Rants & Ramblings

random commentary about culture, media, politics, technology and whatnot.

food

may
08
2012

Waves of Grain | Slate

Nadia Arumugam writes, “How did Japan come to be a wheat-obsessed nation that needs gimmicks like the Gopan to eat rice disguised as wheat flour? The story of Japan’s conversion from rice to wheat involves a long, relentless campaign by the best propagandists in the business—the U.S. government, of course.”

The California Taco Trail: 'How Mexican Food Conquered America' | The Salt | NPR

Once upon a time, tacos were a Mexican snack. Now they’re an all-American institution. Gustavo Arellano leads us across Southern California in search of the roots of the American taco.”

apr
15
2012

Dinner Improvisation

For dinner last night, Rob and I challenged ourselves to use up (most of) the leftover veggies in the fridge. The result: buckwheat soba noodles cooked in chicken broth with kale, red bell pepper, mushrooms and green onions. I didn’t …

apr
10
2012

Why Are Chocolate Easter Bunnies Hollow? | Food & Think | Smithsonian

Amanda Bensen tracks down the history of the hollow chocolate Easter bunny, while musing, “Isn’t it cruel to disappoint kids, who bite into what looks like solid chocolate and are confronted with emptiness?”

apr
09
2012

Photo of the Day: Pie

Rob and I did a 23-mile bike ride yesterday on the Western Maryland Rail Trail. We earned our post-ride slices of pie. (Him: blueberry. Me: coconut cream.)

mar
19
2012

I Was a Cookbook Ghostwriter | NYTimes.com

By Julia Moskin. “Tales from the ink-stained (and grease-covered) wretches who actually produce most of the words attributed to chefs in cookbooks.”

MREs get a new kick with caffeinated jerky and Zapplesauce | The Washington Post

Christian Davenport writes, “After a decade of war, military food scientists have been hard at work at a little-known research facility outside Boston transforming the field ration — known as the Meal, Ready to Eat, and perhaps the most complained about food in the world — into something not just good-tasting but full of energy-enhancing ingredients.”

mar
08
2012

Soup Dumplings in Philly

A few weeks ago, Rob and I drove up to Philadelphia (about 2½ hours away) to celebrate our friend Rachel’s birthday. She wanted to have lunch at Dim Sum Garden, a vaguely divey dumpling eatery under a bridge near Reading …

feb
23
2012

How Waiters Read Your Table | WSJ.com

Sarah Nassauer writes, “Called ‘having eyes’ for a table, or ‘feeling’ or ‘reading’ the table by restaurant workers, it’s how the best waiters know what type of service you prefer before you tell them. From fine dining to inexpensive chains, restaurants are working to make service more individualized as the standard script (‘I’m so-and-so and I will be your server tonight’) is sounding dated.”

jan
04
2012

Washington’s 40 most essential eats | Going Out Gurus | The Washington Post

In this week’s Weekend section, we fully devoted ourselves to the one resolution we want to stick to: to eat every last glorious thing this city has to offer. To that end, we spent months eliciting reader help in pointing us to Washington’s most necessary eats, the dishes no local should go without consuming at least once (and sometimes, at least once a week).”

nov
23
2011

Chompsgiving to Chew Year's: Holiday Dishes | NPR

What would the holidays be without our favorite foods? For this year’s festivities — from Thanksgiving to New Year’s — NPR will feature some unique holiday dishes, recipes that are significant to our reporters’ and listeners’ families and regions.”

nov
18
2011

A Conspiracy of Hogs: The McRib as Arbitrage | The Awl

Willy Staley posits that McDonalds reintroduces the McRib sandwich when pork prices fall below a certain threshold. (Via Felix Salmon)

nov
10
2011

Yelping With Cormac

Yelp reviews as one person imagines Cormac McCarthy might write them. (Via Paulo Lopez)

oct
31
2011

Photos of the Day: Cold-Weather Soup

The weather’s taken a sudden turn for the colder (seriously, snow in October?!), which makes soup an especially appealing (and warming) meal option. Our two forays into soup this weekend: Mushroom lentil (from a box): Ochazuke (salmon, seaweed and rice, …

oct
18
2011

Brits And Americans Don't Speak The Same Language In The Kitchen | The Salt | NPR

NPR’s Alison Richards on translating British recipes for American audiences.

oct
16
2011

Photo of the Day: Leftovers for Lunch

Butternut squash with onion, arugula, pasta and feta — loosely based on a Martha Stewart recipe (except I substituted arugula for beet greens and left out the sherry).

sep
05
2011

How to Measure a Storm's Fury One Breakfast at a Time | WSJ.com

When a hurricane makes landfall, the head of the Federal Emergency Management Agency relies on a couple of metrics to assess its destructive power. First, there is the well-known Saffir-Simpson Wind Scale. Then there is what he calls the ‘Waffle House Index.’ Green means the restaurant is serving a full menu, a signal that damage in an area is limited and the lights are on. Yellow means a limited menu, indicating power from a generator, at best, and low food supplies. Red means the restaurant is closed, a sign of severe damage in the area or unsafe conditions.”

Photo of the Day: Dim Sum

Bring on the eggplant! Oriental East, Silver Spring, Md.

aug
24
2011

Overdone | Slate Magazine

Farhad Manjoo asks, “Why are restaurant websites so horrifically bad?”

may
15
2011

Why Wood Pulp Makes Ice Cream Creamier | WSJ.com

Sarah Nassauer writes, “Cellulose, one of an array of factory-made additives, is increasingly used by the processed-food industry to thicken or stabilize foods, replace fat and boost fiber content, and cut the need for ingredients like oil or flour.”

may
11
2011

Out of the Kitchen, Onto the Couch | NYTimes.com

Michael Pollan on how American cooking became a spectator sport, and what we lost along the way.

apr
10
2011

Food Dye Origins: When Margarine Was Pink | Smithsonian.com

The controversy over how colorants could be used in foods came to a head in 1886 when margarine became a subject of national debate.” (Via April Fulton)

apr
04
2011

Colorless Food? We Blanch | NYTimes.com

Gardiner Harris writes, “Without the artificial coloring FD&C Yellow No. 6, Cheetos Crunchy Cheese Flavored Snacks would look like the shriveled larvae of a large insect. Not surprisingly, in taste tests, people derived little pleasure from eating them.”