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Main photo: Beet Chocolate Cake. Credit: Lynne Curry

I never thought of myself as a beet fanatic. Sure, I like this versatile root vegetable well enough, but only recently realized that beets are pivotal to the menu at my restaurant, the Lostine Tavern -- roasted, raw, pickled and puréed. Along with two types of pickled beets, we feature

Radicchio stuffed with goat cheese. Credit: Copyright 2016 Nathan Hoyt/Forktales

If radicchio has become wildly popular in the States, it still doesn't get the respect it deserves: Americans have adopted the showy vegetable as their own, but rarely does it transcend the salad bowl. This drives the Italians crazy, because throughout the regions where growing it is a tradition and

Coffee and chocolate are an especially delicious combination found in hundreds of classic Italian desserts such as Italian Torta Nera, a dense coffee chocolate cake that is a specialty of the Emilia-Romagna region. Credit: Copyright "Dolci: Italy's Sweets" by Francine Segan (Stewart, Tabori & Chang)

Coffee actually started out as a food, not a drink. A thousand years ago in Africa, the birthplace of coffee, locals would mash the ripe "cherries'' from wild coffee trees to create a dried traveling food packed with protein and nutrients; sort of an early version of the breakfast bar. [aside] While

Beef and Guinness stew. Credit: Copyright 2015 Nathan Hoyt/Forktales

Not so long ago, most Americans' idea of how to enjoy beef was to dig into a slab of steak as big as the plate it was served on. Thankfully, culinary fashions have changed. Today, the so-called lesser cuts are giving the primes a run for their money not only

Squid stir-fry. Credit: Copyright 2016 Kathy Hunt

For as long as I can remember, I’ve encouraged cooking students, friends and fellow diners to opt for squid over octopus. In return they usually say they have never tried it or they like deep-fried octopus too much to give up “calamari.” Besides, does anyone really know what to do with

Honorary Canon Adrian Rhodes with his beehives on the roof of Manchester Cathedral. Credit: Copyright 2015 Clarissa Hyman

Few of the commuters, shoppers and office staff in Manchester’s city center in northwest England know the roof of their historic cathedral is also home to around a quarter of a million workers. They might feel some concern if they learn these other drones are, in fact, bees. Or they might

Pimento cheese is Southern junk food at its best -- sweet and salty, with a kick. Copyright 2015 Susan Lutz

Pimento cheese is the ultimate Southern junk food. But unlike most junk food, which is highly processed and untouched by human hands, pimento cheese at its best is a homemade affair. [aside] On a recent road trip through the Shenandoah Valley and West Virginia, I found myself on a quest for

Pesce spade alla “stemperata” made with red snapper. Credit: Clifford A. Wright

One of the most beautiful cities in Sicily is Syracuse, which has a history extending to the ancient Greeks. There is a method of cooking in Syracuse, especially applied to Sicilian fish, but other foods as well, that makes for beguiling dishes. [aside] Stemperata is a Syracusean method of cooking that means