The Culture of Food and Drink


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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

Harvesting the ancient tomatoes of Naples, San Marzano, Campania. Credit: Paolo Ruggiero, DaniCoop

A question I'm often asked is how to make the best so-called "marinara." It's one that vexes me as much as the perennial hunt for the best pizza that makes good headlines. How could only one out of countless others be "best"? To begin with,"marinara" is a misnomer. While in

Main photo: Turkey pot pies by chef Andrew Pastore at Clifton’s Cafeteria in Los Angeles. Credit: Copyright 2016 David Latt

The only part of Thanksgiving better than the dinner itself is the next day, when we feast on leftovers. Sandwiches made with sliced turkey and cranberry sauce. Turkey soup. Turkey salad. When I was in his kitchen at Clifton’s Cafeteria in downtown Los Angeles, chef Andrew Pastore showed me how

Bread crumbs and chestnuts for Thanksgiving stuffing. Credit: Copyright 2016 cislander/iStock

Our family’s Thanksgiving dinner, including the stuffing, is heavily inflected with New England themes. That’s because two of my children were born in Boston and we lived in Massachusetts for 14 years when the children were young. Once we moved to California, we kept those foods for Thanksgiving that are not