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Nancy Harmon Jenkins is a recognized expert on Mediterranean cuisines and the Mediterranean Diet, out of which has evolved her deep interest in regional food systems. She is a food writer and journalist, with numerous books and articles to her credit, including “Virgin Territory: An Exploration of the World of Olive Oil” (Houghton). Her other food books include “The New Mediterranean Diet Cookbook” (Bantam), “Cucina del Sole: A Celebration of the Cuisines of Southern Italy,” “Flavors of Puglia,” “Flavors of Tuscany” and “The Essential Mediterranean,” examining a dozen foods key to understanding Mediterranean cuisines. A former staff writer with The New York Times, Nancy continues to contribute to the Times in addition to writing for The Washington Post, Saveur, Food & Wine, the Wall Street Journal and other national and international publications. She is currently working on “The Four Seasons of Pasta” (Viking), with her daughter Sara, chef-owner of Porsena Ristorante in New York City.

Jenkins has lived and worked throughout the countries of the Mediterranean, at various times making a home in Spain, France, Italy, Lebanon and Cyprus as well as in Hong Kong and England. She now divides her time between a Tuscan farmhouse, where she makes her own olive oil, and a home on the coast of Maine where she was born and raised. In Italy, Jenkins conducts weeklong seminars on the culture and cuisine of extra-virgin olive oil. (In 2014, these will take place in Puglia in the autumn; plans are afoot for programs in Sicily in the spring.)

Jenkins frequently conducts lectures and workshops about various aspects of the Mediterranean Diet, especially olive oil. You can read more of her writing on her site, nancyharmonjenkins.com.

The first asparagus of the season is a welcome garden treat. Credit: Copyright 2016 Nancy Harmon Jenkins

My father, may he rest in peace, was a champion Yankee gardener, as proud of his vegetables as he was of the considerable flowerbeds

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Cauliflower at a market in Tuscany, Italy. Credit: Copyright 2016 Nancy Harmon Jenkins

Cauliflower is about to become the new kale, according to something I read online. And that's just fine with me, because I have grown

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Recent finds at the winter market included cauliflower, broccoli, a black radish and leeks. Credit: Copyright 2016 Nancy Harmon Jenkins

A recent trip to the produce market led me to sing hymns in praise of winter vegetables. I returned home with familiar cauliflower and

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Freshly milled oil. Credit: Copyright 2016 Nancy Harmon Jenkins

It's an old story -- you've heard it before, and not just from me -- but it's coming around again. Predictably, just as U.S.

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Seared Maine sea scallops. Credit: Copyright 2015 Nancy Harmon Jenkins

There's a phrase Mainers use when they really, really like something: "Wicked good," they say. Right now they're saying that about Maine sea scallops,

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Olive Cunzate. Credit: Copyright 2015 Nancy Harmon Jenkins

With the considerable help of family and friends, we finished in record time the olive harvest on our Tuscan farmlet high up in the

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Delicata squash pair nicely with pasta for a Thanksgiving dish. Credit: Copyright 2015 Nancy Harmon Jenkins

Every time I come back to Italy, which I do as often as I can, I learn something new. Take pasta, for instance. The subject

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Despite a reputation to the contrary, you can find good quality olive oils from hot climates. Credit: Copyright 2015 Nancy Harmon Jenkins

Extra virgin olive oils made in hot climates have not had a great reputation. Oils from Sicily and Puglia in Italy and Andalusia, Spain,

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