to obtain, yet not nearly as tasty? Because their self-image is more important, and presumably longer-lasting, than their evanescent dining experiences. Or, to paraphrase Brillat-Savarin, bluntly, “Tell me what you eat, and I will tell you who you think you are.” 

In the sweet of the year, I may be savoring the memories of trout I’ve caught and lost… but I’ll actually be tasting the sweet flesh of a few yellow perch.

This article originally appeared in the Spring 2016 issue of Drexel University’s Table Matters—as “Knocking Trout off its Perch,” but is no longer available on its website.

My illustration (“Yellow Perch & Gold-ribbed Hare’s Ear”) was a gift for one of my fishing buddies—the artist Tom Stratton, in 1989—and that home-tied fly has long been one of our favorites for half a century.

Food Sites for October 2021

Monday, September 13, 2021


Gourds, warts and all.


It’s autumn, and we’re awash in the annual tsunami of pumpkin-spice-everything. There doesn’t seem to be a way to escape it—unless one never leaves the safety of home. Fortunately, introverts/hermits/writers effectively limit their exposure to that marketing plague. Reading through all of the links in this longer-than-usual issue of updates can also help (if only because it will keep you out of your local Dunkin Donuts).


In another form of relief, many of you will be happy to learn that we have self-published ABSOLUTELY NOTHING this month—although we havent stopped scribbling; wrote the first draft of a novella (working title, so far: Unbelievable) and one of a short story. The novella is not really about food (but includes plenty of food & drink elements). The short story—set in a special section of Hades—has only minor references to food. It’s working title is “Darkness, Darkness.”


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 older online scribbles can be found at A Quiet Little Table in the Corner. There’s even an Amazon author’s page, mostly about our food writing.


From the Two-Different-Takes Dep’t, a couple of excerpts from On the Table’s culinary quote collection:


The capacity of human beings to bore one another seems to be vastly greater than that of any other animals. Some of their most esteemed inventions have no other apparent purpose, for example, the dinner party of more than two, the epic poem, and the science of metaphysics. HL Mencken


I have long believed that good food, good eating is all about risk. Whether we’re talking about unpasteurized Stilton, raw oysters, or working for organized crime “associates,” food, for me, has always been an adventure. Anthony Bourdain

Gary
October, 2021


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 Krishnendu Ray and Anne Mendelson), 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.



— the new sites —


Ancient Mediterranean People Ate Bananas and Turmeric From Asia 3,700 Years Ago

(Claire Bugos reports on more archaeological discoveries, for Smithsonian, based on this original research)


Brief History of Pickles, A

(Michele Debczak’s article at Mental Floss)


Chinese Food & History

(a misnomer; Miranda Brown’s site features articles on plenty of Asian cuisines, not just China’s)


DeepL

(one of the better online translation tools)


Eating in Jerusalem

(an exhibition/magazine from the Museum of the History of Jerusalem)


Epic Cooking: The Decorous Rite of the Mushroom Hunt

(foraging for fungi in Poland)


Expanding the Israeli Menu

(Flora Tsapovsky, in Tablet, discusses the multicultural eclecticism of modern Israeli cuisine)


Farro: An Ancient and Complicated Grain Worth Figuring Out

(Laura Weiss’s article at NPR’s Kitchen Window)


Food & Material Culture

(PDF of the 2013 Proceedings of the Oxford Symposium on Food and Cookery)


How Ice Cream Became the Ultimate American Comfort Food

(an excerpt from Matt Siegel’s book, The Secret History of Food)


How the Kitchen Took Over Our Homes

(Deborah Sugg Ryan’s British take on an answer in Financial Times)


Late-Summer Tart from a Misunderstood Master of French Cooking, A

(Mayukh Sen’s tribute to Madeleine Kamman, in The New Yorker)


Minoans Saw Wheat as Classy and Lentils as “Plebeian” Fare, Archaeologists Deduce

(Ruth Schuster, writing for Haaretz, digs into ancient dietary choices as revealed at two sites in Crete)


Pot Thickens, The

(Jonathan Olivier tells the story of filé in The Bitter Southerner—along with some non-Zappa gumbo variations)


Save the Planet, Eat a Bug

(Dana Goodyear’s article from a 2011 issue of The New Yorker)


What Is Curry, Anyways?

(Alex Delany’s answer at Bon Appétit’s Basically)


Who Invented Peanut Butter?

(...and who better to ask than the National Peanut Board?)



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


Bacon: A Story of Rags to Riches


Can We Fix America’s Food-Appropriation Problem?


Dearth of Pleasure, A: The Curse of Modern Food Writing


Digital Truths Traditional Publishers Don’t Want to Hear, The


English Food Store, The 


Frosting Versus Icing: What’s the Difference?


Hilary Mantel on How Writers Learn to Trust Themselves


How to Write a Great Recipe Headnote


No One Will Read Your Book (and Other Truths about Publishing)


Notes on Cravings


Old Fashioned Kitchen Sayings from Mexico: Dichos de Antaño de la Cocina Mexicana


Psychologists Explain Why Food Memories Can Feel So Powerful


Sandwich, A


Should We Genetically Edit the Food We Eat? We Asked Two Experts


Should You Publish Your Book with a Small Press? Two Literary Agents Advise


“Super Taster” Who Lost Sense of Smell Is Helping Italians Regain It


Why Do Fantasy Novels Have So Much Food?


Why Grocery Stores Get Jewish Holidays All Wrong


Wine and Cuisine: Craft or Art?



— other blogs —


Forking Around with History


Tower of David



— podcasts, etcetera —



Ancient Drink Serving the World for 13,000 Years, The


Deadly Secret of the Humble Grapefruit, The


Disgusting Food Museum


How to Photograph a Mushroom


Why Insects are the Missing Link in our Food System



— changed URL —


O Mosey Quince



— that’s all for now —


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


As an Amazon Associate, this newsletter earns from qualifying purchases made through it. These include our own books (listed below), and occasional books mentioned in the entries above. If you order anything via those links, the price you pay is not increased by our commission.


Occasionally, URLs we provide may take you to commercial sites (that is, they’ll cost you money to take full advantage of them), or publications that have paywalls. 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 own 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: Après Escoffier

(Hardcover)
(Kindle)


Terms of Vegery
(Paper)
(Kindle)


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

(Paper)
(Kindle)


How to Write a Great Book

(Paper)
(Kindle)


The Digressions of Dr Sanscravat: Gastronomical Ramblings & Other Diversions
(Paper)
(Kindle)


Ephemera: a short collection of short stories
(Paper)
(Kindle)


Prophet Amidst Losses
(Paper)
(Kindle)


Cenotaphs
(Paper)
(Kindle)


Future Tense: Remembrance of Things Not Yet Past
(Paper)
(Kindle)


Backstories: As retold by Gary Allen
(Paper)
(Kindle)


Here endeth the sales pitch(es)...


...for the moment, anyway.


______________


The Resource Guide for Food Writers, Update #252 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 ©2021 by Gary Allen.

 

The Libro-Emporium

Doorstops and lavatory entertainments abound in our book store.