The Culture of Food and Drink


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Christmas fruitcake, © Julia della Croce 2014. Credit: Nathan Hoyt/Forktales

I never understood the aversion to fruitcake until someone sent me one of those clunkers that the humorist Russell Baker said he deplored, dating from a Christmas dinner when a small piece he dropped shattered his right foot. The offending object "had been in my grandmother's possession since 1880," he

Three Italian cookies. Credit: "Dolci: Italy’s Sweets" (Stewart, Tabori & Chang)

Holidays often mean cookies. Here are three unusual Italian cookies that you can make ahead for the holidays, each with a special featured ingredient. You'll find a cookie that's just right for the red wine lover, honey fan or grappa aficionado. Red wine cookies not only are made with red wine,

Rose hips. Credit: Copyright 2016 Wendy Petty

For foragers, calls to return to meaningful holiday gifts can be easily answered by turning to their well-stocked pantries. Presents made from wild foods are often easy to put together, budget-friendly, and are infused with the love of something handmade. With a little creativity, you can use the wild wonders

Lobster Pop-Tarts in a Duralit toaster, Barton G. Los Angeles. Credit: Copyright 2016 David Latt

On special occasions and holidays, we want great food and we want fun. For chef Attila Bollok at Barton G. Los Angeles, every day is a celebration because all the dishes are visually extravagant or slyly clever. In his kitchen at Barton G., Bollok showed me how to prepare his

Making homemade bitters requires spices, alcohol, and above all, patience. Credit: Susan Lutz

Nothing gives a cocktail a kick quite like bitters. Whether it's an Old Fashioned, a Manhattan or a Champagne Cocktail, those quick dashes from a paper-wrapped bottle turn simple alcohol into something mysterious, tangy and alluring. There are big-name bitters -- Angostura and Peychauds -- with secret recipes and exotic

Brownies and cookies made with olive oil. Credit: Nancy Harmon Jenkins

Making a healthy start this spring, I went into the kitchen to cook with olive oil. Now I know there are all sorts of people, chefs among them, who will claim "you can't cook with extra virgin olive oil." Where they get this from is a mystery, but it's a myth

The finished dish: Portuguese pumpkin flan with Almonds. Credit: Copyright 2016 Michael Krondl

Enter a Portuguese pastry shop and you might think you’ve walked into a lab where a mad scientist had been imprisoned for years with nothing to experiment with but sugar and eggs. And that analogy may not be so off the mark -- many of the country’s best-known desserts may

Bengali Yogurt Fish Curry (Doi Maach). Credit: Copyright 2016 Rinku Bhattacharya

Indian cooking gets a bad reputation for being daunting and almost too difficult to fit into your everyday repertoire. This misconception may be gradually changing, but not quite fast enough. But on the contrary, everyday Indian cooking is flavorful, practical and filled with all the health benefits from spices that