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

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,

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

Broccoli with oil-cured olives and lemon zest. Credit: Copyright 2015 Clifford A. Wright

Broccoli is a vegetable that makes for a wonderful salad. Its bright green color and crisp-tender texture can be appealing if cooked properly. [aside] Cooking broccoli properly might seem like a no-brainer, but many people do not do so. Broccoli, and all cruciferous vegetables, must not be overcooked, otherwise chemicals in the

Corn-Lobster Congee topped with chopped tomatoes and sliced scallions. Credit: Copyright 2016 David Latt

For many people the arrival of vine-ripened tomatoes marks the beginning of summer. But for me, it's the mounds of corn at our farmers market. With countless ways to enjoy corn, one of the most delicious is to use corn kernels in an Asian-style congee or rice porridge. [aside] Certainly the easiest