"Yuck," said my daughter Lena upon observing the meal I had prepared. Lena is six. Her brother Graydon is eight. They prefer to eat processed white flour and sugar products flavored by colorful packaging and marketed by subsidiaries of multinational tobacco companies. Too bad for them that a life in farming has taught me to believe Alice Waters when she says good cooking means getting the best, freshest, most natural ingredients and then not ruining them... It was my parental duty to keep an eye on the kids and their guest, Brock, while making dinner. I pulled down Jeremiah Tower's New American Classics off the shelf as well as a copy of Joyce Goldstein's Sephardic Flavor which was pressed tightly to it. Here's a fun couple, I thought. More from Andy Griffin at Mariquita Farms

Our trained taste testers noted a slight but distinct off-taste and smell in most of the irradiated beef and chicken we cooked and sampled, likening it to singed hair. In the beef, the taste was detectable even with a bun, ketchup, and lettuce. Because it was usually subtle, however, some consumers may not notice it...Irradiated food is safe to eat, according to federal and world health officials. It certainly does not become radioactive. More from Consumer Reports
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So This Bear Walks Into a Bar . . . Alaska is more than I could have ever imagined. I had read some, but I knew so little about its beauty and bounty...The foods native to Alaska are as wonderful as any other region in the United States. Salmon is obviously the backbone of the cuisine...The growing season is a short 10 weeks, but the long days make the produce huge. Yukon potatoes, meaty and sweet, are wonderful and I've served them with a stew of venison and spicy reindeer sausage. More from Susan Callahan in the Washington Post

"California Dish: What I Saw (and Cooked) at the American Culinary Revolution" (Free Press, $25) tells of Tower's rise to celebrity chef-dom and his contribution to the birth of modern California cuisine. He is widely regarded as one of the most important and least retiring figures in American cooking, but he has never achieved the international icon status accorded to, say, Alice Waters, his estranged ex-partner. The book, Tower said in an interview last week, was his attempt to set the record straight. More from Shawn Hubler in the LA Times

Oven Baked French Fries Deep-fried French fries are best left to the fast food pros. Sure, deep-frying tastes great and creates crispy, golden fries, but it smells up the house. Then what do you do with all the leftover oil? These oven-baked French fries are a home cooks dreamsimple, and the kitchen smells great. But the best part is they taste as good as drive-thru fries, without the fat. There are two keys to great oven fries. The first has to do with the type of potatorussets work well because of their high starch and low water content. The fries get crisp without turning soggy... More from Cuisine At Home

I have been invited to Canola Camp this summer. It's three days of eating, stomping through canola and other prairie crops, cooking demos, and snippets of prairie culture put on by the Canola Info organization. One day, it's at least 35-degrees Celsius, and we joke that with all of the canola oil we've tested, we're likely to deep-fry in the midday heat... More from Jennifer Cockrall-King in Food Girl Canada

What happens, says Randol, a Lafayette, La., restaurateur and crawfish entrepreneur, is that people will go the grocery store, and theyll buy crawfish tails and cook them, and theyll taste bad. And then theyll figure that crawfish arent any good and that Cajun cooking isnt any good. What isnt good and anyone who has taste-tested them will attest to this are the packaged Chinese crawfish tails that are overrunning the American market. More from the Southern Foodways Alliance

In Chapel Hill, N.C., a cosmopolitan if out-of-the-way corner of the New South, Bill Neal, a self-taught, 34-year-old graduate of Duke University, was plowing the same furrow at a restaurant called Crook's Corner. He won regional renown for dishes like boned quail and shrimp with grits. He wrote a highly influential book called "Southern Cooking"...Craig Claiborne of The New York Times came to visit and to praise a sure sign, in that era, that a chef had arrived...But now Mr. Neal is making a posthumous comeback. Last May, the University of North Carolina Press brought out a revision of his second book, "Biscuits, Spoonbread and Sweet Potato Pie." More from R.W. Apple Jr. in the NY Times

Is Organic Food Provably Better? A study in the January 2003 Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry found 52 percent more ascorbic acid, or vitamin C, in frozen organic corn than in conventional corn, and 67 percent more in corn raised by sustainable methods a combination of organic and conventional farming. Polyphenols were significantly higher in organic and sustainable marionberries compared to conventionally farmed ones. More from Marian Burros in the NY Times

Outside, the sweet aroma of a special campfire cook-out entices crowds. Not just fellow campers. Raccoons may join you. (One time in Arizona, at the base of a tall red mesa, I wrestled a coyote for my steak.) A few guidelines is all it takes to make camp food gourmet...More from Vanessa Barrington in the Modesto Bee
Mid-Southerners know all about the catfish raised on farms in the Mississippi Delta. But they are probably less familiar with a fish of another stripe. About 1.7 million pounds of hybrid striped bass are harvested annually at Nature's Catch, a company with 900 acres of ponds about 15 miles east of Clarksdale. Annual U.S. production of hybrid striped bass is about 12 million pounds, small change compared to the 650 million pounds of catfish produced annually by American fish farmers. More from Christine Arpe Gang in Go Memphis.com
Cynthia Thurman isn't interested only in how a chef prepares her beef. She wants to know how it was raised and what it ate for lunch. Was it grass-fed or grain-fed? Did the animal receive growth hormones or therapeutic antibiotics? When Chipotle switched to all-natural Niman Ranch Pork, the Denver-based restaurant raised prices for carnitas, burritos and tacos by $1 to cover costs. Instead of a slump, all 250 locations "experienced close to a tenfold increase in sales," Arnold said. "This sends a very strong message that people are willing to pay higher prices for foods raised in a humane, sensitive way," he added. More from the Houston Chronicle

With increasing numbers of consumers turning to fish for its health benefits and summer making everyone long for meals with lighter, fresher flavors, now is the perfect time to brush up on your seafood-cooking skills. What, you don't cook fish at home? More from Sylvia Rector in the Detroit Free Press
They had but one last remaining night together, so they embraced each other as tightly as that two-flavor entwined string cheese that is orange and yellowish-white, the orange probably being a bland Cheddar and the white . . . Mozzarella, although it could possibly be Provolone or just plain American, as it really doesn't taste distinctly dissimilar from the orange, yet they would have you believe it does by coloring it differently. The winning entry from the Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest by Mariann Simms
He came, he conquered - barely five years ago Howard Schultz decided that Britain needed Starbucks. Now, love it or hate it, the chain has redefined our urban landscape...'Everything matters,' says Schultz, a minute into our interview, 48 hours into the immersion. Everything? I reply, sipping my tenth espresso of the day. 'Yes,' he says, deadly serious. 'Everything.' More from John Carlin in the Guardian Unlimited
"As we pulled into the McDonalds parking lot, to use the restrooms, my son glanced at the poster advertising the 99-cent menu and remarked "boy that food sure looks greasy, is that why we never eat here?". This was the perfect point of course, to launch into a lecture about the evils of fast food, but I let it slip by. Instead, I simply agreed and said, "yeah, it's pretty greasy all right, besides IN-N-OUT tastes alot better", to which he nodded in simple agreement.

In college, my favorite meal consisted of a Big Mac, Fillet of fish, Large fries, and a root beer. And look at how I turned out - a total food snob - who wouldn't be caught dead in a McDonalds, unless my kids, in the middle of a 4 1/2 hour drive on the way home from Yosemite, really had to pee. Shhh. It's our little secret ok?

By the time my kids are in high school, I'm sure they'll be feasting on fast food every chance they get though. As long as they eat their fresh organic heirloom lima beans at dinner, that's ok. Sorta.

Kudos to the San Francisco Chronicle and the editorial today on fast food in local schools.

"Burger King has, in effect, bought the school's implicit approval of its product,"..."It sends a message to children about what schools think is OK for them to be eating, and undercuts the message it should be sending about good health and good eating." More from the San Francisco Chronicle


"Allow children to enjoy their favorite foods without gaining weight," promises an ad for chewable berry-flavored tablets named Pedia Loss, an appetite suppressant for children 6 years and older. For $79.99, Pedia Loss, "in conjunction a proper diet and exercise program can keep your child from becoming a statistic." More from the San Francisco Chronicle


"Here everying is pretty good," says 10th-grader Brandon Peterson, moments after buying a bowl of teriyaki chicken in the cafeteria, his regular lunch hangout. Then he points to the snack bar, where clusters of students have gathered. "Over there, it always packed, and they mostly just sell junk food," he say disparagingly. More from the San Francisco Chronicle


Now students can select from a menu with items like Rosie's steaming chicken vegetable soup (made by Rose Ghiotto, the veteran cook-manager of the cafeteria), fresh pasta and sushi. The school's two vending machines have been emptied of sodas, and filled with bottled water...Sales of bottled water from vending machines now exceed previous sales of soda. More from the San Francisco Chronicle


"We're in constant pursuit of perfection," said Fortune Elkins, a Web designer from Brooklyn, who pulled espresso shots at Dallis's $7,000 Faema machine with the reverence of a Springsteen fan allowed backstage. It is a pursuit, Ms. Elkins said, more demanding than the one facing wine buffs. "Coffee has 800 to 1,200 flavor components,...It's an entire process." More from Deborah Baldwin in the New York Times

More from Fortune Elkins
William Straus, a pioneer in land conservation and co-founder of one of the country's first organic dairy farms, has died. He was 88. In 1941, Straus bought a small dairy farm near Marshall, a town on Tomales Bay in western Marin County. He started the business with 23 cows named after his friends and relatives. Straus and his wife expanded the family business, making the Straus Family Creamery one of the country's first certified organic dairies in 1994. More from Terence Chea in the Associated Press
Yum! Brands, parent company of KFC is committed to ensuring the humane treatment of animals. For this reason, KFC has established a system to ensure that the very best conditions are maintained and appropriate procedures are followed at all our suppliers' facilities. Yum! Brands is the owner of restaurant companies and, as such, does not own, raise, or transport animals. However, as a major purchaser of food products, we have the opportunity, and responsibility, to influence the way animals are treated...More from the KFC website
An animal rights group filed a lawsuit on Monday against fast-food chain KFC, accusing the company of making misleading statements on its Web site regarding how the chickens it sells are treated...In May, KFC announced plans to adopt more humane poultry-handling guidelines, addressing the breeding, hatching and raising of chickens. At the time, PETA said the guidelines did not go far enough to prevent cruelty to the animals. More from Rueters
Actor Jason Alexander became famous as the amoral, self-centered character George Costanza of the "Seinfeld" show. But now he's in the middle of a battle between animal rights activists and the makers of Kentucky Fried Chicken over whether or not he lost his job as the ubiquitous KFC pitchman because of a soft spot in his heart for, well, chickens. More from Marc Kaufman in the Washington Post
Upon learning that I am a chemist, innumerable acquaintances have sought my expert advice on profound scientific questions such as "How can I get the wine stains out of my tablecloth?" For this I spent 20 years in school? I hereby abandon my usual role of writing about the food that goes into our mouths in favor of addressing the food that misses our mouths and winds up on our clothes... More from Robert Wolke in the Washington Post
Face it; most of the fruit we buy can use a little help. That's why desserts were invented in the first place. The assist can come in the form of something as tricky as puff pastry or in a syrup so basic its official name is simple. And while there are few things easier to make than a simple syrup just boil sugar and liquid until clear so are there few things that allow as much room for experimentation, or reward it as generously. More from Russ Parsons in the LA Times
Confessions of a grill virgin, revisited: Success tastes so good. I've always known, theoretically, how to grill. You read enough books and eat enough grilled food, and a few details inevitably rub off. When I got a 45,000 BTU gas grill a couple of weeks ago, I finally could put myself to the test.More from Hsiao-Ching Chou in the Seattle Post Intelligencer
There's a new world order in competitive eating. For five of the last six years, when the smoke from the grill cleared at the landmark Nathan's wiener stand, the winner was ... a diminutive Japanese man. Led by two-time defending champion Takeru Kobayashi, a mere 5-foot-7 and 130 pounds with a 30-inch waist, Japanese eaters are dominating the holiday contest. More from the Associated Press
Three hours before the wedding, Linda Thomas has the jitters. No makeup, hair unbrushed and tucked up into a surgical cap, the only food that has passed her lips today is icing and cake batter..."Me, nervous?" she says, setting down two cooled chocolate cakes on a stainless steel table, ready for coating. Her glasses are smudged with batter, her black pants dusted with flour. "Every day for the last 16 years."More from Catherine Porter in the Toronto Star

"A good hot dog is just as good as a truffle." This is cookbook author Marion Cunningham talking. The quote, however, is from James Beard -- one of the most accessible of American chefs...Her latest book, "Lost Recipes," is due out in the fall (it presold 35,000 copies to the Book of the Month Club). Cunningham is a curator of the culinary past, but she's still incredibly dynamic. She's in tune with the Bay Area's culinary pulse; she gets a phone invitation, as we sit, to a swanky cheese party with French Laundry chef Thomas Keller. More from Nicholas Boer in the Contra Costa Times

U.S. policy is endangering a vast array of marine species because it treats 4.5 million square miles of oceans as a marketplace instead of a common resource in need of long-term stewardship... Ground fish and salmon are being overfished. In 2002, only 22 percent of 959 populations under federal management were being fished sustainably. In 1989, numbers of New England cod, haddock and yellowtail flounder hit all-time lows. Bocaccio rockfish, sold as Pacific red snapper, are at 10 percent of their historic numbers. More from Jane Kay in the SF Chronicle

So far, the salmon harvest from the Copper River has produced fewer fish in the fleet's holds than past years. This frustrates fishermen, of course, but the fish they do catch are fetching a higher price than last year, said Bill Gilbert, manager of NorQuest Seafoods in Cordova...To put the harvest in perspective, Gilbert said, the Copper River boats have been bringing in about 75,000 fish. One opener was as low as 50,000 fish. In years past, the number was more like 150,000 to 200,000 fish harvested. More from T. C. Mitchell in the Anchorage Daily News

So, what country do you think has the best restaurants in the world? England? England? But people have been making fun of English food at least since the 18th century, when Voltaire noted: "In England, there are 60 different religions but only one sauce." (More recently, and closer to home, John Kenneth Galbraith observed: "It takes some skill to spoil a breakfast; even the English can't do it.") More from David Shaw in the LA Times

Chef Gillian Clark has had it up to here. She's had it with customers who order her lovingly prepared food at Colorado Kitchen and then demand hot sauce or ketchup to dump all over it before they've taken a single bite. She's had it with diners who insist that she prepare something special for their kids, even though Clark, the mother of two, deliberately offers small portions of certain entrees for youngsters. More from Candy Sagon in The Washington Post

In the kitchen of her Amagansett summer home, Adelina sliced radishes -- chop-CHOP, chop-CHOP -- sounding like a team of horses cantering upon her cutting board. She buttered a slice of white bread, and pressed the sliced radishes into the butter to hold them fast. The other piece of soft bread was buttered as well, and placed atop the layer of radishes. (Editors note: think your kids don't like radishes? Try them this way, although we always sprinkle them with sea salt too, and you'll be lucky if there are any left for you!) And thus, I was introduced to the radish sandwich. Adelina, a favorite friend who grew up among the farms of Indiana, says that this was her favorite treat as a girl in the 1930s. More from Kara Newman in eGullet

Every modern ethnic restaurant seems to slap a plate of steamed soya beans in their pods in front of you when you sit down. I'm not complaining; these edamame are really tasty - if not very elegant to eat as you suck the beans out of the fibrous pod. But they're becoming as ubiquitous as the old prawn cracker...But some vegetables are immune to the fickleness of food fashion. Peas have always been with us; apparently they were cultivated as far back as the Bronze Age. They've been frozen for years - a kind of pea ice age, I suppose - but never been either uncool or cool. More from Mark Hix in The Independent UK

When a kitchen flue blaze forces the closing of your landmark restaurant for more than two months for repairs, what's a chef to do? In the case of Jim Stump, fight fire with fire...No more walk-in refrigerator stocked to the gills, no more human dishwasher to clean up after them, no more blazing-hot cooktop. Instead, they were cooking with meager counter space, a four-burner electric stove, a small sink with a bottle of Flintstones vitamins perched above it, and exactly one pair of tongs. More from Carolyn Jung in The San Jose Mercury News

'Being a celebrity is great, but you don't take it too seriously. Maybe in 10 years, it'll be the farmers or the fishermen who are famous.' Jacques Pepin At 67, Pepin doesn't have the same kind of "hip" buzz that the Naked Chef or Emeril garner, which by no means detracts from his appeal. The fans Ppin attracts recognize that he offers wisdom that whippersnappers can't provide, and cooking lessons grounded in tradition and solid technique. More from Hsiao-Ching Chou in The Seattle Post Intellingencer

The worst economic crisis for farming in two generations is the result of globalisation and industrial farming, which has reduced the status of farmers to mere commodity producers and has precipitated a succession of food scares and loss of trust by the public...Is organically produced food safer and healthier than non-organic? More from Fordyce Maxwell in The Scotsman

Wine lovers in South Carolina will soon be able to order from their favorite out-of-state producers and have the wines shipped right to their homes. Today, South Carolina became the second state this year, following Virginia, to allow interstate direct-to-consumer shipments of wine...South Carolina is now the 24th state to allow direct shipments either through a permit system or a reciprocal shipping law, in which consumers can receive wine only from producers in other states that also allow direct shipments. More from Dana Nigro in the Wine Spectator
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" Food in bar form is big business: In the year ending Jan. 2, Americans shelled out $1.25 billion for nutrition bars, power bars, snack bars and granola bars...That's an increase in sales of 13.2 percent over the previous year..."

More from Christine Oliva in the Cincinnati Inquirer...

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" In an average year...Frederic Magnien makes 45 to 55 wines, all from pinot noir grapes grown in different vineyards. For 2002, he made 74 separate cuvees...This seemingly frenetic activity and devotion to a grape illustrates the legendarily splintered and hierarchical nature of Burgundy's vineyards and Magnien's position as both vineyard owner and negociant..."

More from Fredric Koeppel in the Memphis Appeal...

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" Once again I have been up all night, clinging to the chandelier, worrying about the magnificent potentialities you might have that remain untapped...I also think you might be the one to conquer that great problem of the modern age, namely, of course, how to make bouillabaisse in the toaster..."

More from Dara Moskowitz in City Pages Twin Cities...

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" I was once invited to an Algerian friend's house where he had cooked a whole lamb on a spit for about 50 people in his north London back garden. He had hired the spit, and served the delicious meat with north African salads. That was a barbecue to remember..."

More from Mark Hix in the Independent UK...

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" So someone was lying. With a cookish oath, I left the bullied half-endive in place, crammed a couple more edgeways down the side of the chops...Next you pour in a glass of white wine, turn down the heat, and simmer for 15 minutes. Another crackle of paranoia went through me at this point. Fifteen minutes? De Pomiane braises endive for 40 minutes; Richard Olney for an hour "or more..."

More from Julian Barnes in the Guardian Unlimited...

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" Want to ship something sweet to a loved one overseas, perhaps a soldier or sailor or Marine who could use a reminder of life back home? Elinor Klivans, a frequent contributor to Food and author of "Fearless Baking" (Simon & Schuster, 2001), has some tips for baking and shipping..."

More from The Washington Post...

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"My chicken soup thickened with pounded young almonds. My blend of winter greens. Dearest tagliatelle with mushrooms, fennel, anchovies, Tomatoes and vermouth sauce. Beloved monkfish braised with onions, capers And green olives. Give me your tongue tasting of white beans and garlic, Sexy little assortment of formaggi and frutti! I want to drown with you in red wine like a pear, Then sleep in a macdoine of wild berries with cream. "

More from Charles Simic in Food & Wine...

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"Far Niente is just now unveiling Nickel & Nickel. The winemakers bought established vineyards at $100,000 an acre, paid Napa County some $300,000 in fees to build on the property and have invested $20 million in constructing the winery itself. They are producing just 8,000 cases of wine a year..."

More from Amanda Hesser in the NY Times (member=saute password=wednesday).

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"There's a war going on, and this one is not in the Middle East. It's in the Pacific Northwest. The focus of the fracas is salmon, wild vs. farm-raised. As in most wars, each side has its points. The wild camp: The Pacific wild salmon is an icon of the Northwest. It is important to the ecology, the economy, the recreation and the pride of the region. ."

More from Suzanne Martinson in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette...

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"People ask me all the time about growing up on Sap Bush Hollow Farm. I tell them about all the places we played in and all the different animals we learned about as kids, the delicious homegrown food I learned to grow and cook...They often say, "that must be wonderful, but I could never do it." By it I don't think they mean manure management..."

More from Global Chefs...

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"They've been selling flour in five-pound bags longer than I've been alive, and it suddenly occurred to me that, maybe, they (I'm someone who firmly believes there's a "they" directly responsible for everything) also sell containers designed to hold five pounds of flour..."

More from Matthew Amster-Burton in Egullet...

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"I loathe cigarette smoke, in the same way that classical concertgoers loathe the sound of coughing and real soccer fans loathe hooligans. Smoking is the enemy of food. It distorts or disguises flavors. It dulls the taste buds. It has no place in a restaurant."

More from William Grimes in the NY Times (member=saute password=wednesday).

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"I really wanted to like bird's nest soup. Because I wanted to say, honestly, that I enjoyed sucking down a pricey bowl of broth made from the nest of a little bird from Southeast Asia: A hundred bucks for a couple of bird's nests? It's made from the nest of a bird called a swift. Their homes are constructed almost entirely from mucus secreted from their salivary glands. And that's what you eventually end up eating..."

More from Nick McCabe-Lokos in the Toronto Star...

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"The spaghetti harvest here in Switzerland is not, of course, carried out on anything like the tremendous scale of the Italian industry," Dimbleby informed the audience. "Many of you, I'm sure," he continued, "will have seen pictures of the vast spaghetti plantations in the Po valley. For the Swiss, however, it tends to be more of a family affair..."

More from Museum of Hoaxes...
(via Egullet
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"Most people categorise themselves as either fast or slow eaters; there is no middle gear. To the slow camp, fast eaters are pigs. And philistines. Also, they don't know how to enjoy life, because they never savour the taste of anything for long enough to register it as pleasurable...they are in secret sympathy with Michael Douglas's character, Gordon Gekko, from the film Wall Street. Yes, they allow, lunch is for wimps."

More from Emma Brockes in the Guardian UK...

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"Maybe the war is making me hysterical, but I could only walk up and down these aisles with their millions of cookie cutters and boggle: Who is getting this much love? Who among us is being swaddled in such sugary attention? I know you like razor scooters, I made you a razor scooter cookie. So I put on my apron. Is there really this much love in the world?"

More from Dara Moskowitz in City Pages Twin Cities...

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"Aerate that puppy by letting it splash vigorously into a decanter, first taking the safety precaution of wearing eye protection and a maroon sweater. Then let it sit and pant for an hour. Despite what many restaurants think, wine can no more "breathe" through the neck of an uncorked bottle than you can suck a pork chop through a straw."

More from Jennifer Rosen in the Rocky Mountain News...

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"Julie Powell was in a rut. Teetering on the brink of 30, living in a tiny apartment in a distinctly unglamorous outer borough of Manhattan, working at a government secretarial job she invariably describes as "soul-sucking," she figured what her life needed was a good jump-start. So last August, Powell began cooking her way through Julia Child's monumental "Mastering the Art of French Cooking." All 536 recipes, from Sauce Bechamel to Veal Prince Orloff. All in one year."

More from Russ Parsons in the LA Times...

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"Feeding the Chicago Bulls..."I do a soup every day. Game day is either chicken noodle or chicken rice, something light. I use fresh ingredients. If I use any canned stuff, it might be some tomatoes or beans...I'll have [organic] berries on the buffet. Those are anti-inflammatories. That will help them in their recovery from when they're working out. All these foods are geared together."

More from Dave Hoekstra in the Chicago Sun Times...

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"This was not what I'd had in mind a few months before when we had pored over the Murray McMurray Egg Hatchery catalog, trying to choose a few egg-laying chickens for our first backyard flock. I saw myself as Marie Antoinette, gathering eggs for that morning's French toast at Le Hameau, her faux farm at Versailles. It never occurred to me that I'd end up needing to call Paulie Walnuts to have him take care of something for me."

More from B.J. Roche in the Boston Globe...

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"The U.S. Army Soldier Systems Center in Natick, Mass., oversees the food program for the troops, but this boil-in-the-bag food is not just for the military any more...Search the Internet for Meals-Ready-To-Eat and dozens of sites pop up, each promoting ample supplies and reasonable prices...the meals are drastically cheaper than supermarket frozen entrees: 69 cents for an entree, 39 cents for a side dish."

More from Linda Giuca in the Hartford Courant...

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"The American mall is rigid because you can find the Gap anywhere," Mr. Kang said. "Chinatown is for the old immigrant; 99 Ranch is for the new. You can pretty much tell if a girl is single by what she buys at 99 Ranch...For it is among the wide, gleaming aisles of 99 Ranch supermarkets with the mushroom and fungus buns, the marinated pigs' ears, the 100 percent natural white gourd juice and vast tanks of live fish that Ms. Huang and her friends feel most at home."

More from Patricia Leigh Brown in the NY Times (member=saute password=wednesday).

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But none of that impressed me nearly as much as the fact that he had read the same tiny aside I had in Tower's first book, ''New American Classics,'' about the merits -- and the decadence -- of drinking Chteau d'Yquem with a ''rich, aged, perfectly cooked roast beef...That meal not only cemented my friendship with Bobby; it also upheld my conviction that Tower is a genius."

More from Julia Reed in the NY Times (member=saute password=wednesday).

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For all its world domination as a wine producer and the multiplicity of wines it produces, France has a surprisingly strong and cohesive image. In fact, it is perfectly illustrated by an nth-generation peasant farmer making wine just like his grandfather did, sitting at the end of a dirt track waiting, vainly, for customers to roll up. He will not have tasted much wine other than his own...but he knows, as all Frenchmen do, that New World wine is an entirely technical confection palmed off on undiscriminating Anglo-Saxons, thanks to the dark arts of marketing...."

More from Jancis Robinson in the SF Chronicle (!)...

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Of all the half-baked bills to come through the Pennsylvania Legislature, these two are undoubtedly the flakiest. Seems that, once again, the separate chambers of the Legislature are at odds when it comes to designating an official state cookie..."

More from Bill Toland in the Beaver County Times...

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It's where the ritual of the range meets "Fear Factor" -- yet far more real than anything reality TV can concoct. And because there is no subtle way to introduce the entre on the menu next Monday night, let the event's name speak for itself: The 22nd annual Oakdale Testicle Festival. You might also have heard them called "calf fries," "mountain oysters" or "cowboy caviar..."

More from Jeff Jardine in the Modesto Bee...

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When I have a really great meal, I often ask if I can take a menu home -- both as a souvenir and for future reference. Most restaurants are happy to accommodate a customer who's so appreciative. A few, however, will try to give you an old menu -- not the menu you ordered from but a no-longer-used menu from the previous season. To me, that's like having a ticket stub from the second game of the World Series when you actually went to the third game..."

More from David Shaw in the LA Times...(member=saute password=wednesday).

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On the big screen, food makes more than a meal. It prompts conversation, drops dimes and often fuels drama. Consider the savory moments in this year's flock of Oscar-nominated films. An innocent box of caramels becomes a weapon for a wanna-be starlet in the movie "Chicago." In "Catch Me if You Can" a favorite sandwich turns into a tempting bribe. And the absence of food in "The Hours" is a suicidal telltale..."

More from Beverly Levitt in the Detroit Free Press...

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Just under a thousand Ding Dongs a minute. Close to a million Ding Dongs a day, depending on how long the production line is down for maintenance or for restocking ingredients. That's a lot of Ding Dongs..."

More from Joe Bonwich in the St. Louis Post Dispatch...

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So long sauce. Hello emulsion. Pure. Foam. "When we're thinking about the components for a new dish we talk about protein, vegetable, starch and sauce. But once we're ready to write the menu description, we assign the sauce its appropriate name." "We're able to use terms like 'jus' and 'reduction' with much more abandon..."

More from Leslee Komaiko in the LA Times...(member=saute password=wednesday).

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I have this visceral loathing for the swinging -- you can or can't eat this or that," says Gourmet magazine editor Ruth Reichl. "We're all looking for answers, and every couple of years they tell us something else. We don't know what we're doing with this stuff. I think we're all total nutritional idiots."

More from Kim Severson in the SF Chronicle...

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Say it ain't so - Paul Newman signs a deal with McDonalds? That just makes us a wee bit queasy..."All this is about buying the image of Paul Newman," Mr. Pollan said. "McDonald's is in the hole. It is trying to freshen and go upscale. It's redoing its flavor profile and making it more sophisticated and giving it an aura of health-consciousness and virtue, and this is a way to connect with virtue."

More from Marion Burros in the NY Times...(member=saute password=wednesday).

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""Fire it up," I tell him, for this is the Next Big Fish I have heard so much about, the one that swims in the broad wake of the most ubiquitous fish of recent years, the only fish mentioned by name in Jurassic Park: the Chilean sea bass, a.k.a. the smack of the sea, so mild and yet so fatty that diners have loved it nearly to death...."

More from John Hodgman in Mens Journal...

(via Egullet
)


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"Two years after he dismissed them as "incestuous" and refused to attend, Gordon Ramsay made a triumphant return last night to the awards ceremony for London's best restaurants. He won the top prize ahead of well-known chefs such as Jamie Oliver and Giorgio Locatelli...The night was less successful for Oliver, who had been tipped to win the best new restaurant prize for his venture, Fifteen..."

More from Cahall Milmo in the Guardian UK...

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"The showiest new look for Champagne is the cute and colorful "mini" bottle. This diminutive trend started at the lauded House of Pommery, which shook up the Champagne world last year with Pop, a sweeter and less fizzy version of the classic sparkler designed for the after-hours bar crowd...Pop is a pint-sized, cobalt blue bottle of Champagne (187 ml) that comes in six-packs in space-age wire carrying crates. Adding to the experience, the fizzy liquid is imbibed through a color-coordinated blue straw..."

More from Lora White in Wine X...

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"The French would never speak, as Americans do, of "sinfully rich" brownies or, for that matter, sell Seven Deadly Sins T-shirts and coffee mugs and open shops like the one in San Francisco called Divine Gluttony...A gourmand, says Catherine Soulier, is generous and gives pleasure to guests and she for one would far rather be a zestful gourmand than a picky priggish gourmet..."

More from Mary Blume in the IHT...

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"Who's cooking: Robert Janer, Middle School Student At 12 years old, is a seventh- grader at Roslyn Middle School in Roslyn. Motivation to cook: "I'm always hungry." Cooking Style: "I cook in a very diverse way." Likes to make Italian and Mexican dishes. "Sometimes, I make sushi."

More from Joan Reminick in Newsday...

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"Last Mother's Day, my kids got me a rifle. Can you believe it? I usually get love poems, crap like that. But, finally, I got something I could use! Soon after that, I woke up when the chickens were screeching, I grabbed my gun and I ran outside -- and, sure enough, there was an animal in the coop! I yelled at the chickens, "Get Down!" and I fired off a couple of rounds..."

More from Hank Pellissier in the SF Chronicle...

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"International Association of Culinary Professionals 2003 Cookbook Awards Finalists...First Book - The Julia Child Award - Nominees are: A Year of Russian Feasts by Catherine Cheremeteff Jones, The Craft of the Cocktail by Dale DeGroff, Zuni Cafe Cookbook, by Judy Rodgers..."

The complete list from The IACP...

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"My business card reads "professional foodie." Translation: I'm a cookbook author and recipe developer. Naturally, I own quite a few cookbooks. Okay, a lot. I counted them the other day and my total is 261. Have I read all of them? Yep. Do I cook out of all of them? Nope. I buy cookbooks to read the way others buy novels, whodunits and science fiction...."

More from Marilyn Smith in the Toronto Star...

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"The lunch rush was over and I was prepping for dinner when one of the dining staff rushed back into the kitchen and asked if I wanted to see a penguin. Within minutes I had a red down parka over my chef's whites and was standing outside in Antarctica, watching a penguin waddle by..."

More from Delma L Irvin in Global Chefs...

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"The fact that Bocuse is now 77 years old and some three decades removed from his last big flash of inspiration at the stovehe was one of the godfathers of nouvelle cuisineyet still holds three stars and is still the world's most famous chef is emblematic of Michelin's ability to catapult chefs to stardom and keep them there..."

More from Mike Steinberger in Slate...

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"I will deliberately go out of my way to buy French wine, and lots of other French stuff, just to piss off the Republicans," says Ted Loewenberg of San Francisco. Loewenberg and his family recently purchased a house in France, "and I'm mighty glad we did," he says. Call them the "Languedoc liberals" -- that's the form the Bay Area's "latte liberals" are taking at dinnertime these days, just to spite Dennis Hastert and his ilk..."

More from Carol Emert in the SF Chronicle...

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""I have used mine to urge a cake to let go of the sides of a pan, to scrape up pan drippings when making gravy and to turn onions in a roasting pan. When I am cooking, a fork becomes an extension of my own hand, a set of fine claws to deftly manipulate things I cannot touch..."

More from Amanda Hesser in the NY Times...
(member=saute, password=wednesday).

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""Contrary to common belief, stabbing the meat with a fork to produce punctures as entryways for the marinade is not only futile but counterproductive. Puncture wounds close up almost immediately because of the elasticity of the meat, but their latent tracks may expand and offer exit paths for juices during cooking. Slashing or scoring a thick piece of meat before marinating, however, can boost its flavor by exposing more surface area to the marinade..."

More from Robert Wolke in the Washington Post...

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""Special report from the Guardian Unlimited - What's wrong with our food? Swordfish is the latest to join the list of guilt-inducing foods. So just what can we eat these days? The World Health Organisation today launches a major assault on the food industry with a scientific report blaming sugar in soft drinks and television advertising aimed at children."

Lots more food topics from The Guardian UK...

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""After more than two decades in a commercial kitchen, my mother's hands are rough, scarred, embedded with kitchen grime. The undersides of her forearms are immodest and scream experience. Her wedding rings haven't fit on her finger in years. These hands, these arms put me through school and allowed me to run away to the big city. "Hands like hers," Masumoto says of his mother, "carry a sense of time. Stories carry that sense of time, too..."

More from Hsiao-Ching Chou in The Seattle Post Int...

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""Behind the story of a simple cup of tea is a tale of espionage and intrigue...The cup that cheers has a complex, often dark history. The story of tea is a tale of politics, economics and spirituality, of espionage, art and the drug trade. After water, it is the most widely consumed drink in the world, yet for centuries its secrets were closely guarded..."

More from Phillipa Hawker in The Age (Australia)...

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""Looking back, it seems obvious that the Bay Area salami makers were Slow Foodists of their day. At the heart of their argument, they insisted that true salami could not be achieved quickly, or by cooking the sausages like hot dogs, or in a short hanging period, or by spiking the meat with special flavorings. In letter after letter to bleary USDA officials, they outlined the echt way to make it, the way, more or less, Italians had made it since the 5th century BC..."

More from Emily Green in the LA Times...
(member=saute, password=wednesday).

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""What do Disneyland, the Golden Gate Bridge and E. & J. Gallo Winery in Modesto have in common? Stumped? The answer: All three sites are on a list of potential terrorist targets that the California attorney general's office recently released to law enforcement agencies..."

More from Lynn Alley in the Wine Spectator...

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""One chef told me, 'Sorry, no woman in the kitchen -- I don't have any changing room for you,' " Mikula said. "Women chefs," said Manrique, "have never been recognized as fine cooks, although their influence has always been there. But now things have to open up...There are just a few more things she'd like. "Maybe a (Michelin) one-star to start -- that would be nice," she said shyly. "It's ego. It's just for me."

More from Annie Nakao in the SF Chronicle...

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""Outside it was the kind of cold and stormy midwinter Chicago evening that stokes the appetite for hot soups and grilled cheese sandwiches. Yet students inside the brightly lit Whole Foods cooking classroom in Evanston were learning to put together a dinner without using a stove..."

More from Maura Webber in the Chicago Sun Times...

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""At the risk of sounding like an effete elitist, a selfish food snob or an unpatriotic wimp -- if not all three -- let me venture an opinion: All this talk about boycotting or restricting French wine and cheese as a way of punishing France for opposing a U.S. attack on Iraq seems a bit silly..."

More from David Shaw in the LA Times...
(member=saute, password=wednesday).

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"" A restaurant opening in France's Dordogne Valleyhas nothing in common with one in Paris or New York. Instead of a gaggle of reviewers and industry insiders, you're more likely to find a roomful of farmers, bakers, florists, and children. At the decidedly unglamorous debut of La Ferme de Berle, a farm-restaurant near Collonges-la-Rouge, one spring evening last year, my husband and I sat on plastic chairs sipping homemade vin de noix...."

More from Leslie Brenner in Travel and Leisure Magazine...

Leslie Brenner's new >>web site
<<.

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""If ever there was a season for hot chocolate, it has been this one. At its best, a cup of hot chocolate is the ultimate deep-winter pick-me-up, an almost mystical blend of bittersweet chocolate intensity and creaminess. And at its worst . . . well, it's still a cup of hot chocolate..."

More from Ed Levine in the NY Times...
(member=saute, password=wednesday).

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"" It would be nice if someone in Tom Ridge's office read about Diem Truong, the head baker, and the tale of the heart-tart project launched in her name...staffers at Frog Commissary Catering in Northern Liberties decided to revive an old favorite - the strawberry-heaped heart tart - to raise money for beleaguered Diem Truong, whose husband suffers from a grave brain tumor...Instead of the 1,000 tarts they anticipated selling, they sold 6,200 (at $15 a pair), clearing an extraordinary $40,000..."

More from Rick Nichols in the Philadelphia Inquirer...

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"" There's another reason to give meat time to rest. "Yelling time," Gillian Clark says bluntly. The chef of Washington's Colorado Kitchen and the mother of two says there's food science and mom science...So, for instance, if you want perfect roast chicken, you take it out of the oven when it's almost done -- say, 150 to 155 degrees on an instant-read thermometer. You let it sit, tented with foil, and yell for the kids to come to dinner..."

More from Candy Sagon in the Washington Post...

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"Lacy green cabbages as big as bowling balls. Red stalks of Swiss chard, gleaming in the afternoon sun. Welcome to Linden Community Garden, a bountiful bit of land that's transformed a neighborhood and become a linchpin of West Oakland's new "food security" plan. When I first heard those words, I thought it had to do with homeland defense..."

More from Annie Nakao in the SF Chronicle...

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Bernard Loiseau, French Restaurateur, 52, Dies - He was known as one of the great chefs of the Burgundy wine-growing region and ran the Htel de la Cte d'Or in Saulieu, which enjoyed a three-star Michelin rating."

More from New York Times...

In French - from Le Figaro

Remembered on Egullet

More from the SF Chronicle

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"" National Cattlemens Beef Association Rep: ĶI came home one night and my daughter was eating a garden burger. I offered her a steak, and she told me she was done with meat. Done with meat! ..."

More from Paul Ford in the Morning News...

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"" You can get fries with your burger at a restaurant here, but just don't ask for french fries. Neal Rowland, the owner of Cubbie's, now only sells his fried potato strips as "freedom fries" -- a decision that comes as Americans watch French officials back away from support for possible war in Iraq..."

More from Cnn Europe...

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""After more than 20 years of weeding his rice paddies by hand, Takao Furuno of Japan wondered if organic farming was worth the trouble. Then something changed his life. Ducks. The wild fowl, floating in his fields, inspired him to try an old Japanese technique of raising ducklings alongside the rice. The results surprised him..."

More from Laurent Belsie in the Christian Science Monitor...

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""From New York City to San Francisco, these steak houses serve up plenty of local flavor. Leave it to San Francisco to come up with a politically correct steak house. In addition to local organic produce and even organic tea, Acme's menu features a particularly progressive meat option: grass-fed steaks. (Most beef cattle are fed grain because it fattens them up faster; unfortunately, it also causes digestive problems, which is why grain-fed cattle are given antibiotics.)..."

More from Paul Lukas in CNNMoney...

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""The humble Irish potato could be under threat from foreign rivals, farmers warned today. Cheaper processed versions are being imported more - and more frequently -raising concerns about the future of home-grown variety. Farmers say imported potatoes - which are often washed, peeled and vacuum-packed - are being sold to caterers who believe they are buying Irish. They land on their plate washed, peeled and ready to eat..."

More from UTV...

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""One of the food world's most rigorous competitions is barely known to the dining public. After all, what does it matter to us whether the chef at our favorite restaurant has a few initials after his name? If the food's good, we're happy. But to chefs who strive for perfection, and those who want to test the limits of their skill, there is no higher title than that of certified master chef. Until Sunday, there were only 57 in the United States..."

More from Elizabeth Johnson in the Journal News
(via Egullet)...

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""When Anthony Bourdain, executive chef at New York's Brasserie Les Halles, was in culinary school, he kept plastic bags of Minor's Bases in his pocket in case any of his stocks needed a boost. Minor's Bases are a not-so-secret shortcut used by chefs and home cooks alike. They are 100-percent-natural meat paste concentrates, so they don't contain artificial flavorings, colors or preservatives."

More from The Cleveland Plain Dealer...

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""They're known as the foods that get you in the mood. But experts say dark chocolate, chili peppers and raw oysters have no more power to arouse than a heap of cooked broccoli. "There's no proof to it," said Cynthia Finley, a registered dietitian at the Johns Hopkins Weight Management Center. "There hasn't been any conclusive evidence that any of these foods work as aphrodisiacs."

More from CNN...

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""I've often wished I could plunge into pools of pinot or sing in a rain of Riesling. Too much wine might seem like a dream, but for the makers of California vintage 2002, it may prove to be a nightmare come true...Bad news for the wine companies; good news for you. To unload all that product, wineries are going to be slashing price tags, meaning that you could be drinking some special bottles at well below cost."

More from Andrea Immer in Esquire Magazine...

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""Americans Snub French Cheese Exporter, Who Shrugs...They are more than happy with his Camembert, but not with his government's policy on Iraq. "Pam and I have enjoyed ordering from you in the past," read one e-mail to fromages.com co-founder Marc Refabert. "(But) because of the current position your government is taking on not supporting the U.S. at this time regarding Iraq, we are not going to support France in any way. We are sorry."

More from Reuters...

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""How cakes came of age in America - A sheet cake, a cheesecake, an ice cream cake or a single-layer chocolate torte can make a birthday party. But the homemade double- or triple-layer cake, enrobed in mounds of fluffy frosting, is emblematic of the American birthday tradition..."

More from Beth Hensperger in the San Jose Mercury...

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""This year's Michelin Red Guide has dealt some blows to French pride -- at least in the country's fine-dining scene. Overall, the 2003 edition was downbeat in its ratings, demoting 43 restaurants across the country, while upgrading only 29. Playing it conservatively, the guide awarded its coveted three stars to only two restaurants -- both run by chefs who have already earned the top honors..."

More from Dana Nigro in the Wine Spectator...

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""Unlike a chef, I couldn't figure out what to add. More thyme? Some oregano? How about white pepper? I stood there staring at the spices, hoping they would walk forward and jump into the pan. I didn't seem to have any sense of what would taste good, and, what's more, I was afraid to take a chance..."

More from Marty Meitus in the Rocky Mountain News...

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""Milestones in sandwich history - 1827 -- The sandwich comes to America in a cookbook by Englishwoman Elizabeth Leslie, who gave a recipe for ham sandwiches as a main dish...1921 -- White Castle, America's first hamburger chain, opens its first store in Wichita, Kan..."

More from Sylvia Rector in the Detroit Free Press...

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""Ah yes, the legend. I first heard the legend of Kobe beef last June from a portly old Japanese man with a snowy beard and sparkling eyes...'You see, the farmers have a secret way of raising the cattle,' he said, lowering his voice conspiratorially. 'It is said that they feed the cows beer! And they massage them with sake!' He burst out laughing..."

More from Sanjiv Bhattacharya in the Observer...

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""Thirty five years ago Pio Tosini, who died earlier this year aged 95, lost an argument that has had a profound effect on menus all over the world...He argued then that this ham should be marketed and sold as prosciutto di Langhirano, the town 20 km east of Parma where its production has been pioneered and refined for the past century. But he was outvoted. As a result, prosciutto di Parma, Parma ham, was born."

More from Nicholas Lander in the Financial Times (London).

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""If super-sizing had come to TV dinners, the last bastion of Eisenhower-era ideals, I had to wonder what other innovations might be lurking in the freezer case. And who might be eating them, aside from desperate characters like Jack Nicholson in "About Schmidt," a new widower trapped in a painful movie?..."

More from Regina Schrambling in the LA Times (member=saute, password=wednesday).

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"Daniel Boulud - First thing he has in the morning: ''Muesli and coffee and fresh-squeezed orange juice.'' Favorite late-night snack: ''A Dannon yogurt, plain, with a little bit of sugar and maybe an apple.'' Favorite cooking show: ''Iron Chef.'' His last meal would be: ''The farm-raised chicken and vegetables I was born on and my father's homemade ham.''

More from Amy Barrett in the NY Times...(member=saute, password=wednesday).

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"Stars, where for a generation the popular played and the powerful lunched, is fading away...When Stars opened on a desolate alley in 1984... Mikhail Gorbachev and Danny Kaye. Joe DiMaggio and Rudolph Nureyev. Luciano Pavarotti and Lauren Hutton. Danielle Steel and Liza Minnelli. All came to eat Tower's version of the new California cuisine, marvel at his vibrant sauces and giggle over late-night hot dogs served with sauerkraut and Champagne."

More from Kim Severson in the SF Chronicle...

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"Boston magazine's January issue featured a story tailor-made for its brand of local-celebrity journalism -- the personal and professional travails of the city's most famous chef, Todd English. The article, by lifestyle editor Kim Atkinson, was generally flattering, a portrayal of a man with a ''magnetic, rock-star persona.'' But the staff member who knows English best had to recuse herself from the story..."

More from Mark Jurkowitz in the Boston Globe...

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"Thomas Keller of the French Laundry Restaurant and his "Big Pot Blanching" technique. "Blanching green vegetables in a big pot with a lot of water and a lot of salt until they are thoroughly cooked is critical to the finished product..."

More from Cia Pro Chef...
(real video - part 2 of the recipe video)

Check out the C.I.A. Pro Chef
site.

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"The dream of Albano Ballerini and Ellen Fishman to own a restaurant will come true on Friday. Aliseo will open in the storefront of the building they own and live in at 665 Vanderbilt Avenue in Prospect Heights, Brooklyn. The last four years of planning and construction may have been difficult, but simply by opening their doors, the 40-something couple have cheated long odds: many amateur food enthusiasts harbor restaurant fantasies but only a few act them out."

More from Matt Lee and Ted Lee in the NY Times (member=saute, password=wednesday).

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"It took three pounds of meat, 12 slices of cheese, two buns and four minutes. With a two-bite margin of victory, Adams House resident Ian D. Walker 03 stunned friends and restaurant workers Wednesday and captured victory in the first Burger Pot hamburger eating contest..."

More from Elizabeth Widdicombe in the Crimson...

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"For chefs, the next new thing... Believe it or not, it's a cookbook. And it's causing a sensation from Los Angeles to New York. One of the most talked-about books in the food world calls for ingredients you can't find, equipment you don't have and techniques you'll never master. It's written in Spanish, weighs more than seven pounds and costs $125, plus shipping. (Or $175 if you buy it in this country -- but there is only one store that carries it right now and it's sold out.)..."

More from Russ Parsons in the LA Times (member=saute, password=wednesday).

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"The plump American tourist warily put the sliver of pinkish lard in her mouth, made little smacking sounds, smiled and said it was really delicious. "But do you have a lean version?" she asked. "Lean? But it's lard. It only comes fat," answered Renata Ricci, proprietor of Larderia il Poggio high in this Tuscan mountain hamlet..."

More from Daniel Williams in the Washington Post...

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"We've Got to Stop Eating Like This...If food companies are to grow, so must we, it seems. What would transform our diet on a national scale? And how is the food at the Calhoun School in Manhattan this year, now that Chef Bobo is in charge? "It's awesome," says a student diner. "The hot dogs don't bounce."

More from Timothy Smith in Fortune...
Then play the "Fat Game" (we got all the answers wrong, which is actually good, isn't it?) * Fat Game *

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"Teenagers are cutting the meat from their diets, and that trend alarms the nation's beef producers, who recently targeted an education campaign at teen girls, as well as some nutritionists. "I just didn't think that eating meat could be that healthy for you," said Jennifer Mora, a senior at Cedar Falls High School who quit eating meat and fish when she was 13."

More from Philip Brasher in the Des Moines Register...

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"Her kitchen is dense with Stewart touches: forty-eight gleaming copper pots hang above the stove, hundreds of antique dishes fill the glass-fronted cabinets, and the dishwashing liquid is decanted into a glass cruet beside the sink. Still, I said, it's a pretty small room to produce much food. Not to worry, she replied, smiling. "I have eighteen burners in an annex in back."

More from Jeffrey Toobin in the New Yorker...

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"On an autumn evening some 20 years ago at Chez Panisse, Alice Waters's renowned restaurant in Berkeley, Calif., I inadvertently became a cookbook publisher, thanks to Alice's miraculous bouillabaisse, a silken fugue of textures and tastes whose complex harmonics I could not have begun to parse. In those days we seldom published cookbooks at Random House, where I was editorial director, but I wanted to know how Alice made her bouillabaisse and hesitated to ask her directly..."

More from Jason Epstein in the NY Times......(member=saute, password=wednesday)

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"This is simple food, and the recipes are beautifully written. "Slit your chickens down the back, season them with pepper and salt, and lay them on the gridiron, over a clear fire. Let the inside continue next the fire till it be nearly half done. Then turn them, taking care that the fleshy sides do not burn, and let them broil til they are of a fine brown."

More from Jeremiah Tower in the SF Examiner...

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"The convergence of food and architecture may be prescient: food permeates culture in San Francisco as it does in perhaps no other place. This is a city where college-educated farmers write books and subscribe to the symphony, while cultural figures like Michael Tilson Thomas, the music director of the San Francisco Symphony, the filmmaker Philip Kaufman and the poet Lawrence Ferlinghetti breakfast at the Cafe Bastille on Saturday mornings before shopping at the nearby farmers' market."

More from Patricia Leigh Brown in the NY Times...(member=saute, password=wednesday)

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"My first clue that I was stumbling into deep water came when I typed "espresso" in the search engine and hit return. More than 1.1 million sites. Refining it to "espresso machine" narrowed it to 100,000. And "home espresso machine" resulted in 68,000. Obviously, this is a topic that many people on the Internet feel very strongly about."

More from Russ Parsons in the LA Times via AZ Central...

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"Does the water lose its chlorine when it's standing overnight? If you use it to make coffee will it smell and taste all right? If you put it in your fishbowl will the fish remain upright? Or will they just roll over from the chlorine . . . or from fright?"

More from Robert Wolke in the Washington Post...

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"Until the 1980s, the culinary intelligentsia of the United States only considered roux within the context of thickening sauces. Indeed, in his seminal work American Cookery, James Beard only considered brown roux in terms of Brown Sauce...In reality, the roux dial was turned up to 11 in the 18th century by the Acadian exiles in Louisiana who transformed roux from a thickening agent into a source of incomparable complex flavor..."

More from Dick Chase in Honest Cuisine...

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"La guerre du hamburger fait rage a New York" From the front page of Le Figaro - more on the battle to make NYC's most expensive burger...(Adobe Acrobat required, as is your nominal French vocabulary...scroll down to bottom of page...)"

More from Guy Baret in Le Figaro...

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"The lights sputter and die. Over gas flames, four chefs keep working through a typical Delhi blackout as the pungent spices become eye-watering. After 12 years, Scottish-based culinary entrepreneur Tommy Miah's annual hunt for the world's best Indian chef has finally come to India itself..."

More from Terry Friel in Reuters UK...

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"Fry and drive - When staff at a Welsh supermarket first noticed dramatic increases in the sale of cooking oil, they thought the locals were doing a lot of frying. They weren't. They were filling up their cars with it - not surprising, as it's only 42p a litre. Trouble is, if you don't pay duty, it's illegal..."

More from Jim White in the Guardian Unlimited...

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"Delia Smith, the TV cook who has delighted generations of fans with her no-nonsense approach to cooking, has hung up her apron. After almost 30 years of teaching us how to cook, Smith is retiring from food to concentrate on Norwich City, the football club she owns..."

More from Claire Cozens in the Guardian Unlimited...

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"Shark-fin soup was just a regional delicacy in Canton, south China, until the late 1980s. The Beijing government had derided shark-fin soup as a symbol of elitism, but it ended this stance in 1987. Increased East Asian affluence quickly made shark-fin soup popular at wedding banquets, birthdays, feasts...The demand has escalated astronomically in the last 15 years, and now it's a standard dish..."

More from Hank Pellissier in the SF Chronicle...

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"He's called "the Michelangelo of meat,"...Dario may be the world's only global celebrity butcher. He helped Alice Waters celebrate the 30th anniversary of Chez Panisse. He delivered his handmade sausages to the Four Seasons in New York. He periodically butchers cow carcasses on live Italian television -- turning up on one such show not long ago, saying, "I am your butcher; you shall have no other butcher besides me."

More from David Shaw in the LA Times...(member=saute, password=wednesday)

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"If a gourmet and a gourmand were invited to a buffet, would the gourmet get anything to eat? A group in France called the Association for the Gourmand Issue, composed of chefs, writers and celebrity food-lovers, want to rescue the French nouns le gourmand and la gourmandise from their original disparaging meanings..."

More from Warren Clements in the Globe and Mail...

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"ROBERT PARKER JR., one of the world's most powerful wine critics, regularly changes a wine's fate with his score. From Monkton, Md., where he publishes "The Wine Advocate," Parker has become the connoisseur's connoisseur, rating high-end, collectible wine in limited supply, on his now famous 100-point scale. We wanted to know how this world traveler rates California Wine Country..."

More from Peg Melnik in the Santa Rosa Press Democrat...

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"Deborah Kwan knows the best part about being married to a chef. It's when her husband, Erik Cosselmon of Half Moon Bay's Cetrella, can take her to New York's four-star Daniel restaurant...Cameron Hirigoyen knows the worst part about being married to a chef. It happens almost nightly when their 5-year-old son, Bix, looks at her with big, sad eyes and asks, "When is Daddy coming home?'' ..."

More from Carolyn Jung in the San Jose Mercury...

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"The last thing I ever thought I would become in my later years was a missionary, but missionary I am...I embarked on my latest endeavor - preserving America's recipes. A recipe is much more than merely instructions on how to cook a dish. Recipes are road maps to culture. They show us where we came from, providing essential windows into how our parents cooked and how we evolved as a society..."

More from Marion Cunningham in the SF Chronicle...

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"It's about food and cooking and ideas and issues and debates and preferences and fighting to raise awareness about all things culinary -- and often disagreeing passionately and cogently about them...Founded by Jason Perlow, a computer expert with a love of food, and food writer Steven Shaw (known on the site as Fat Guy), eGullet.com is a world of food, adventure and opinion, opinion, opinion..."

More from Jeanne McManus in the Washington Post...

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"Many argue that France is the gastronomic center of the universe -- either from its long history of royal excesses at the dinner table or from its legendary chefs. But I would make the same claim and argue it based on my observations of the French housewife..."

More from Marcia Mitchell in the Washington Post...

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"For millions of Americans, preparing a mixed green salad is as easy as opening a sealed plastic bag. But here in the land of lettuce, complexity is a given, and time is the enemy. There is a reason bagged lettuce costs more than twice as much as a head of iceberg. It is not easy getting those perfectly formed leaves, washed and still fresh, from the soil to the table. The process requires speed, technology, secrecy about that technology and plain-old farmers' ingenuity..."

More from Amanda Hesser in the NY Times...

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"Right about now, as the relentless snowfalls continue and I anticipate yet another white-knuckle commute, my mind wanders to swaying palm trees, feet-scorching sand, and fresh conch drizzled with lime. Yes, conch. I've come to associate the mollusk with the beautiful, pink-lipped, spiral shell with time in the tropics - just as I do jerk chicken, mango salsa, and Key lime pie..."

More from Jennifer Wolcott in the Christian Science Monitor...

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"San Francisco's lack of takeout delivery wouldn't have been completely out of place among the arguments I have used to bolster my case for living back East...one of the first items that caught my eye on the bulletin board in Abigail's kitchen was a Times clipping I had sent her and Brian...The subhead of the piece read "Dot-Commers Who Once Flocked to San Francisco Are Turning Elsewhere." I had pasted on an additional subhead of my own composition: "Many Lawyers, Complaining of Inferior Bagels, Are Also Leaving..."

More from Calvin Trillin in the New Yorker

-via The Morning News
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"Summer [in New Zealand] is the season for outdoor eating and it doesn't get any more summery or simple than the beach camp barbecue. We prefer to use shark for the nibbles," he says. "We did a test on some friends of ours and now they're converted as well. It's better than using the snapper..."

More from Sue Carrington in Stuff.com (New Zealand)...

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"FRENCH scientists have identified the genetic code of the truffle, enabling anti-fraud investigators to distinguish between true examples of the prized fungus and an inferior Chinese variety flooding the market. The breakthrough is a major advance in the campaign to protect Tuber Melanosporum - the classic black Perigord truffle beloved of gourmets round the world - from its physically almost indistinguishable rival Tuber Indicum, which has been imported to France from China in growing quantities since 1994.

More from News.com Australia...

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"Russ & Daughters is not a mere seller of ''appetizers,'' as Joel Russ's sign has proclaimed ever since he founded his business in 1914. It is New York's most hallowed shrine to the miracle of caviar, smoked salmon, ethereal herring and silken chopped liver. It is the mother church of those latter-day temples -- Zabar's, Barney Greengrass and Murray's Sturgeon Shop.

More from Jason Epstein in the NY Times Magazine...

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"Finally, dinner at a wonderful restaurant here, Olivieros, lasted well into a rainy evening, and we made friends with the staff. We mentioned gelato, and they all said Oh yes, everyone goes to Vivoli. Everyone goes? I heard something unspoken hidden beneath those words. So, if everyone goes there, is there somewhere better they dont know about? Exchanged glances, secretive smiles, and the truth came out. Oh yes, there is better. Theres the place the Florentines go. The REAL best gelato in the city.

More from Burke and Wells in Florence...

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"Twenty things you must eat before you die...By Nigella Lawson, kitchen goddess, "Deep-fried shredded pig's ear. As with all great food experiences, the essence of this is contrast. The ear, once sliced finely, is blanched, and when cold and dried, seared in a deep panful of hot fat..."

More from Charlotte Packer in the Guardian UK...

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"Ive been on the road. Traveling all over Italy...I tasted fantastic Sicilian almonds from Noto, not as big and attractive as California almonds but packed with flavor...I flew to Torino and was joined by my friend Bruce Aidells, who was doing some research for an upcoming book on pork. We spent a few days wandering the aisles of the Salone del Gusto, Slow Foods biennial extravaganza..."

More from Faith Willinger

-via Eat Drink & Be Married
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"At a time when many winemakers have become cult figures, proud of the personal stamp they put on their individual wines, John Williams likes to think of himself as a Zen winemaker. "I consider it the winemaker's job to stay out of the way, not to have influence on the wine," Williams says. "My style is to remove the winemaker's hand rather than have a heavy personal signature."

More from David Shaw in the LA Times...

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"Speaking of Mollie Katzen, her own list also reaches back to some classic vegetarian writers. She starts with Nava Atlas' Vegetariana (Amberwood Press, 1999)..."I feel like there's passion in every recipe and when I'm looking at the book I can feel she personally and lovingly created every recipe with her own hands," Katzen said in a telephone interview. "It's just a happy, friendly, upbeat, creative book."

More from The Cleveland Plain Dealer...

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"Briny Pacific oysters that still taste of the sea. A fay Alberta peach from the Dry Creek Valley so warm and sweet it trickles liquid sunshine down your chin. A Brandywine tomato, splashed with McEvoy olive oil, that has never felt the refrigerator's chill."

More from Diane Peterson in the Santa Rosa P.Democrat...

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"For much of the twentieth century, coffee was America's drink. A 1939 survey found that ninety-eight per cent of the country's households drank coffee. After the Second World War, consumption rose steadily until the early sixties, when the average American was downing almost fifty gallons a year. Then coffee went cold..."

More from James Surowiecki in The New Yorker...

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" Martha Stewart's new magazine, Everyday Food, is scheduled to be in stores and on newsstands Monday, her company said yesterday. The publication, which is a size similar to Reader's Digest, will target harried homemakers with easy and fast recipes for meals, using ingredients readily available in supermarkets. Its small size is designed for the highly visible magazine racks at grocers' checkout stations."

More from James T. Madore in Newsday...

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" Using so-called "smart research,"... Bloom had figured out that fast-food franchises were sustained largely by a core group of "heavy users," mostly young, single males, who ate at such restaurants as often as 20 times a month. In fact, 30 percent of Taco Bell's customers accounted for 70 percent of its sales...these guys ate at fast-food joints because they had absolutely no interest in cooking for themselves and didn't give a rip about the nutritional quality of the food. They didn't even care much about the taste. All that mattered was that it was fast and cheap..."

More from Shannon Brownlee in the Washington Post...

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" We ate plates of pink, plump, sweet river shrimp, which were about a quarter inch in diameter and cooked in ample oil, which we balanced with local black vinegar. We savored a delicate, clean-flavored river fish in a copious and luscious sauce studded with tree ears (a dried fungus) in a nutty, sherry-like sauce made from resonant rice wine..."

More from Patricia Unterman in the SF Examiner...

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"Jacko Juice features you guessed it, the king of pop with his children clad in Afghanistan style burkas, his chimpanzee pleading for help and a caution: "May Turn Skin White" on the label..."

More from Arizona Central...

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"Slow fooders, beware. Two time-saving cookbooks have arrived, trailing cans behind them. With their arsenal of nonperishable goods, and tales of burgeoning pantries, these books offer up a new look at winter cooking..."

More from T. Susan Chang in the Boston Globe...

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"There's been no shortage of keepers -- we ran more than 500 tried-and-tested recipes in 2002 -- but these standouts are the ones we'll be making again and again. We don't keep too many lists here in the Food section, but there's one that takes shape as the new year approaches, a natural expression of all the work that goes on in our Test Kitchen. It's our annual Best Dishes List. "

More from The Los Angeles Times...

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"In 1930, when the first cookbook was published, homemakers could buy Jell-O, Kool-Aid, Velveeta, 7UP and Birdseye frozen vegetables to store in their electric refrigerators. In 1933, innkeeper Ruth Wakefield accidentally developed her Toll House cookie recipe, perfect to dunk into the newly developed Vitamin D-fortified milk..."

More from Kristen Browning-Blas in the Denver Post...

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"I'm surrounded by pimps and pushers, by dealers bent on filling my veins with their drug. And I'm trying so hard to just say no. But you don't understand. I want the bean. I need the bean. Dark roast. Light roast. Pressed, dripped or percolated. I don't care what form it comes in. I must have THE BEAN..."

More from Winda Benedetti in the Seattle Post Int...

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"We begin our day with chef Daniel Bolud at 6 a.m. with the baking of delicious cakes and breads like olive rosemary bread or chocolate cherry bread. Then there's shopping to be done, fish and shellfish and fresh vegetables and meats from local markets and vendors We see where he buys his tasty flounders and learn to make a tuna bagnat or delicate piballes (baby eels) that melt in your mouth."

More from The Gayot Food Paper...

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"Because we're talking about individual pieces of meat rather than whole roasts, you can create a satisfying meal for yourself, you and a friend, or a whole family in under an hour from refrigerator to table. Oh, and you're only left with one pan to clean up after dinner. That's Honest Cuisine."

More from Dick Chase's Honest Cuisine...

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"Dear Santa...I want only one thing for Christmas this year: I want all the world's chefs and food writers to stop throwing words around loosely in disregard, or often in ignorance, of their proper meanings. Here are the top three on my list..."

More from Robert Wolke in the Washington Post...

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"A waiter is fired from a restaurant, a non-event most anywhere in America. But this is New Orleans and the restaurant is Galatoire's. A popular waiter's departure from the temple of French-Creole cooking has the well-heeled regulars up in arms and ..."

More from Brett Anderson in the Times Picayune...

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"When caterer Debra Lykkemark told her employees about "turkey dinner in a glass," her sanity was questioned. In a 10-ounce, jumbo martini glass, she layered mashed potatoes, stuffing, sliced turkey, gravy and topped off with a dollop of cranberry sauce. "My staff thought I was nuts," says Lykkemark."

More from Walter Nicholls int the Knoxville News...

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"Question is, what next? Only a few people actually eat them. A survey revealed that Americans think the most appropriate things to do with fruitcakes are give them to someone else or use them as doorstops, bird food and landfill."

More from Laura Faye Taxel in the Cleveland Plain Dealer...

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"After watching me knock back around four beers, huff down a few smokes -- and generally stuff my face with appetizers -- pausing occasionally to babble witlessly at the cameras floating around like drunken hummingbirds, he looked me straight in the eye and asked, "Mister? What's your job?"

More from Anthony Bourdain on eGullet...

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"Then we lost it. Lost! Two weeks passed as we went from restuarant to restaurant, sampling Tuscan cuisine high and low, realizing that meal our third day had been one of the best, and the most reasonable. But which street was it on? It was so close to the center of town, surely it would be easy to find, but no. We gave up. Then, two days ago, on my own, disoriented, I stumbled on its stoop once more..."

More from Burke & Wells in Florence...

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"At the risk of protesting too much, let me first begin by saying that I am not a corkist, that is to say, someone who is irrationally prejudiced against the cylindrically shaped bark stoppers. I am, however, as a winemaker, chagrined by the utter unreliability of natural corks."

More from Randall Grahm in the Wine Enthusiast...

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"Christmas dinner in South Africa - One of the things many people are daunted by is preparing a Christmas roast or main meat meal whether it be Roast Beef and Yorkshire pudding, ox tongue, ham, gammon, chicken, duck or stuffed roast turkey."

More from Henrie Geyser at IAfrica...

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"BEST MEALS IN EUROPE - Romano--Viareggio, Italy-Grilled langoustines with green beans in a light tomato pure, fried zucchini flowers stuffed with shrimp, sauted squid stuffed with shellfish, spaghetti with scampi, black bass with eggplant, carrots, and fennel, fruit sorbets, faggotino of puff pastry with stewed apples and custard."

More from John Mariani's Best of 2002...

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"JAMES PETERSON'S Glorious French Food: A Fresh Approach to the Classics has so many obvious parallels to Julia Child's Mastering the Art of French Cooking that it demands to be viewed as the challenger."

More from Suzanne Fass on eGullet...

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"I had another abrasive little encounter with a customer yesterday. A woman asked for tomatoes on her tuna sandwich. I said we don't have tomatoes when they're not in season. "That's unique," she said; they were in the supermarket yesterday. I said, "But they're pink and hard, and I won't serve them. We'll have tomatoes next July."

More from Mark Furstenberg in Slate...

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"Most cattle eat grass and corn. At the Herr's Angus Farm in Chester County, the bovine buffet also includes salty, oil-fried snacks from the nearby Herr's potato-chip plant. On their party pack of leftover chips, nachos, pretzels, popcorn and cheese curls, the Black Angus steers gain more than three pounds each day - nearly 100 pounds per month."

More from Tom Infield in the Philadelphia Inquirer...

-via Simmer Stock
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"In Ruhlman's portrait of him, Ripert can't even light a candle without intoning something like ''Flame breaks through the darkness, helps to connect you with the spirits..."

More from Dwight Garner in The NY Times...

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"Northern California's been the center of the domestic caviar universe for more than two decades. Envisioning a new gold rush in tiny black-gray-blond sturgeon eggs, dreamers like Mats and Dafne Engstrom have invested fortunes farming native white sturgeon in tank farms clustered near Sacramento and in the foothills east of Modesto and Merced."

More from Carol Ness in the San Francisco Chronicle...

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"The tale of this tamale began in 1923 when Aurelio Zuniga, his wife, Maria, and their eight children left Chihuahua, Mexico, for California, after getting fed up when their cattle kept getting stolen by bandits."

More from Carolyn Jung in the SJ Mercury...

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"Sometimes one must make sacrifices in the selfless pursuit of truth. So let's hear it for those stoical men and women who daily brave over-garnished langoustine, unremarkable sevruga caviar... to clash dismally with the Chateau Lafite-Rothschild 1961."

More from The Observer Food Monthly...

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"Given what I do for a living, I'm constantly besieged to name three or 10 or every last one of my favorite restaurants. A new restaurant, whether it's a high-profile bote two years in the making or a little dive with terrific Oaxacan food, brings out the thrill of the chase."

More from Irene Virbila at the LA Times...

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"Olive Garden has built a 500-outlet empire from such gastronomic disasters. From batter-coated, deep-fried ravioli to an ice-cream concoction named "Strawberry Siciliano," the menu is appalling."

More from Jill Lightner in the Seattle Weekly...

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"The seven-course beef dinner known as bo bay mon is the holy grail of Vietnamese cuisine. Begin by swishing beef strips in a boiling vinegar fondue, and finish up slurping beef congee. In between, all courses must contain beef."

More from Robert Sietsema in the Village Voice...
(via Gawker
)

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"My husband is a snob a snob," said one customer, as she paid for a bag of frozen cepes, a kind of mushroom. "I have to lie about Picard. I throw away the packaging as soon as I come home and I tell him I went to Hdiard. The only men who don't turn up their noses at Picard are the ones who do the cooking."

More from Elaine Sciolinoe in the NY Times...

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"So quickly I placed the tip of my knife between its eyes and, again following Julias suggestion for humane means of lobster murder, muttering Im sorry Im sorry Im sorry, I plunged it all at once down. Oh god. Oh god."

More from Julie Powell in the Julie/Julia Project..

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"A Batali family Christmas...And then, of course, there's son Mario, who's just a chef, though he's also a TV celebrity, owner of three of the most successful restaurants in New York, and married to Susi Kahn, one of the heirs to the Coach leather fortune."

More from Roger Downey in the Seattle Weekly..

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"Using a fork and a knife, 49-year-old restaurateur Pino Luongo sliced his fried eggs and shaved Croatian truffles as if he was cutting a sirloin. The ochre yolks bled onto the fragrant fungi. "This is not the best way to eat truffles," he said in his brusque, Tuscan-accented voice. "Its the only way."

More from Frank DiGiacomo in the New York Observer...

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"Wolfgang Puck is working the room. At his namesake restaurant in the Denver Pavilions, he is signing cookbooks and chatting with patrons. Earlier in the day, he tells me he fears retirement. Clearly. "Maybe I just sit at home in bed and watch TV," he jokes. Then, on a more serious note, he says in his trademark Austrian accent, "I hope never to retire."

More from Marty Meitus in the Rocky Mountain News...

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