General

General

Wok Tossing – The science

ALTHOUGH IT MIGHT LOOK SIMPLE, cooking fried rice with a wok is a subtle art and an even subtler science. Rice grains need to be in constant motion, moving up and sideways, flying through the air without leaving the bowl. The Mandarin word is chǎo, where ingredients are tossed in hot oil, cooking but never …

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Italians Cooking Flowers

PICKING, COOKING, AND EATING FLOWERS and wild herbs was once a common practice across rural Italy. From Naples’ sciurilli (deep fried courgette flowers) to Veneto’s frittelle di fiori de gazia (acacia flowers doughnuts), most regions have a dish whose key ingredient is flowers. But after World War II, industrialization and urbanization led to the abandonment …

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Scandinavian Kaffeost

Like Swedish lovers canoodling in a hot tub overlooking the frozen lakes of northern Scandinavia, kaffeost, or “coffee cheese,” bobs luxuriously in its hot coffee bath. The dried cheese, called juustoleipä (sometimes leipäjuusto or just juusto), absorbs the steaming brew, softening without melting, like a rich, moist cheese sponge. Though it may be an unlikely pairing to some palates, among the …

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Oliverio Xicotencatl offers a glimpse at the busiest time of the year at his bakery.

Meet a Baker Giving Life to Día de los Muertos Celebrations For the millions of Mexicans who celebrate Día de los Muertos across the country and abroad, the sweet breads, rolls and treats placed on altars during the holiday are an important way of honoring their loved ones. This annual celebration, beginning on November 1 …

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Pastry Coffins

This container was the progenitor of pie, and barely edible. Medieval Europeans Didn’t Have Tupperware, They Had Pastry Coffins EVEN ON HALLOWEEN, PRYING OPEN the lid of a stiff, sealed coffin would be considered a ghastly endeavor. But in Medieval Europe, sawing the top off a well-executed coffin revealed something delicious, rather than disgusting. A coffin, …

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Antwerp Chocolate Hands

Antwerp is the capital of chocolate, selling it in various shapes and flavors, ranging from little peeing boys (manneken pis) to more traditional shapes such as animals and happy faces. But one of the most popular shapes is a severed hand. As the myth behind Antwerpse handjes (Antwerp hands) goes, there once was a mighty giant called Druon …

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Human Bones Into Bread

IN THE DAYS LEADING UP to the French Revolution, Paris was starving. Consecutive years of poor harvests led to bread riots and widespread hunger. In response, Queen Marie-Antoinette purportedly said, “Well, if the people of Paris can’t afford bread, let them eat cake!” She didn’t say that. In French, the former queen is credited with …

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The Disgusting Food Museum

A new museum aimed to assault the olfactory senses of visitors and churn their stomach opened yesterday in Sweden’s third largest city, Malmo. Inside are various exhibits that some cultures supposedly eat, such as fermented shark meat, bull penis, fermented herring, maggot cheese and ant larvae. It’s so bad that the museum provide visitors with vomit bags …

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The Bedfordshire clanger

The Bedfordshire clanger was originally the food of farm labourers. A suet pudding with a meat filling, portable cold or eaten hot on returning home. … Like the good old days we make our clangers using the same ingredients with suet pastry and a combination of savoury and sweet fillings at either end of the clanger. You might nibble a …

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The Potato Whisperer

Manuel Choqque Bravo’s delicious, colorful creations are adored by world-class chefs. 1,296 Bravo shows off a collection of cultivated tubers. ALL PHOTOS COURTESY OF MANUEL CHOQQUE BRAVO MANUEL CHOQQUE BRAVO, A FOURTH generation potato farmer in the Andean highlands of Chinchero, is about to perform a magic show. He lines up multiple deformed tubers, indigenous to the …

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The Life and Times of a Japanese Candy Artist

For 17 years, Miyuki awed guests with her candy craftsmanship. JEFFCHRISTIANSEN/CC BY 2.0 AMEZAIKU IS THE TRADITIONAL JAPANESE practice of molding hot candy into artistic shapes before it hardens. This feat, traditionally accomplished by experienced craftsmen in front of a crowd, was once thought to be a fading art. But it’s been given a second life by social media and new …

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Medieval Egyptian Recipes

A newly translated cookbook provides a tantalizing glimpse of Cairo’s past. Behold! TREASURE TROVE OF BENEFITS AND VARIETY AT THE TABLE/BRILL THE MARKETS FOUND IN MEDIEVAL Egypt were spectacles to behold—or rather, to taste. From street vendors selling fried-pigeon snacks to streets lined with jars of foamy beer, descriptions of streets like Bayn al-Qaṣrayn can make one …

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A New Korean-Fusion Cuisine

Koryo Saram meal, photographed in Ushtobe, Kazakhstan. MICHAEL VINCE KIM/INSTITUTE In 2010 Dave Cook, a food writer with a talent for highlighting lesser known cuisine, endorsed a mom-and-pop cafe just off Brooklyn’s Brighton Beach boardwalk in the New York Times. By writing about the restaurant, which is known interchangeably as Eddie Fancy Food, Cafe At-Your-Mother-in-Law, or Y Tëщи, he …

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A 17th-Century ‘Barbarian’ Cookbook From Japan

Portuguese traders on a ship, taking tea. PUBLIC DOMAIN THESE DAYS, TREATS INCLUDING TEMPURA, konpeitō hard candy, and fluffy castella cake are available in restaurants, convenience stores, and bakeries across Japan. It might seem hard to believe that these dishes, especially fried tempura, were once curiosities even to the Japanese. Early recipes for these things and more were compiled in …

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The 10th-Century Baghdad Cookbook

The folio of al-Warrāq’s manuscript. COURTESY OF NAWAL NASRALLAH DURING THE MEDIEVAL ISLAMIC ERA, civil and religious leaders in Baghdad—known as caliphs—hosted legendary, opulent banquets within their courts. Communal dishes lined tables and drinks flowed freely. The caliphs peppered in entertainment throughout the meal as well, often asking revelers to sing praises about the food before them. …

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