The Culture of Food and Drink


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Dates and date syrup. Credit: Copyright 2016 Tami Weiser

Many ancient sweeteners are long forgotten, overtaken by the simple, clean taste of granulated sugar. Take for instance, date syrup. Also called date molasses, melasse de datte, rub, dibs or silvan, date syrup has a long, storied history for many millennia in the Levant, Ancient Persia and throughout the Middle East. I make

Cinnamon chouquettes. Credit: Copyright 2016 Kathy Hunt

At one time, if I wanted a handful of airy, pearl-sugar-encrusted chouquettes, I’d have to either scrimp and save for a trip to France or break down and make these sweets myself. For centuries these petite, round pastries have been a mainstay of French bakeries and patisseries. Like clockwork, each day

Corn, potato and shrimp chowder with bourbon. Credit: Copyright 2015 Nathan Hoyt/Forktales

Once, you couldn't make a chowder in New England without purists frowning over your shoulder. I learned this as a young chef working aboard a ship cruising the waters of Nantucket, catering to the tastes of paying guests. We could give them moules marinières scented with wine; we could make

The Santomas winery, with the town of Koper in the distance, lies in Slovenian Istria. Credit: Copyright 2016 Marjan Močivnik

The wines of Slovenia are being rediscovered after Slovenia's emergence from the old Yugoslavia, and there are now pockets of excellent vineyards all over the country. Recently, I was in the Istrian part of Slovenia, which is sandwiched between the much larger Croatian Istria and the Italian city of Trieste. Essentially,

Apples ready to be picked. Credit: Copyright 2016 Nancy Harmon Jenkins

My house right now is filled with the fragrance of roses -- not from real blossoms, long gone from the garden, but from apples, piled in bowls on tables and countertops, wherever a hand might reach out for a snack. Macintosh, Cortlands, Macouns, Paula Reds, take your pick -- it's

Stifado, braised beef with feta cheese and onions. Credit: Copyright 2016 Clifford A. Wright

Greek food is one that is festive, healthy, simple and delicious, and Greek restaurants are always fun to go to. Greek food is easy to cook at home too, as long as you have the basic staples -- none of which are exotic -- such as olive oil, tomatoes, oregano,

Mise en place for a pickle recipe. Credit: Copyright 2016 Lynne Curry

I have a whole shelf’s worth of books on the art of preserving -- from the "Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving" to Sandor Katz's "Wild Fermentation." All of them attentively detail the equipment, ingredients, safety measures and mechanics of food preservation. But not one of them reveals how an

Tatin of Summer Squash and/or Zucchini, Tomatoes and Anchovies. Credit: Copyright 2016 Sue Style

Zucchini? Or courgettes? Same difference; it just depends where you live. For some unexplained reason, we Brits took the French name for this delicate and delicious vegetable, while Americans preferred the Italian name -- which is also strange, because the whole, diverse cucurbit family to which these belong came originally