February 2008

In the News: China Deflecting Contamination Blame; Vet Shortage Affecting Food Safety

Conflict over source of Chinese dumpling contamination: Chinese officials cleared the blame from the dumpling maker who supplied the pesticide-laced dumplings to Japan, and say that contamination was "very unlikely to have happened in China." Japanese officials insist they were not poisoned in Japan. [AFP] Lack of vets treating farm animals affects food safety system: A shortage of vets working for the Department of Agriculture could affect the U.S. government's food inspection services. [USA Today]... More

Fresh Food on TV: Weekend Edition

With all the channels on broadcast TV and cable—and the inevitable episode repeats—it's hard to sort out what's new or worthwhile. Let us sort it out for you so you don't miss anything worth watching. Times may vary with region; check your local listings for exact hour and channels. Recommended show: Sunday afternoon catch Have Fork, Will Travel as Zane Lamprey takes a culinary tour of Budapest, prepares goulash, and finds out why paprika is in so many local dishes. 3:30 p.m. ET, Food Network... More

Southern Foodways: Cork and Pork at the High Museum Atlanta Wine Auction

Southern Foodways appears on Fridays as part of our collaboration with the Southern Foodways Alliance, an organization based in Oxford, Mississippi, that "documents and celebrates the diverse food cultures of the American South." Dig in! Arguably one of the hottest tickets in town, if not in the country, the High Museum Atlanta Wine Auction celebrates its 16th year. Last year, the auction set records as the most successful live auction in its 15-year history, bringing in revenues of more than $1.8 million. Friday night’s gala and Saturday’s live auction are already sold out. But, there is still space available at many of the events leading up to the big finale, one we think you’ll particularly enjoy because we planned it... More

Look Who's Talkin': Recent Comments We Have Known And Loved

The useful, thoughtful, and funny discussions in Talk keep us clicking, reading, and grinning. Looking back at the week past, here's just a handful of our favorite threads and comments. Something I've never cooked before is a... "I don't tell people, or myself, 'I'm making puff pastry.' I say, 'This is a project to learn how to make puff pastry.' It seems to remove the pressure of expectations and frees me up to not be perfect." – lemons Amish Friendship Bread? "If you compliment the baker after sampling this stuff, s/he is obliged to gift you with a bagful of starter that requires 10 days of labor-intensive cultivation, along with stern instructions to pass along three portions of starter... More

How To Open a Durian

If the infamously stinky odor of the durian weren't already enough to keep people from eating it, there's also the task of splitting open the spiny shell to reach the creamy pods within. Durian newbies, be not afraid; Kathryn Hill at The Kitchn has documented the process of opening a durian. All you need is a big knife and adequate arm strength. If you want to try durian without opening it yourself, a fruit vendor may do it for you. In Manhattan's Chinatown my friends and I bought a durian from a vendor on Mott Street and Grand Street who scooped out the flesh and neatly packed the "pods" in a container, probably in much less time than if... More

Robert Irvine Fired from the Food Network

The Food Network has released a statement saying it has "not renewed Robert's contract for future seasons" and "will be looking for a replacement host." Robert Irvine, in his first appearance since the scandal erupted, apologized, saying, "I was wrong to exaggerate in statements related to my experiences regarding the Royal Family." Previously: Celebrity Chef Has Pants on Fire... More

Best Fro-Yo Shops in SoCali

Can fro-yo dialogue ever exist without a reference to Pinkberry anymore? There's more to swirly creaminess than the controversial Korean chain, especially in the fro-yo motherland of So-Cali. Here are my five top fro-yo shops without a Pinkberry in sight. More

In Videos: Readybot, the Kitchen Cleaning Robot

The Readybot will be the indispensable cleaning tool of the future! The far off future. Right now this dishwasher-size prototype is still learning the ropes and can only do less than half of your common kitchen chores. Adam summed up the robot's speed pretty well: "Mold would grow faster than that robot could clean it." Watch our little robot friend clean up a kitchen mess after the jump. [via Engadget]... More

First Seeds Delivered to Arctic Seed Vault

From the New York Times The Global Crop Diversity Trust's Arctic Seed Vault just took the first delivery on seeds this week, and the New York Times has a beautiful slide show that tells the vault's tale in almost sci-fi-like visuals. The vault, which burrows 500 feet into the permafrost of a Norwegian island near the Arctic Circle, was created as a bulwark against the extinction of plant species.... More

Chopsticks + Cutlery = Choplery

Can't decide between using chopsticks or a fork? Choplery from Brooklyn-based design group design GO! erases the decision by making one end of their utensil in the form of a pair of chopsticks and the other end a fork, knife or spoon. You can start with the non-chopstick end and switch to using chopsticks, but not so much the other way around. [via Boing Boing Gadgets]... More

Isaac Mizrahi Names His Favorite Cookbooks

The latest in Heidi Swanson's "Favorite Cookbooks" series on 101 Cookbooks features fashion designer Isaac Mizrahi dishing on his go-to cooking guides. Among others: Complete Techniques, Jacques Pepin; How to Cook Everything, Mark Bittman; Lidia Bastianch's books; and, hey, check it out: The Young Man and the Sea, by Dave Pasternack and Serious Eats' own Ed Levine! Says Mizrahi: I wouldn't know what to call my cooking style. Sometimes it's hit-or-miss but mostly it's plain, plain, plain. I think the best things are the plainest. The best thing I make is mint chocolate chip ice cream with fresh mint that comes from my garden in the summer. I'm also really good at fruit tarts now. I use Jacques Pepin's recipes... More

'Tis the Season of Braising

Brian Halweil of Edible Communities and editor of Edible East End checks in with braising ideas from East Hampton, New York. "Of all the various culinary operations, braisings are the most expensive and the most difficult," Escoffier wrote in his tome on French cuisine, Le Guide Culinaire. "Long and assiduous practice alone can teach many difficulties that this mode of procedure entails, for it is one which demands extraordinary care and the most constant attention." The authority devotes ten dense pages to the technique's many variants and nuances.... More

Michael Ruhlman: 'Fear Not Salt and Fat'

America's fat problem: "I say unto you: Fat is good! Fat is necessary. Ask any chef. Fat does not make you fat, eating too much makes you fat! We aren’t filling our bodies with sodium because of the box of kosher salt we use to season our food, we’re doing it with all the processed food that’s loaded with hidden salt. And American cooks and American diners need to understand the differences."... More

Photo of the Day: Bahn Mi Closeup

How much does Grace love the popular Vietnamese sandwich, banh mi? She declares, "If I could marry a sandwich, I would marry a banh mi." After staring at her photo of her sandwich's innards, I might have to agree with her.... More

Miniature Brick Oven

Having trouble baking pizza to the perfect crispiness or churning out a crusty loaf of bread in your home kitchen? Maybe you should try the Cuisinart Brick Oven Deluxe, a one cubic foot-sized oven with brick built into the walls and a removable stone base. After using the oven, Gina Provenzano at The Epi-Log said, "Everything you bake in it comes out with a crispy, flaky exterior and a chewy, delicious interior because the stone holds heat and distributes it more uniformly."... More

Cork Uncorked

In the last few years, with demand for environmentally friendly, natural materials on the rise, much attention has been paid in this regard to bamboo. But while it is a beautiful, sustainable, durable and versatile substance, we need not live by bamboo alone, particularly when there’s cork. More

In Videos: Food Fight

In his stop-animation film Food Fight, motion graphics designer Stefan Nadelman portrays major wars around the world by battling the foods of the conflicting countries against one another. Boing Boing tv edited the film to include the names of the wars being depicted, helpful for those of us who forgot what we learned in history class. Watch the gory intercontinental food fight after the jump.... More

Palmer 'Chocolate' Bunny: Do Not Want

I love Cybele's semi-scathing in-depth review of Palmer's hollow chocolate flavored bunny. Yes, chocolate flavored—cocoa is the fourth ingredient. Cybele explains just how much of an effective role it plays in the nuances of flavor possessed by this bunny-shaped mass: Sometimes I wonder if Palmer is doing the cocoa industry a service by buying beans that would otherwise be turned into compost or rot in the co-op storehouses. I don’t think I’d mind their products if they were sold as “biodegradable decorations” ... but sadly the appearance of a nutrition label seems to indicate they really do think people want to eat it. "Biodegradable decorations" is my new favorite euphemism for "crappy chocolate."... More

Food Blog Search

Stumped on what to cook up using that chicken sitting in your fridge? Instead of wading through the archives of your favorite blogs, just type in your ingredient or recipe query at Food Blog Search, which searches for recipes in more than 1,900 food blogs.... More

Ed Levine's Serious Diet Week 8: Timing Is Everything and Temptation at Every Turn

This semipublic dieting (or "living," as they call it at Weight Watchers) is tough stuff. With Thursday being my weigh-in day, I have tried to arrange for Wednesdays to be light eating days. But sometimes life intervenes and temptation positively stalks me at every turn. Yesterday was a perfect example. The day started innocently (and positively) enough. I played squash at 9 a.m. after having some nonfat Greek yogurt and a tablespoon of Sarabeth's strawberry peach preserves. I know many of you have implored me to give up the jam, but I'm just not there yet. I love sweet-and-tart combos, and there are few better than yogurt and preserves. Squash was great as always, and, according to my heart-rate monitor,... More

In the News: Meat Recall Includes Packaged Food; Humane Society Sues USDA; Fewer Nutrients In Today's Food

Meat recall now includes packaged food: General Mills and Nestlé are recalling packaged products that included meat from vendors supplied by the Chino meat-packing company, Hallmark/Westland. Products include Progresso Italian Wedding soup and certain Hot Pockets sandwiches. [WSJ] Humane Society sues USDA over 'downer' cow rules: The Humane Society is suing the government for allowing a legal loophole that lets "downers" (sick or crippled cattle) into the food supply. [AP] House panel: U.S. food safety system is "a mess": A House panel investigation into food safety issues, as a result of the meat recall, criticized the food safety system in the U.S. for being faulty and disorganized: "Relying on the food industry to place safety before profits does not seem... More

Photo of the Day: Piggy Pastries

I was immediately drawn to these adorable pig-shaped breads that Medena of Cafe Chocolada made for her kids. But why should kids get all the cute food? Adults deserve rotund peppercorn-eyed, animal-shaped baked goods too! [via TasteSpotting]... More

Bottom Trawling for Fish Visible from Space

Above, plumes of sediment stirred up by bottom-trawling fishing boats in the Gulf of Mexico—as seen from space. From MSNBC: The technique, used all over the world, is a way to catch fish in deeper parts of the ocean with huge, deep nets, now that many near-shore fish populations have been virtually wiped out from over-fishing. Several studies have shown the significant impact that trawling has on ecosystems, killing corals, sponges, fish and other animals. [via Neatorama]... More

Come on in 'The Kitchn'

This week The Kitchn shares tips on what to do with brown bananas, what king of pot to buy for rice cooking, the meaning of mirepoix, a recipe for spicy oven-roasted chickpeas, and a unique cutting board that may increase your kitchen's counter space.... More

In Videos: 'Pretz' Japanese Snack Commercials

Pretz is a popular Japanese snack in the form of a pretzel-like stick that mostly comes in savory flavors. Like many Japanese snack commercials, the advertising for Pretz is...unique. Sumo wrestlers, geishas, and dancing scientists are just some of the characters used to illustrate the awesomeness of this snack. Watch five examples after the jump.... More

Serious Sandwich (Press): Pro 12-Volt Sandwich Maker

I still remember my first sandwich press. I convinced my mom to let me order it after spending a day at home sick from school watching some lady make apple pies, brownies, waffles and, of course, sandwiches. I also remember my first car accident—it was caused by my fumbling for a boombox that had just tumbled off the dashboard of my Honda (the car stereo was broken). I can't help but think that S. King had me in mind when it developed the car-powered Pro 12-Volt Sandwich Maker—it's perfect for that person who is in love with cheap sandwich presses but also stupid enough to put an appliance on the dashboard.... More

Ride JetBlue, Get Free Cream Cheese

JetBlue doesn't usually offer in-flight meals, but with the help of Kraft they're giving out free breakfasts featuring Kraft's new low-fat cream cheese. It's a perfect marketing opportunity—it's not like the customers will have anything else to eat or anywhere else to go.... More

Finally, Food That Won't Leave a Mess on Your Keyboard

Good morning! If you're the type to chow down your breakfast while checking email, complement your morning ritual with the Egg Mouse Cushion Set, with the sausage and egg serving as your wrist rest and the plate as your mousepad. The set can be found for sale on Dongascience.com, a South Korean website, for about $18. [via Gizmodo]... More

Can We Save the Honey Bees and Eat Seriously Delicious Ice Cream? Yes, We Can

Wandering through one of my local gourmet stores on my way to see my mother-in-law, Hilda, I spotted a pint of a Häagen-Dazs flavor I had been hearing about but had never seen. Vanilla Honey Bee is a new Häagen-Dazs flavor that comes complete with a cause (saving the honeybees from Colony Collapse Disorder) and a story (pollinating bees are responsible for way more than honey, as in (by some estimates) 33 percent of what we eat). I quickly came up with a plan to serve three causes with one little pint of ice cream: Taste the new flavor, help save honeybees, and bring my mother-in-law a treat. I bought a pint of the Vanilla Honey Bee and a pint... More

In the News: UN Lacks Money For Food Aid; Nutrient Profiling; Meat Recall Repercussions

The UN: Not enough money for food aid: The United Nations announced that their current budget is no longer enough to maintain the current level of their food aid program, due to rising food prices and fuel costs. [Guardian] Nutrient profiling to help make healthier choices at grocery stores: Groups like the Nutrient Rich Foods Coalition are developing nutrient profiling systems, which assign scores to food based on how nutritious and healthy it is, taking into account factors like added sugar, salt, and trans fat. Coming soon to a grocery store near you? [Washington Post] Chinese chefs learn to whip up British grub for the Olympics: Around 1,000 Chinese chefs are taking a week-long crash course on Western cuisine in... More

Photo of the Day: Deep-Fried Octodogs

They're hot dogs! Their octopi! They're...octodogs? Biggie of bento idea blog, Lunch in a Box, shows that deep frying octopus-shaped hot dogs comes out with more attractive results compared to boiling the hot dogs. Try them out for your next bento box! Previously: Tutorials on how to make cute shapes with hot dogs.... More

Man Dies From Choking On Cupcakes

Cupcakes aren't just delicious—they can also kill you! A man in South Wales choked to death during a cupcake-eating contest. Please, people; do not eat five cupcakes at once. [via Curious Foodie]... More

Best Non-Starbucks Seattle Coffeeshops

Photograph from Bradley Allen on Flickr In the spirit of Starbucks closing nationwide three hours early today, we thought you'd need some alternatives. But this one only applies to the coffee mavens themselves—the Seattleans. Here's our guide to the Seriously Seattle coffeehouses, where you should expect pretty foam art and lots of people-watching. But definitely no twin-tailed siren logos.... More

Eating for Two: What to Eat While Pregnant

Last year I got a late Christmas present—on December 26, I found out I was a few weeks pregnant. The very first thing I did was eat a celebratory piece of cheesecake (it’s silly, but I felt as if I was giving the embryo a treat—thank you for implanting!). My second priority was to start reading about what I was actually supposed to be eating, which I suspected was not the cheese enchiladas, endless milkshakes, and french fries I dreamed of as the ideal indulgent pregnancy diet. To prepare for pregnancy, I had already cut out alcohol and started taking folic acid supplements, but how else would I have to change my ways in the months ahead?... More

Congressional Committee to Talk Food Miles Today

For those of you following U.S. Congressional action on carbon footprints and food miles, the House of Representatives Select Subcommittee on Energy Independence and Global Warming will hold a hearing on these issues today at 2 p.m. ET. Food for Thought: A Primer on the Climate Consequences of Food Choices will be streamed live at globalwarming.house.gov/home. Foodies might note that the executive director of the Chez Panisse Foundation will be among the experts taking part in the panel.... More

In Videos: 'Pupurun' Japanese Candy Commercial

I love this commercial for Pupurun, a candy from Japan-based Meiji, because instead of highlighting the joy the eater gets from the candy, it shows the candy being ecstatically happy to be eaten. Look how freakin' jubilant this candy is to be dissolved by your saliva! It's practically having an orgasm. Watch the cuteness after the jump.... More

All About Andalusian Goat Cheese

Photograph from Fresco Tours on Flickr The ongoing revolution in American artisanal cheesemaking really had its origins in the "back to the land" movement of the 1970s and early 1980s. In 1979, Laura Chenel began teaching people in this country that cheese didn't have to be made from cow's milk. Even before that, in the fall of 1975, Mother Earth News ran this wonderfully detailed story about farmstead goat cheesemakers in Andalusia, Spain—an article that I happened to stumble upon this week thanks to the wonders of the web. I'm assuming this article was aimed at hippie homesteaders experimenting with "off the grid" communal living, but for us plugged-in 21st-century cheese lovers, it offers an amazing glimpse into some... More

Snapshots from Italy: Crema di Gianduja

I've been cheating on Signore Nutella. If Nutella is like a familiar pair of comfy jeans, then lately I've been trying on evening gowns, taking it up a notch or two on the gianduja scale with crema di gianduja from some of Italy's finest confectioners. Last week, I popped over to the gastronomic emporium Volpetti in the Testaccio section of Rome on a sworn mission to just browse (the rent is due soon). Willpower dissolved when I spotted a jar of Giacometta, the crema di gianduja by Piemontese chocolate producer Giraudi. The little card attached proclaimed the percentage of Piemontese hazelnuts at a respectable 32 percent. Sold. Rent, be damned!... More

Starbucks Closing for 3 Hours Today

Fair warning, coffee addicts: Your local Starbucks will be closed when you go for that late-afternoon cuppa joe. Don't freak. All 7,100 of the chain's U.S. stores will be go dark from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. for employee retraining—all 135,000 baristas. And Dunkin' Donuts knows an opportunity when it sees one; it'll be offering small lattes, cappuccinos, and espressos for 99¢ from 1 to 10 p.m. today.... More

Pasona O2

These subterranean farms look like a conceptual factor from a sci-fi movie (remember that oxygen garden from Danny Boyle's 2007 thriller Sunshine?), but they're actually being cultivated right now in a former bank vault in Tokyo. Pasona O2 covers about a square kilometer, growing vegetables and fruits like tomatoes, lettuce, and strawberries, as well as flowers and herbs—even a rice paddy! Snazzy state-of-the-art technology controls temperature and artificial sunlight levels. Is Japan one step ahead in planning for a sustainable agricultural model for the future? Actually, Pasona O2 is more or less a showcase and serves primarily as a training facility for jobless youth interested in the agriculture field. Still, the merging of advanced technological resources and the food... More

Ding! Phone Call!

First there was the hamburger phone from Juno and then the sandwich phone. Now comes the toast phone. This concept from Brazilian design student Renata Quintela comes with two bread phones and a toaster charger. [via Gizmodo]... More

Bookmark It!

You may have noticed that we've added a new social-bookmarking feature to all blog posts and recipes. The icons you see at the top of each blog post (next to "share") link to a few of the most popular social-bookmarking services. These services allow you to store, tag, share, and promote links with your friends, people with similar interests, and the internet at large. And since it's the internet, you can use these services from any computer, at home, at work, or on the go. If you come across a story or link on Serious Eats, Slice, A Hamburger Today, or Ed Levine Eats that you find interesting, want to save for future reference, or share with other people, simply... More

Photo of the Day: Martha's Prop Room

Think you have trouble finding storage space for all your dishes, silverware, pots, pans, and serving platters? Above is just one of many, many shelves in Martha Stewart's prop room at Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia headquarters. These kitchen items (and many other household wares) are used in photo shoots for all the various Martha-brand magazines, TV shows, and the like. Remember that final scene in Raiders of the Lost Ark? [via yumsugar]... More

Fresh Food on TV: Weekday Edition

With all the channels on broadcast TV and cable—and the inevitable episode repeats—it's hard to sort out what's new or worthwhile. Let us sort it out for you so you don't miss anything worth watching. Times may vary with region; check your local listings for exact hour and channels. Monday (Feb. 25) Anthony Bourdain: No Reservations: "Romania." Tony and his friend, Zamir, are off on another adventure, this time to celebrate Zamir's 50th birthday in Romania, a land of vampire tales, Communist regimes, and an intense culinary history. 10 p.m. ET, Travel Channel Tuesday (Feb. 26) Last Restaurant Standing: Episode 4. 9 p.m. ET, BBC America... More

Cook the Book: 'Roast Chicken and Other Stories'

This week's Cook the Book is one we've mentioned before on the site—Roast Chicken and Other Stories by Simon Hopkinson. If you haven't heard of Hopkinson, chances are you aren't English; in Britain, this book was voted the most useful cookbook ever by a group of chefs, food writers, and readers. We've already featured Roast Chicken's namesake Roast Chicken recipe, so this week we'll be highlighting additional dishes each day. Monday's will be along shortly, but first ... Win 'Roast Chicken and Other Stories' And as is always the case with our weekly Cook the Book volume, we've got five (5) copies of this book to give away to our readers. Simply tell us your chicken story in the comments... More

Charcuterie for Dummies

“That’s a fat ass,” observes sous chef Nick Stefanelli. “That’s what you want," says executive chef Stefano Frigerio, "since the fat melts inside the meat as it’s curing.” So, basically you want a fat ass—for charcuterie. Learn this and other standards on salting, fermenting, aging, grinding, and curing piggy meat in the current issue of Washington City Paper.... More

Closeup of 'Cans Seurat'

Chris Jordan specializes in photographic artwork that depicts gross amounts of consumption in single, giant images. The above photo is a tiny piece of an image that represents the more than 100,000 aluminum cans used in the U.S. every 30 seconds. [via Bitten]... More

Give Us Your Whole Order Now, Or Else!

When does it make sense (or not make sense) to put in your entire order at a restaurant before the beginning of the meal? Frank Bruni explains the logistics of how restaurants handle orders so that ordering everything once is most convenient.... More

'Ratatouille' Robbed, and Food Cinema Puns

If I can't have Best Picture, can I at least havesome cheese?Ratatouille may have been robbed a Best Picture nomination, but cleaned up pretty well with five nods in total, and one actual award for Best Animation. Sure, it should have also won for Best Sound Editing and Sound Mixing with all those chopping and sauce-bubbling foley art sound effects. Not to mention all that background music heightening each gustatory reaction. For crying out loud, even Associated Press critic Jake Coyle proved the film was mathematically superior to Pulp Fiction. We still love you, Remy. And in the vein of food-themed cinematic puns, here’s some ideas for the actual Best Picture nominees. Please throw yours onto the table.. No Country... More

Grocery Ninja: Chinese Rice Krispie Treats

The Grocery Ninja leaves no aisle unexplored, no jar unopened, no produce untasted. Creep along with her below, and read her past market missions here. Long before I was introduced to the snap, crackle, and pop of Rice Krispie treats, I was sinking my teeth into these Chinese soft flour cakes, or sachima. Made with flour, eggs, maltose, and lard (yes, lard—which, gram for gram, has “less saturated fat, more unsaturated fat, and less cholesterol” than butter, so I’ve never understood why people get so antsy about it), these are chewy, sticky-sweet, and have that fun, universally adored “mozzarella stretch effect," trailing gossamer strands of golden malt syrup between bites. No, you do not want to eat these with braces... More

Sampler Platter: From the Serious Eats Team

Items you may have missed from the Serious Eats universe... Baking maven Dorie Greenspan needs your help: ask her a question to get answered for the meme she got tagged for! [DorieGreenspan.com] Dinner Tonight contributor Blake Royer breaks down a pasta dish to find out if fancy ingredients really make a difference. When it comes to the Italian noodles, the answer is pretty much yes. [The Paupered Chef]Cocktail connoisseur Paul Clarke shares his recipe for a Blackthorn Sour in round 3 of Raiders of the Lost Cocktail. [The Cocktail Chronicles]... More

Sunday Reading

The New Yorker on the relationship between food miles and their carbon footprint and the difficulty in measuring it: "Food carries enormous symbolic power, so the concept of 'food miles'—the distance a product travels from the farm to your home—is often used as a kind of shorthand to talk about climate change in general." If the priority is the reduction of emissions of greenhouse gases, then eating locally may not be best: "The environmental burden imposed by importing apples from New Zealand to Northern Europe or New York can be lower than if the apples were raised fifty miles away." Michael Laiskonis discusses the use of found objects in food, using items such as Ritz crackers or Dr Pepper: "In... More

Japanese Michelin Guide: It's Been a Rough Ride So Far

In a further attempt at globalizing its brand, the Michelin Guide has, as we reported last March, now been introduced in Japan. New York Times reports today that,-->As was the case when Michelin introduced its American guides in New York, San Francisco, and Los Angeles, the ride has not been all that smooth. Lots of interesting stuff in this New York Times story: Many Japanese food critics, pundits, and serious eaters feel that the Michelin folks do not have the expertise and experience to properly judge Japanese food, although, like Michelin's American forays, it has enlisted the help of locals. I have always been skeptical about Michelin's American efforts.... More

Kimchi in Space: One Small Step for Koreankind

The New York Times reports today that the first Korean astronaut will be bringing some of that nation's beloved kimchi into space with him. The Korean national dish, a powerful, extremely pungent fermented cabbage, is not exactly shelf- or space-stable, so finding a way to bring it safely into space required a costly and time-consuming effort: Three top government research institutes spent millions of dollars and several years perfecting a version of kimchi that would not turn dangerous when exposed to cosmic rays or other forms of radiation and would not put off non-Korean astronauts with its pungency. Related: Space Food Sticks Photograph from iStockphoto.com/bedo... More

Mayonaka Zeitaku: Supporting Your Late-Night Sweet Tooth

Now you don't have to feel guilty about your late-night snacking. In fact, there are products made specifically for your midnight munchies—if you happen to live in Japan. Morinaga/Eskimo is launching its new brand of premium ice cream for late night called Mayonaka no Zeitaku ("Midnight Indulgence"). With each cup clocking in around 140 calories, it's specifically targeted to the health-conscious woman who doesn't want to compromise her sweet cravings. (Morinaga/Eskimo's research shows that 43 percent of women between ages 20 and 40 eat ice cream around 11 p.m.) And if you want to get really elaborate, there's even a cute little "Midnight Story" illustrating that, yes, ice cream is exactly what you crave in the middle of the night... More

Golden Clog Winners Announced

Our friends at Eater San Francisco live-blogged the Golden Clog Awards. We are sure Anthony Bourdain and Michael Ruhlman were sufficiently inebriated (even in the daytime) to make the whole affair more than a little amusing. Some of the high-lowlights: The Fergus Award for "greatest achievement in pork and guts" went to David Chang of Momfuku fame. The Rocco for "worst career move" went to Tyler Florence for "Applebee's, Applebee's, Applebee's." Ina Garten won The Alton, for "being on the Food Network and yet, somehow, managing to not suck."... More

Sandwich Phone

Juno might have popularized the burger phone, but maybe you're more of a sandwich lover. In that case, there's the wieldy sandwich phone. The purpleness adds a homey PB&J feel, no? [via Gizmodo]... More

Too Pretty to Eat (Or Unwrap, For That Matter)

They look like notebooks or planners from a high-end stationery store, but these are actually wrappers to chocolate bars from Mast Brothers Chocolate, which Cool Hunting found in Brooklyn flea market Artists & Fleas. Marrying beautiful packaging with tasty chocolate concoctions, brothers Rick and Michael rely on organic, single-origin Venezuelan and Ecuadorian cacao for their products. Even the packaging paper is imported from Italy. Available at Artists & Fleas (weekends only), Marlow and Sons and Spuyten Duyvil Grocery.... More

In the News: It's All About Contamination These Days

More than a third of recalled beef already used in school lunches: Out of the 143 million pounds of recalled meat in the U.S., a little more than 50 million was used in federal programs, with 20 million pounds of it already consumed. [New York Times] Mercury concerns divide Japanese whaling village: Famous for its age-old tradition of dolphin and whale hunting, residents of Taiji, Japan, are now raising questions on health and food safety after elevated levels of mercury were found in dolphin meat. [New York Times] British team will not import food to Olympics: The British Olympic Association announced they have no plans to import their own food to the Beijing Olympics: "One of the dangers of the... More

This Week's 'Tasty 10'

The top 10 most delicious posts on Serious Eats this week were: Golden Clog Nominees Announced; Bourdain Skewers Self [Required Eating] Robert Irvine's Bio Pulled from Food Network Website; Wikipedia Entry Edited and Celebrity Chef Has Pants on Fire (I had to combine these two.) [Required Eating] Iron Cheffing and Judging Are Legit (If Imperfect) [Required Eating] For a Drink You Can't Put Down: Bottoms Up [Required Eating] Dinner Tonight: Brick Chicken [Recipes] 'I Drank your Milkshake!' [Talk] Colbert Report: People Destroying America, Happy Meal [Required Eating] Do you tip for take out that you pick-up yourself? [Talk] Suicidal Cadbury Creme Egg Commercials [Required Eating] Serious Sandwiches: Whatta Tuna Sandwich! [Recipes]... More

Weekend Book Giveaway: 'Trail of Crumbs'

Kim Sunée was abandoned on the street by her mother in South Korea. She was adopted by a family in New Orleans, graduates from college and ends up falling in love with a famous, successful French businessman while visiting Europe after graduating from college. The writing is graceful if overwrought at times, but her story is alternately heartbreaking and harrowing and the recipes that follow each chapter are appealing and refreshingly off-center. More

Photo of the Day: Bunny Egg Mold

Maki at Just Bento shows how you can have fun with Japanese egg molds, my favorite mold being this overly adorable bunny head. Cooking and peeling perfect hardboiled eggs takes some effort, but if you want cute, blemish-free food, you have to put in some elbow grease.... More

Fresh Food on TV: Weekend Edition

With all the channels on broadcast TV and cable—and the inevitable episode repeats—it's hard to sort out what's new or worthwhile. Let us sort it out for you so you don't miss anything worth watching. Times may vary with region; check your local listings for exact hour and channels. Recommended show: On Saturday night catch Paula's Party and Throwdown with Bobby Flay as they appear on each other's shows. First Flay is a guest at Deen's Black and White Ball. Then Paula is challenged to a chicken-fried steak throwdown. 9 p.m. and 10 p.m. ET, Food Network... More

Look Who's Talkin': Recent Comments We Have Known And Loved

The useful, thoughtful, and funny discussions in Talk keep us clicking, reading, and grinning. Looking back at the week past, here's just a handful of our favorite threads and comments. Ketchup On Burgers...: "About the only thing I wouldn't put on a hamburger is chocolate. All condiments are fair game, as far as I'm concerned." – Amandarama [OK, now you've just made me curious to see what a burger with chocolate would taste like...] Peppadew Addiction!!!: "Oh, I thought this was going to be about people who are addicted to mixing Dr. Pepper and Mountain Dew. I thought, 'How gross, who are these people?'" – wookie... More

Durian Pastries in Manhattan's Chinatown

Joe DiStefano at Gothamist found liulan soo, flaky durian cream-filled pastries, at Chatham Square Restaurant in Manhattan's Chinatown. I would describe the flavor of durian as a mix of garlic and onion—not necessarily horrendous (although other people would disagree), nor something I'd dream about eating—but Joe highly recommends these pastries: "It had a kinder, gentler flavor than fresh durian, which has a funky undertone that can linger for quite some time after one has swallowed the last creamy bit. In fact the green and yellow treats were so tasty that almost as soon as the first plate was finished another was ordered." As Chinese cuisine isn't known for excelling in the "desserts" department, I think I have to try these... More

In Videos: Korean Kimchi Commercial

I think this is a genuine commercial about kimchi. And that frightens me. Just a bit. Especially when the pile of fermenting kimchi pulsates. As for why the labels on the kimchi jars are in Japanese and the commercial is dubbed in English, I have no idea. Watch the commercial after the jump. Prepare to be blown away.... More

Southern Foodways Alliance at the Georgia Organics Conference

Southern Foodways appears on Fridays as part of our collaboration with the Southern Foodways Alliance, an organization based in Oxford, Mississippi, that "documents and celebrates the diverse food cultures of the American South." Dig in! Georgia Organics is hosting its 11th annual conference, Quantum Leap: Taking Food & Farms Back...to the Future, February 28 to March 1 at the North West Georgia Trade and Convention Center in Dalton, Georgia. Listen and learn as we imagine a future where farm, family, and community values merge with sustainable innovation—where thriving family farms connect with consumers at school, at work, at play. At this conference, you’ll gather the knowledge, tools, and connections needed to take your food and farms into that future. Learn... More

Starbucks Eliminating 600 Jobs

We're all used to Starbucks expanding, so it's news when the coffee giant resorts to layoffs to bolster the bottom line. None of the eliminated positions were in retail stores. Previously: Starbucks Discontinues Breakfast Sandwiches... More

Photo of the Day: Mshalalé Cheese

When I first saw this photo of "mshalalé" cheese on Marianna's blog, Swirl and Scramble, I thought it was a bundle of pasta. Marianna explains that the name of the cheese means braids/braided. The cheese, which is from the Middle East around Lebanon, Syria and Jordan, is usually served drizzled with olive oil and sprinkled with nigella seeds. She describes the taste as, "not too strong, slightly stronger in taste then mozzarella, firmer and a bit saltier too."... More

Ice Cream, Unsweetened

Gelato from Otto Recently, I had a great meal at Salt in the West Village. Even better than my wild salmon and braised fennel entrée was my dessert: upside-down pear cake with a scoop of homemade rosemary ice cream. It was fragrant, herbaceous, and creamy, with only a slight hint of sugar. Dishes that blur the line between sweet and savory are all the rage in New York right now, from Tailor's black olive clafoutis to P*ong’s stilton soufflé. Mario Batiali's Otto serves an olive oil gelato that is simply out of this world. It’s got me thinking: how long before savory ice cream flavors hit supermarket shelves?... More

Ningyo-Yaki: Molded Japanese Cakes

Tokyo-based design magazine PingMag has a feature on the history and making of the Japanese snack cake ningyo-yaki, which translates to "fried dolls." These small cakes made by pouring batter into intricate molds—varying from Hello Kitty to a traditional lantern—are typically filled with red bean paste, but may also be filled with chocolate or custard. Grab a box on your next trip to Japan!... More

Australia Dairy Company in Hong Kong

Photographs from supercharz on Flickr I'm not a big fan of scrambled eggs (hard boiled is my favorite), but when I saw Charmain's review of Australia Dairy Company, a restaurant in Hong Kong famous for its scrambled eggs, I couldn't look away from the fluffy yellow layer sandwiched between two fat slices of crust-less white bread. Her description didn't help ease my longing: ADC’s scrambled eggs are the lightest, fluffiest eggs I’ve ever had the pleasure of eating, and they are oh-so-moist. Not too salty, perfectly seasoned and the thick, soft white bread its served in creates a match made in heaven. Charmaine points out that there's even a Facebook group dedicated to their scrambled eggs with over 5,800... More

Iron Cheffing and Judging Are Legit (If Imperfect)

Village Voice restaurant critic Robert Sietsema pulled back the curtain on the Food Network's Iron Chef America. Or did he? I think Sietsema is a fine critic and writer, and I have in fact eaten with him on a few occasions. That said, having judged Iron Chef America a number of times in the last couple of years, I feel compelled to point out a number of things about his supposedly sordid revelations.... More

Ethnic Groceries in Manhattan

You don't have to go to the outer boroughs to get those hard-to-find ingredients. The New York Times rounds up ethnic food markets in Manhattan, to get everything from Brazilian coffee to British sausages.... More

Cute Comic Teaches Farmers How To Not Bruise Livestock

Learn how to keep your pigs and sheep bruise-free with this instructional comic about how to best handle livestock. It may have been written in the 1940s-50s, but that doesn't mean the advice is outdated; you probably shouldn't drop lambs or or force them to jump from upper decks, lest you want to lose profit on bruised meat. Check out Comics With Problems for more examples of serious issues being illustrated in less than serious ways. [via bb]... More

All The Food Mascot Costumes You'll Ever Need

Do you need to embody a bug-eyed anthropomorphic pickle for your next group function? Why not traumatize surprise the kids with a hug from Wally Watermelon or Bobbie Blueberry after school? Each suit will only set you back about $1,000, practically a steal for the neverending joy they will bring into your life. Don't pass up this great opportunity; visit Mascot Costumes for the best in food mascot apparel today! (Note: Bodysuit not included.) [via MetaFilter]... More

For a Drink You Can't Put Down: Bottoms Up

This Monday the James Beard Foundation Greens is hosting a celebration of the 75th anniversary of the repeal of Prohibition. Mind you, the deed was not officially done until December 5th of 1933, with the ratification of the 21st amendment, but by golly, if the James Beard Foundation has sanctioned the early celebration of this momentous occasion, who am I to quibble? Nobody, that’s who, and thus, I will be eagerly joining in the festivities on Monday evening. So, it is in the spirit of this event, with free flowing libations in mind, that I decided to introduce you to some of my very favorite drinking companions: bottoms up shot glasses.... More

Home Shopping Network Pulls Robert Irvine's Cookware

The Home Shopping Network has stopped selling Robert Irvine's "Royal Titanium" line of cookware. Searches for his cookware now yields zero results, but the Google cache has all of it archived. Too bad, because the "Chef Robert Irvine Royal Titanium Nonstick Possible Pan" will surely become a collectible item.... More

In the News: Bee Shortage Threatens Ice-Cream; Custom Nutrition Bars

Artisanal dairy products churn out a nostalgia for farm-fresh products: More and more people are turning to local dairy farmers to get their supply of fresh butter, yogurt, and ice-cream. [NY Times] -->Bee shortage could mean fewer ice-cream flavors: Häagen-Dazs' ice cream selection may be getting smaller and pricier in the future if honeybees keep mysteriously disappearing in the U.S., considering that 40 percent of its 60 flavors depend on these buzzy insects. To highlight the issue, they're launching a new flavor called Vanilla Honey Bee this spring. [CNN] Study says whole grains help shed belly fat: While cutting calories helps you lose weight, incorporating whole grains into your diet could help you lose that ring of flab around your... More

Our New Expanded 'About' Section

The Serious Eats worker bees bring you a flurry of new "About Us" pages containing ostensibly useful information: a new Comment Policy page, a new Contributors page, an FAQ, a Site Map, a Press and Props page, a form so you can Suggest a Link, and an updated Staff Bios page (including our awesome, hardworking interns).... More

Ed Levine's Serious Diet Week 7: Can the 100-Calorie Snacks Be a Trap?

My wife, who has never struggled with her weight, called me out yesterday about the proliferation of 100-calorie snack packages she has noticed around our apartment. I of course got defensive and told her I had the whole thing under control. Furthermore, I was doing research for an upcoming series of posts on the best 100-calorie snacks (both sweet and savory). In other words, my longtime defense and justification for overeating was rearing its ugly (and fat) head again: "I'm just doing my work, dear." Then yesterday evening, after I had consumed my third 100-calorie snack pack of the day, it hit me like a ton of Cheez-Its. Maybe she's right.... More

Beware the Fatty Sushis

Trevor Corson tells Lexus Magazine why toro, the bellyfat of bluefin tuna, and other blubbery cuts of raw fish don't belong in your tummy. He's got some better, more traditional alternatives.... More

Closing Soon: Baldinger's Market in Pennsylvania

Cybele of Candy Blog reports that beloved candy store Baldinger's Market is closing in June due to the passing away of owner Lois Dodge. The store has been in operation in Zelienople, Pennsylvania since 1933 and is known for its incredible candy selection. Cybele says, Baldinger’s boasted an excellent collection of candies. Much of it was bulk items and classic hard-to-find items like anise squares, Nik-l-Nips, wax lips and Mary Janes. They had seasonal candies as well, as that’s half the fun of candy along with candy bars from all over the country, limited editions and not the just the biggies. Head out to Western Pennsylvania to get your candy fix before it's too late! Baldinger's Market Address: 22105... More

Robert Irvine's About Page Now Blank

The About page on Robert Irvine's website is now blank, claiming "This page is under construction." Google cache has the original about page. [Thanks LunaPierCook!] Previously: Robert Irvine's Bio Pulled from Food Network Website... More

Robert Irvine Disinvited from South Beach Wine & Food Festival?

Even though Robert Irvine may show up as one of the "personalities" on the website of the South Beach Wine & Food Festival, his page is now blank (although Google still has a cached version). Google cache also confirms that Irvine was scheduled to appear in the "Grand Tasting Village" with Guy Fieri on Saturday, but the current schedule has no mention of him. Previously: Robert Irvine's Bio Pulled from Food Network Website; Wikipedia Entry Edited... More

Come on in 'The Kitchn'

This week The Kitchn shares information for how to start a CSA, where to buy locally grown meat, what olive oils to buy for different purposes, and suggests using a roux to make a rich, low-fat pasta dish and repurposing small pots as cute herb planters.... More

Lower Impact Orange Juice

Is frozen orange juice concentrate better for the environment than not-from-concentrate orange juice? Yes. Slate's Brendan I. Koerner explains the processes and energy consumed to produce both forms of juice.... More

Movie Theater Dining: Crabcakes, Oxtail, and Craft Beer

The New York Times reported today that the menu at Robert Redford's new Sundance Kabuki movie theater in San Francisco includes roasted game hen, crabcakes, and braised oxtail, along with craft beers, cocktails, and local wines by the glass. I'm down with this, as long as Redford hasn't ditched my Goobers. What's your favorite movie snack? Sundance Kabuki Address: 1881 Post Street, San Francisco, CA 94115 (near Fillmore; map) Phone: 415-929-4650... More

Inside Look at Iron Chef America

The Village Voice's Robert Sietsema gives an inside look at Iron Chef America: "the fog machines kept cranking throughout the taping, concealing all sorts of details the network might not want you to see."... More

South Carolina: Where All Barbecue Sauces Meet

Thanks to the blog, Strange Maps, for sharing this map of the four regions of South Carolina barbecue sauce (and to reader, jmunchie, for sending us the link!). The two dominant North Carolina styles, eastern-style vinegar and pepper and western-style tomato drift southward, and Georgia's ketchup creeps in from the west. South Carolina's own mustard-style, a reflection of the state's German heritage, holds back the outsiders from within. Related Reading: "A Very Brief History of the Four Types of Barbeque Found In the USA" by Lake E. High, Jr., President, South Carolina Barbeque Association... More

In Videos: Squirrel Melts

Tuna melts are so passé. For your next meal, why not try squirrel melts? All you need are some good shooting skills and a forest of squirrels at your disposal. Let Heidi Wilson, star of The Outdoor Channel's show The Huntress (circa 1999), show you the way with her clear instructions and mellifluous voice. "Squirrel melts; you must try them." Yes, I think this is real. Watch the video after the jump.... More

Elbowing in on San Francisco's Chocolate Market

Photograph courtesy of Peter Costantinidis With about a dozen banquette seats sandwiched between flame-red walls, and with just as many hot chocolate flavors (American-style dark chocolate, Venezuelan chile spice, coconut curry, Chinese five-spice, passion fruit, raspberry, citrus, peanut butter, hazelnut, mint, mocha, and espresso), the new Christopher Elbow Artisanal Chocolate shop is open for business in San Francisco's Hayes Valley. Christopher Elbow flew in from his home base in Kansas City, Missouri, to open the doors just nine days before Valentine's Day, with a lineup featuring his signature Peanut Praline with Pop Rocks bon bon and a special-edition Absinthe Ganache candy, named for the restaurant across the street.... More

'Unboiling' an Egg—Or Not

After Hervé This explained how to "unboil" an egg (by unraveling its protein molecules from one another using sodium borohydride), blogger Michael Pusateri of Cruft tries it for himself, to less-than-stunning results. If we can get our hands on some magic chemicals, I'm thinking of trying it here at Serious Eats. [via Kottke]... More

Martha Stewart Buys the Emeril Brand: What's It Mean?

Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia has bought the Emeril brand for a cool $50 million ($45 million in cash, $5 million in stock). What does buying Emeril's brand entail exactly? Everything but the Bam! man's restaurants. According to the Associated Press, Martha and company are buying: Television programming: The Essence of Emeril and syndication episodes of Emeril Live on the Food Network and food correspondent segments on ABC's Good Morning America Cookbooks: A library of 12 cookbooks, including Delmonico and There's a Chef in My World Web property: emerils.com Licensed kitchen products: Emeril-branded cookware by All-Clad, cutlery by Wüsthof, tableware by Wedgwood, electrical appliances by T-Fal Food products: Including Bam! B-Q sauce, spices, marinades, coffee, and more What does all this... More

In the News: Martha Buys Emeril; Officials Downplay Beef Recall; Japan's 2009 Food Festival

Hey! You got your "Bam!" in my "Good Things": Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia bought the rights to the Emeril Lagasse franchise of cookbooks, television shows, and kitchen products for $45 million in cash and $5 million in stock. (Stay tuned to Serious Eats for further analysis from Ed Levine.) [AP] Officials say beef recall poses little health risk: Although the USDA recalled 143 million pounds of beef nationwide on Sunday (the largest recall ever in the U.S.), it has more to do with inhumane handling and slaughter than contamination risks, officials say. [ABC News] Chocolate companies sued for price-fixing: The Canadian divisions of Nestle, Hershey, Cadburry Schweppes, and Mars are being sued for having conspired to inflate prices by 5... More

Cherries for Change

As if the Democratic race couldn’t get any feistier, our favorite tie dye-sportin’, cow-milkin’ Ben & Jerry just got involved. They want Obama, and they've even created a “Cherries for Change” flavor in his honor. We ask—is it just Cherry Garcia with a label slapped over it? And how will lactose-intolerant voters react?... More

Staff Favorite: 'Sheep!' Magazine

Design Observer takes a look at the shift in animal trade magazine cover design over the past century. It's too bad they didn't mention Serious Eats' favorite animal trade magazine, sheep!: "The Voice of the Independant Flockmaster." [via Gawker]... More

Cook the Book: Win a Copy of 'Cook with Jamie'

This week's Cook the Book volume is Jamie Oliver's Cook with Jamie. I've admired Oliver's work over the years; I mean, what's not to like? Not only is he a good cook, he places education and betterment at the heart of his mission, whether it's through his Fifteen foundation and restaurant or his attempt to bring better school lunches to Britain's kids. Cook with Jamie carries on that tradition. And even though it's Oliver's seventh book, it's the one he says he feels he should have written first, since it's a "basics" book. It's textbooklike in size and heft, with beautiful photographs and handsome type design—so much so that you'd almost feel bad about staining the pages as you cook... More

Best Boba Teahouses in Southern Cali

Scattered near Southern Cali college campuses like UCI and UCLA, Asian-style bubble teahouses stay open late, serving the student community. They go through boxes of extra-fat straws, wide enough to fit tapioca balls or "boba" as it's often called, about the size of marbles. Stab their fluorescent-colored straws into cellophane-wrapped plastic cups which is filled with traditional flavors (green or black milk tea) or fruitier options (lychee, honeydew, mango). Gummy and gelatinous, the tapioca boba bubbles sitting at the bottom of each cup symbolize a cultural staple for young Asians in Hong Kong, Macau, Taiwan and all over California. For only about two bucks, the drink (hot or cold) is just as important as the scene—brightly-lit with comfy couches, usually... More

Robert Irvine's Bio Pulled from Food Network Website; Wikipedia Entry Edited

"It's unfortunate if Robert embellished the extent of his culinary experiences," Food Network spokeswoman Lisa Del Colle wrote. "We are investigating the matter and taking the necessary steps to ensure the accuracy of all representations of Robert on Food Network and foodnetwork.com." The Food Network's bio for Robert Irvine now gives an error; but you can see the Google cache. Quote from Robert Irvine's website: "Being a part of history is great!" Updated: Apparently someone's been updating Robert Irvine's Wikipedia entry in his favor: "User:70.17.33.105 and User:70.18.190.64 likely are the same person. He/she appears to be determined to eliminate all negative facts about Irvine, which confirms my suspicion this is one of his reps or Irvine himself." Previously: Celebrity Chef... More

Meat Paintings

Los Angeles-based artist Victoria Reynolds specializes in painting detailed pictures of meat. When have viscera ever looked so beautiful? You can view and buy her paintings at Richard Heller Gallery (the above bacon painting is $5,000 if you're interested) and read more about her at Señor Enrique. [via bb]... More

In Videos: Suicidal Cadbury Creme Egg Commercials

Cadbury's latest ad campaign for their Creme Eggs shows the eggs using creative methods to release their creamy innards because "Creme Eggs only want one thing: to let their goo out." I see this more as a collection of ideas for how to commit suicide if you're a Creme Egg, but maybe the eggs continue to live on even after they've been smashed and sliced and...um...maybe not. Watch the candy carnage after the jump.... More

You Put Your Cheese in There

Well it's only February, and 2008 is already living up to its title as the Year of the Cheese Cave. According to an article in last week's Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Fermo Jaeckle, one of the founders of legendary Wisconsin cheese company Roth Käse, has purchased an underground cave that used to be the site of a huge marijuana-growing operation 40 miles northeast of Nashville. Jaeckle, of course, plans to age some serious cheese down there beginning in 2009. The cave is more than five football fields long, and at 100 feet below the surface of the earth, with stable temperature and humidity, is a perfect place to age cheese. The property was auctioned off last year, and Jaeckle's winning bid... More

Snapshots from Italy: Multi-Culti Rome

One of the things that I love about life in New York City is the crazy convergence of diverse cultures taking place in nearly every neighborhood. However, Rome doesn't have the same level of multi-culti vibe going on in its modern food scene, and finding truly exciting, authentic, well-prepared ethnic food can be a challenge. More

Feeling Sick? How About Some Sake and Egg?

I've heard of chicken soup to heal colds, but sake and egg? Tamagozake, or egg sake, is a traditional home remedy in Japan for the cold. Mix together 3/4th cup of sake, an egg, and a tablespoon of sugar and heat until just before boiling. Serve with chopsticks. And let the healing begin! [via Peter Payne]... More

Fresh Food on TV

With all the channels on broadcast TV and cable—and the inevitable episode repeats—it's hard to sort out what's new or worthwhile. We present Fresh Food on TV—a weekly guide to what's new (or notable) on weeknight food television, so you don't miss anything worth watching. And, on Fridays, we'll post a weekend list for Saturday and Sunday viewing. This feature is a work in progress, so if there's a program you feel we've overlooked or something you'd like to see added to the list, let us know. We'd like this feature to be as useful to everyone as possible. Times may vary with region; check your local listings for exact hour and channels.... More

Meatless in Saigon

One would imagine that in a society where roughly 85% of the people are practicing Buddhists, vegetarian restaurants could be found on every corner. While this may be true in some parts of Asia, it is certainly not the case in Saigon, where eateries specializing in com chay are few and far between. Exceptions to this general trend appear on the first and fifteenth of each Lunar Calendar month, when all Buddhists shy away from meat. On these particularly auspicious days, nearly all workers’ lunch establishments (com binh dan) serve vegetarian options.... More

Red Velvet Cake Revisited

It seems that there is a lot of curiosity and/or confusion about red velvet cake and its origins. Though, as far I know, nobody has managed to verify the cake’s exact genesis, here is what I have pieced together from my own observations and research. More

Celebrity Chef Has Pants on Fire

The St. Petersburg Times reports that celebrity chef Robert Irvine, of the Food Network program Dinner: Impossible, may have stretched his resume a bit. The paper details how Irvine, in trying to hustle up funds to open two restaurants in St. Petersburg, Florida, fabricated stories about being a knight, owning a castle in Scotland, and having cooked for presidents and royalty. [via Gawker]... More

The Nut-Free Sandwich Solution

My daughter Iris's preschool is, like so many these days, a nut-free zone. Often Iris will come home and, after a morning of nut deprivation, eat a big bowl of toasted pecans. Before she started preschool, her standard lunch was the same as every other non-nut-allergic kid's: peanut butter and jelly. I did my best to choose a good quality jam and bread (the Innkeeper's brand multigrain bread from Costco is delicious), but it was your basic PB&J. This wouldn't fly under preschool rules. So I've fumbled with various leftovers and other sandwiches, and fallen back on deli ham more often than I'd like to admit. (I've tasted "soynut butter," recommended in the preschool handbook, and could not in good... More

Snapshots from Asia: Doll’s House Pork Floss Rolls

There is nothing more gladdening to a homesick student’s heart than the sight of many, many red-lidded jars…all filled to the brim (layers of protective bubble wrap in between) with handmade Lunar New Year goodies. Even better when said homesick student has spent the week shoveling snow in Ithaca while her relatives flood her phone with picture messages of all the glorious treats she’s missing out on. The bastards. So when she wakes up to find golden, buttery, pineapple jam pastries redolent with cloves, crumbly, melt-in-your-mouth, salty-sweet sugee (semolina) cookies, richly fragrant cashew nut sablés, and miniature pork floss (think candy floss, but made with pig) spring rolls in a giant package at her door, she starts to think... More

Awesome Oven Mitts

Oven mitts shouldn't just be utilitarian—they can also be pretty! Check out Design*Sponge's oven mitt roundup for ideas on where to get your next mitt.... More

Theodore, Alabama: Bayley's

Editor's note: Occasionally what looks at first glance to be a conventional guidebook transcends the genre in surprising ways. John T. Edge's Southern Belly is just such a read. Yes, you can use it like the discerning guide to eating in the South it most assuredly is. But Southern Belly is also a book filled with so much heart, soul, and good writing that it demands to be read cover to cover like some John Grisham page-turner. Edge blessedly doesn't shy away from discussions of race and class, and the result is a narrative that's compellingly thoughtful and real. That's why I'm pleased that John T. has allowed us to excerpt selected items from Southern Belly in our Eating Out... More

Sunday Reading

Slate Magazine has a great write-up on the 1947 Château Cheval Blanc, probably the most celebrated wine of the 20th century: "The '47 Cheval is not a wine that someone contrived to make; it is a wine that essentially made itself." Portfolio reports on micro-micro breweries, or one-man brewing. Brian Hunt of Moonlight Brewing, in Fulton, California: “You can’t make Bud, but you can’t make Sierra Nevada Pale Ale either. You have to find something you can do better, and focus on that with your passion and skill.” Rick Bayless in the New York Times Magazine's Domains feature, on the worst dish he created: "Avocado-coffee ice cream. It tasted like excrement and looked like it too." The New York Times... More

In Videos: Roger Clemens Doesn't Know What a Vegan Is

During the recent Congressional hearings, Bruce Braley, a Democrat from Iowa, asked Roger Clemens if he had ever been a vegan. Clemens, dumbfounded, responded, “I don’t know what that is. I’m sorry." PETA, feeling the need to educate, couldn't help but mail Clemens a care package of vegan treats, including vegan chocolate bars and faux beef jerky. Which I'm sure turned him around.... More

Sampler Platter: From the Serious Eats Team

Items you may have missed from the Serious Eats universe ... Baking maven Dorie Greenspan officially declares baconized desserts as the next big trend [DorieGreenspan.com] Sunday Night Soup master Gurgling Cod examines the media response to Burger King's "Whopper Freakout" campaign. [The Gurgling Cod] Snapshots from Vietnam contributor Cathy Danh taped a segment for Rick Stein's Far Eastern Odyssey, part of a BBC series on food in Asia that will air in 2009. Chocolate contributor Emily Stone takes a break from chocolates and reflects on the egg as a staple ingredient. [Chocolate in Context]... More

Putin Thinks Cabbage Soup Yields Democracy

Why is Vladimir Putin one of the most powerful leaders in Kremlin history? Because he's got his priorities about cabbage soup straight. He knows it's the key to teaching Russia the ways of democracy. In his final news conference as president he asserted, "let them teach their wives to make shchi," referring to "shchi," the popular Russian cabbage soup.... More

This Week's Popular Posts

Here are some of our most popular posts from the last week: Broken Arrows: Unlovable Valentine's Day Sweets — The Worst Candy and Chocolate: We find the worst Valentine's Day sweets so you don't have to!Unclogged: Mario Batali's Valentine's Day Menu: Mario Batali shares recipes for his ideal Valentine's menu.Serious Sandwiches: Valentine's Day Edition: Zach Brooks devours a vegetable jardiniere sandwich from New York City's Bouchon Bakery.Black Bottom Cupcakes Recipe: These rich chocolate cupcakes are filled with a cream cheese filling studded with chocolate chunks. No frosting required!The Only Valentine's Day Chocolate Guide You'll Ever Need: Ed Levine recommends these chocolatiers for holiday gift giving.... More

Weekend Book Giveaway: 'Secret Ingredients, the New Yorker Book of Food and Drink'

The Serious Eats Weekend Book Giveaway is back with a vengeance this holiday weekend with a really cool book, Secret Ingredients: The New Yorker Book of Food and Drink, edited by New Yorker Editor-in-Chief David Remnick. The book features food and drink-related stories and cartoons that have appeared in the New Yorker by such heavyweights as Calvin Trillin, Anthony Bourdain, A. J. Liebling, Jim Harrison, John McPhee, and Roz Chast. It's the perfect bedside table companion for serious eaters. Thanks to the generous folks at Random House, we've got seven copies of this book to give away. Just answer the following question in the comments: Who is your favorite food writer? Winners will be chosen at random from among the... More

Photo of the Day: Caramel Fleur de Sel Macarons

I know I just posted a photo of a caramel macaron and not long before that a different beautiful baked treat by Mad Baker, but I couldn't not post her stack of perfect macarons because it's rare to come across such macaron excellence. ...Okay, maybe not so rare for Mad Baker, but I wanted to point it out for the rest of us plebeians who will never reach her level of baking prowess. Previously: Where to find macarons, and another http://www.seriouseats.com/required_eating/2007/06/photo-of-the-day-black-sesame.html">macaron-filled Photo of the Day from Mad Baker because I just can't help myself.... More

In the News: School Meat Probe, Starbucks Temp Closing, Buzz-Inducing Candy

U.S. school meat supply to be inspected: Lawmakers are demanding an investigation into food supplied to schools across the U.S. after a Chino meatpacking company was shut down last week. [LA Times] Starbucks to temporarily shut down for training: Don't rely on Starbucks for your caffeine fix come Feb. 26th -- all shops will close from 5:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. to retrain its baristas with updated standards. The next sweet-tooth trend: energy candy: The candy industry is taking aim at the energy drink market by offering caffeine-spiked treats like Snickers Charged, Extreme Sports Beans, and Jolt Mints. [WSJ]... More

Fresh Food on TV: Weekend Edition

With all the channels on broadcast TV and cable—and the inevitable episode repeats—it's hard to sort out what's new or worthwhile. This week we launched Fresh Food on TV—a weekly guide to what's new (or notable) on weeknight food television, so you don't miss anything worth watching. In the beginning of the week, we'll post weekday lists, and on Fridays, we'll post a weekend list for Saturday and Sunday viewing. This feature is a work in progress, so if there's a program you feel we've overlooked or something you'd like to see added to the list, let us know. We'd like this feature to be as useful to everyone as possible. Times may vary with region; check your local listings... More

Look Who's Talkin': Recent Comments We Have Known And Loved

The useful, thoughtful, and funny discussions in Talk keep us clicking, reading, and grinning. Looking back at the week past, here's just a handful of our favorite threads and comments. When do you offer to share a bite? "I grew up in a family in which everyone ate as though the meal was about to be taken away from them, and they would actually (unconsciously?) protect their plate by holding the roll/muffin/toast in one hand and surround their plate with their arm, while using the fork/spoon with the other hand. We always knew that trying to get any part of food from someone else's plate would probably result in the loss of a limb or two." – Traveller I... More

Cheatin' on La Caja China with Tosilog

For those of us without backyards, it’s tough to sate a hankering for moist roast pork with shiny laquered cracklins. As much as I’d like to park a Caja China in my Chicago condo and vent the porky smoke out to the street, I’m afraid the hundred year old timber trusses, which happen to be as dry as an AA convention, would somehow spontaneously combust. So it’s with great relief that I can at least head up to the north side and drop maybe the best $6 of my week for some tosilog at Tapsilog at Iba Pa.... More

In Videos: Cute Hedgehog Eating

If all hedgehogs look this cute while eating, witnessing an an army of them eating hedgehog treats at the same time could result in death by onslaught of cuteness. With my brain frozen in a permanent state of "aw," I could barely move while watching this guy chomp on his orange nubbin for 41 seconds. Stare at the hedgehog after the jump. Don't miss the tongue flicking action at the end. [via Cute Overload]... More

Southern Foodways: Bar Culture in Louisville, Kentucky — An Oral History Project

Louisville is awash in bourbon. And beer. It's a drinking person’s town, due in no small part to the state’s bourbon heritage and the city’s nickname-namesake brewery, Falls City. This is where the Old Fashioned was invented. It’s where Al Capone dodged the law during prohibition. And it’s where barkeeps plied their customers with rolled oysters and bean soup to keep them coming back. More

$5 Pizza-Making Lessons at Nick & Toni’s

Brian Halweil of Edible Communities and editor of Edible East End checks in with great meal ideas in East Hampton, New York. You know it’s February when Nick & Toni’s on North Main Street in East Hampton is serving $5 pizzas. But that’s not all. This forerunner of haute barnyard on the East End, with its big veggie garden in the back and its stable of celebrity clients in the front that challenges even the most connected to get a table in summer, has rolled out a number of customer-generating innovations this slow season. A friend recently returned from pizza night with his two sons covered in dust and proudly toting one slice of each of their pizzas that they... More

Is 'Authentic' Ethnic Food By Definition Better? Does Authentic Trump Delicious?

In a New York Times op-ed piece, Fred Ferretti decries both the lack of authentic Chinese food in America and the misinformation about Chinese food conveyed by various news organizations and cookbook authors. He ends up challenging the talented Chinese chefs cooking in America to "step up" in so many words and challenge our palates by cooking authentic Chinese food. How is Ferretti wrong? Let me count the ways.... More

Can I Take Your Picture?

"Are you a blogger too? Give me your camera. I’ll take a really blurry, close-up picture of the grapefruit in my salad. When do you think people are going to start making fun of bloggers?" —Danny Meyer [via Dan D.]... More

Photo of the Day: We Could Sizzle Together

Artist Dan Goodsell has recently put up a few cute Valentine's Day-themed illustrations in his Flickr. I especially like the one with Shaky Bacon. Because everything is better with bacon. Previously: Dan Goodsell's "We Like Pie" illustration.... More

Happy Ballantine's Day

Ballantine Ale may no longer be a hit beer—the glory days fell apart during the '60s—but if you close your eyes, an Olde English 800 should do the trick. Once the fourth largest brewer in the 1940s and 50s, the ale later became a pop culture icon in an SNL skit in 2003, and two years later, a Notorious B.I.G. reference in his hit, "Long Kiss Goodnight." As Biggie Smalls professes: "distribute to kids who, take heart like Valentine, drink Ballantine, all the time." So drink up, kids.... More

Conjoined Conversation Hearts = Candy Monstrosity

Give your Valentine a box of conversation hearts and watch as their face melts with complete disappointment. But give them a giant, heart-shaped blob of conversation hearts fused together by baking and, oh, those sparks will fly! Previously: anatomically correct heart sculpture made of conversation hearts.... More

Des Moines' Blue Ribbon Bacon Festival

If you live around Des Moines, Iowa and don't know what you're doing March 1st, here's your solution: attend the Blue Ribbon Bacon Festival. $30 will get you six hours of bacon-filled activities! More information at Bacon Unwrapped.... More

A Sweet Note of Thanks

Thank you notes get a "sweet" upgrade with Tokyo Super Sweets' Arigachoco. Based on a fusion of the Japanese word for "thank you" (arigato) and "chocolate," these chocolates (green tea-flavored, enrobed in a white chocolate coating) come with a QR code on the box. Scan the code with your cell phone and you'll receive a message of thanks that the sender picked for you (all ending cutely with "Arigachoco!"). Saves you from buying all that unnecessary stationery, eh? [via Trends in Japan]... More

In Videos: Chocolate Love

Have you ever wondered what chocolates do on Valentine's Day? Contrary to popular belief, they're not just inanimate objects incapable of showing true love—they can totally get their freak on. Watch the chocolate mating ritual after the jump. Somewhat NSFW, more so if you have your sound turned up.... More

In Gear: How to Season Carbon Steel Pans

Though I rarely used it to make crepes, for which it performed rather poorly, I had always appreciated the design of my flimsy, nonstick crepe pan. As it was, it mostly just made for a great quesadilla toasting pan, its short sides making it easier to maneuver and flip without losing filling. But in my mind’s eye—much heavier and made of a material capable of maintaining heat—the pan’s wide, shallow form became a stage on which perfectly cooked pancakes flipped and crisp-skinned fish fillets sizzled. When, a few weeks ago, I found myself in a kitchen shop looking right into the expansive face of an inexpensive carbon steel crepe pan, there was no resistance.... More

Black Garlic Chocolates

You've got your milk chocolate, dark, white, and ... garlic? Takko Shoji of Aomori, Japan, has been developing "black garlic chocolate" there. Fermented black garlic is coated with chocolate and sprinkled with cocoa powder. It's got a "sweet-and-sour taste resembling prunes, with the bittersweet taste of chocolate." Perfect for your adventurous valentine (although I'm not sure how much kissing will be done afterwards). [via Japundit]... More

Ed Levine's Serious Diet: Week 6, Are Flavor Intensifiers One of the Keys to Losing Weight?

I'm a flavor junkie. I don't like muted, subtle flavors. I like rock 'em, sock 'em, kick-you-in-the-head flavors. Foods like bacon, aged cheese, aged steak, cheeseburgers, and sausage pizza make my heart sing and my stomach satisfied. But it doesn't take a diet guru to look at the aforementioned list and see red flags everywhere. This week I have started figuring out how to make long, deep flavors work for me on my diet. I now lead the nation in grater use. I grate terrific, full-fat, aged cheese every day and use it judiciously on just about everything, and I think it's gonna work for me when I get on the scale. I have discovered Oscar Mayer real bacon bits... More

Broken Arrows: Unlovable Valentine's Day Sweets — The Worst Candy and Chocolate

Candy can be a beautiful thing, but throw Valentine's Day into the equation and suddenly every candy company unloads the kitschiest, tackiest, most undelicious confection onto the shelves. Sometimes it's the thought that counts, but other times, it's just a waste of perfectly good sugar—and, potentially, a relationship killer. We went on a hunt to find the best of the worst so you could see how bad it really is out there. More

Starbucks Trembles

Chemical engineers at Nestlé have invented a machine that can distinguish between good and bad espresso nearly as accurately as trained espresso tasters. The machine is meant to be used as a quality control device in the coffee industry. [via engadget, title from Chris Fredette]... More

Photo of the Day: Caramel Macaron from Ladurée

Photograph from Sara Rosso on Flickr Caramel macarons from Paris's Ladurée stand out from the rest because they're filled with pure, gooey caramel instead of the more widely used caramel cream. If you need any more reason to visit Paris, stare into the heart of the macaron's "money shot," taken by Sara Rosso. Previously: Sara takes beautiful photos of pretty much everything, such as this sliced pear and Nutella. If you don't know what macarons are, be sure to read our introduction to French macarons.... More

In the News: Greener Restaurants, Pepsi Raw, Darker Milk Chocolate, Chopstick Wars

More restaurants going green: Through organic products, energy-saving utilities, or implementing better recycling methods, an increasing number of restaurants are jumping on the "green trend" and making more environmentally-conscious decisions in order to cut costs. [NY Times] Pepsi offers healthy all-natural soda: Healthy... soda? Pepsi is coming out with Pepsi Raw, which contains natural ingredients and contains no artificial preservatives, colors, flavorings or sweeteners. [Daily Mail]... More

Green Lanterns: The Midori Chochin Movement

Next time you're in Japan and you're trying to eat local, look for one of these green lanterns. Called midori chochin, any restaurants with these lanterns (based on the traditional red paper lanterns) indicate that they use domestic ingredients in their dishes. The system works on a five-star ranking scale, helpfully displayed on the lantern. Restaurants using locally produced ingredients for more than 50 percent of their cooking are awarded one star; five stars mean the restaurants source 90 percent or more ingredients locally. However, it's not a formal certification, since the movement is focused simply on raising awareness of eating locally, and restaurants only need to self-declare their status to apply for a lantern. On the other hand, this... More

Serious Sandwiches: Valentine's Day Edition

Surprisingly, I actually like Valentine’s Day. Maybe it's not that big a surprise since I have someone I love, and against all odds, she actually loves me back (food obsessions and all). I know you can do nice things for people you care about “anytime you want,” but there’s something about Valentine’s Day that I like. Maybe it’s that you have an excuse to do something on a weeknight that you may not do otherwise. Last year my wife and I had the best Valentine’s Day—it involved a movie, some wine, and, of course, a pair of serious sandwiches. Fancy dinners and expensive flowers are nice, but I think hidden food snuck into a movie (with alcohol pairing of... More

In Videos: Pounding Mochi

Pounding mochi, or cakes made out of glutinous rice, is a traditional New Year's activity in Japan. After the jump, watch these expert Japanese mochi pounders alternate hitting the mochi with a ginormous wooden mallet and turning and wetting the mochi by hand at breakneck speed without smashing any human bones. [via Cha Xiu Bao]... More

What Flavor Is Your Heart?

Cosmic Chocolate's Carly Baumann knows how to groove with the best of them. Her lips—and her chocolates—are always sparkling, and her candymaking goal, in her own words, is to "create luscious bites of elation and share with you our feelings of desire, expectancy, and satisfaction." So, no, Baumann didn't just pour melted chocolate into heart-shape molds, pop them out, and tie them up with red ribbons this Valentine's Day. Instead, she developed the Cosmic Bliss Heart Collection, whose flavors—Espresso Cognac, Lemon Basil, Black Current Violet, "Gianduya," Peanut Butter Honey, Passion Fruit, Red Hot Cinnamon, Sea Salt Caramel, and Strawberry Champagne—anticipate the full range of libidinous urges. The entire nine-piece collection costs $20. And in case you want to experiment elsewhere,... More

The Space Time Continuum Is at Risk

Galaxies collide and the space-time continuum is at risk: Two Wednesday food sections, two very similar articles: The New York Times with I Love You, but You Love Meat, and the San Francisco Chronice beams down Odd couples: Culinarily mismatched mates achieve harmony in the kitchen.... More

In the News: Trader Joe's Bans Chinese Imports; Better Dollar Menu Deals

Starbucks teams up with AT&T for Wi-Fi service: Starbucks and AT&T will now offer both free and paid Wi-Fi access in Starbucks coffee shops starting this spring. AT&T broadband customers will have unlimited free Wi-Fi access. [NY Times] Food conference to promote Scottish food: Scotland will aim to raise its culinary reputation in the world by holding the first national Scotland Food and Drink conference, which will discuss topics like food tourism, industry policies, and environmental issues. [BBC] Trader Joe's to stop selling food imported from China: Grocery chain Trader Joe's will no longer carry any products that list ingredients sourced from China in response to all of the contamination scares originating from Chinese imports. [Chicago Tribune]... More

Photo of the Day: Doughnut Sandwich

Hannah Kaminsky of BitterSweet didn't intend to make doughnut sandwiches filled with maple frosting, but when her homemade baked doughnuts came out flat-topped, it was the only way to salvage the fat doughnut bottoms. Some of the best ideas come out of mistakes! [via tastespotting] Previously: How to Eat Cupcakes—sandwich the frosting between the cake!... More

Fresh Food on TV

With all the channels on broadcast TV and cable—and the inevitable episode repeats—it's hard to sort out what's new or worthwhile. So we're launching Fresh Food on TV with this post—a weekly guide to what's new (or notable) on weeknight food television, so you don't miss anything worth watching. And, on Fridays, we'll post a weekend list for Saturday and Sunday viewing. This feature is a work in progress, so if there's a program you feel we've overlooked or something you'd like to see added to the list, let us know. We'd like this feature to be as useful to everyone as possible. Times may vary with region; check your local listings for exact hour and channels.... More

Coffee Union: For Doughnuts in Paris

There's no lack of good food in Paris, but after prolonged gorging on all those buttery. flaky pastries and crusty baguettes you might just to crawl back into the sweet, deep-fried ring of a good ol' American-style doughnut. The answer to your Parisian doughnut woes may be found at Coffee Union, which currently offers 13 types of doughnuts. At €14.90 for a dozen doughnuts (or $1.80 per doughnut), those doughnuts ought to be pretty damn tasty, or you better have an intense doughnut craving. Coffee Union also sells sandwiches, bagels, smoothies, and cheesecake, and offers free wifi. [via Girl and the City] Coffee Union Address: 11 Boulevard des Filles du Calvaire, 75003 Paris, France (map) Phone: 01 42 77... More

Best Sugar High from Lingerie Ever

Candy necklaces are so PG. Go for this saucy bra and G-string set instead, made of sweet Smarties-like beads. In 2006, talk show diva Kelly Ripa received one from Rege, and while catwalking across the stage in her new brasserie she yelled, “This could be the greatest gift I've ever got!” Not bad for $8.95. After the jump, Ripa models the candy bra. More

Unclogged: Mario Batali's Valentine's Day Menu

This year for Valentine's Day, I'm taking my kids and wife, Susi, out for our traditional fondue fest at Artisanal. We all send Susi a dozen wacky flowers (never roses—way too common), and then it's out for the first seating at 5:30 p.m. for some cheese and chocolate, and then home early! My ideal menu celebrates the most mysterious and romantic town of Italia—Venezia—and is based on Carnevale, which always falls near, and sometimes overlaps, with Valentine's Day. The celebration is simple and based on seafood and birds from the Venetian lagoon—or the closest lagoon to you.... More

In Videos: Cookin with Coolio: Coolio Caprese Salad

Get yo' ass to the table—Coolio's in the kitchen and he wants to teach you how to make his caprese salad. To please the ladies. ...Or whoever else you want to feed a salad to. Watch the kitchen magic after the jump and make sure to click on the video to read the ingredients and instructions. Let's just say it's not your typical recipe. (Warning: NSFW.) [via Eater]... More

Valentine's Day Chocolate Giveaway

You didn't think we'd leave you hangin' for Valentine's Day, did you? Of course not. Thanks to the generosity and Valentine's Day spirit of Charles Chocolates founder Chuck Siegel, we are giving away one of his Heart Collections (featuring an edible box) today. That means every box of chocolate will arrive in time to present it on Valentine's Day to your valentine.... More

NPR Interview With Greg Patent On Ethnic Baking

If you're interested in learning about baked goods from around the world, check out NPR's interview with Greg Patent, author of A Baker's Odyssey, his cookbook that features the recipes of immigrants from over 30 countries. During the interview he makes his grandma's recipe for cheese sambouseks, "the Iraqi version of empanaditas." [Thanks to Jeffrey for the heads up.]... More

What Is a Tomme?

Photograph from Wikimedia Commons Literally speaking, tomme is French for "wheel of cheese." Unsurprisingly, this not-so-descriptive term is used to refer to a wide array of cheeses, many of which are of medium size and weight and made in the mountains of the Haute-Savoie in France. Across the border, the Italians make a related cheese that has a similar name: toma. But can we get any more specific? Do tommes share any unique qualities that separate them from other varieties?... More

See's Chocolates: Have You See-n the Light?

Growing up in New York our local boxed chocolate of choice was either Barton's or Barricini's. That was what my grandmother would have at her apartment in the Bronx. I don't know if either of them was any better than Whitman's or Russell Stover, but they were my grandmother's choice and she doted on me, so I loved those chocolates. When I moved out to Los Angeles for my senior year of high school I was crushed to find no boxed candy I recognized. There was See's right near our house, but out of loyalty to my grandmother's choices, I never went in. Fast forward almost 40 years later. A month ago I found myself searching for a reasonably priced... More

Photo of the Day: Robot Cupcakes

I didn't think hello naomi's cupcakes could get any cooler, but then she churns out these interchangable robot cupcakes and I know it probably won't get any better than that. We may have reached the pinnacle of cute and geeky cupcake art. [via Geekadelphia and Neatorama] Previously: Super Mario Cupcakes and Sweet Cupcakes by hello naomi.... More

Say It With Chocolate...Fish

Don't know what to get for that special someone this Valentine's Day? How about a chocolate fish to embody your limitless love? It comes accompanied by the witty sayings, "You're A Keeper" and "I'm Hooked On You." Get it?...yeah, okay. [via Candy Addict]... More

Messy Tablecloth

AZE Design's "Messy Tablecloth" celebrates the fun of a haphazard meal by featuring stitched outlines of plates and utensils along with a surprise spill. [via swissmiss]... More

Dolphin: Friend or Food?

"The sounds of waves crashing onto a rocky shore mingle in Taiji with the screeching wails of dolphins being chopped and hacked to death by fishermen." Residents of Taiji, Japan have been eating dolphin for over a century, but social pressures and high levels of mercury challenge their culture of dolphin-eating.... More

In Videos: Hasbro Pie Face Game Commercial (1960s)

"You'll never know when you'll be hit!" It's like Russian roulette, but with cream pies! According to this commercial, if you plonk your kids down to a game of Pie Face they'll have fun beyond their wildest imaginations. They'll be crazed with happiness. They won't be able to stop shrilling with glee. As long as you supply the whipped cream, the madness will never end. [via metafilter]... More

Valentine's Day Chocolate Giveaway

You didn't think we'd leave you hangin' for Valentine's Day, did you? Of course not. Thanks to the generosity and Valentine's Day spirit of Charles Chocolates founder Chuck Siegel, we are giving away one of his Heart Collections (featuring an edible box) today. That means every box of chocolate will arrive in time to present it on Valentine's Day to your valentine.... More

No Steroids-Enhanced Chicken for Olympians in China

Eat chicken in China and you might fail a steroids test. Because of issues with tainted food in China, the United States Olympic Committee has made arrangements with sponsors like Kellogg's and Tyson Foods to ship 25,000 pounds of lean protein to China for the Olympic games. Local vendors and importers will be used to obtain other foods and cooking equipment.... More

Snapshots from Asia: Washing Machine Salad for the Lunar New Year

This Wednesday will be the seventh day of the Lunar New Year, also known as “Ren Ri”—the universal birthday of man. Celebrating families have been feasting for an entire week on a myriad of goodies, but the one festive staple is Yu Sheng—a pun on the Chinese terms for "abundance and growth" which literally means “raw fish.” More

How Do You Feel About Valentine's Day?

I love my wife to pieces, but I don't like Valentine's Day. Valentine's Day puts so much pressure on all of us to show our love in so many superficial ways. How are we supposed to show our love? With chocolate, flowers, jewelry, and fancy dinners. And it's these supposed-tos that get us all in trouble because people's expectations often don't match up. Flowers from my local Korean market or grocery store might not do if my wife is expecting an expensive arrangement. My own standards would never let me give her Russell Stover chocolates. And the fancy dinners? Many restaurateurs don't show us much love on Valentine's Day. They double their prices and offer set menus featuring supposedly aphrodisiacal... More

Nacho Cheese Fountain

Never before had I seen anything so marvelous that involve melted cheese product until the the nacho cheese fountain graced my monitor. DJ Grocery, creator of the mind-blowing General Tso's Philly cheesesteak, couldn't resist the temptation to fill his wife's chocolate fountain machine with cheese. I hear ya, man...I hear ya. It turns out cheese fountains are acceptable alternatives to chocolate fountains, along with barbecue sauce fountains and egg nog fountains. However, I'd rather believe that the ideas behind these non-chocolate fountains come about because while staring quizzically at the ornamental food display contraption someone thinks, "Well, I'm gonna fill this with [insert questionable liquifiable food product], and no one's going to stop me."... More

Valentine's Day Chocolate Giveaway

You didn't think we'd leave you hangin' for Valentine's Day, did you? Of course not. Thanks to the generosity and Valentine's Day spirit of Charles Chocolates founder Chuck Siegel, we are giving away one of his Heart Collections (featuring an edible box) every day on the site today and tomorrow. That means every box of chocolate will arrive in time to present it on Valentine's Day to your valentine.... More

Times Bites

New York Times food-related stories worth checking out if you have the time: A jazz musician dons a chef's toque to cook a Marcella Hazan-inspired Valentine's Day feast for his wife. A legitimately sweet Valentine's Day story. Peter Meehan checks out the latest soba noodle temple, Soba Totto. Some day I'd like to go on a soba noodle tour of New York. Where should I go? People with OCD (Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder) battle powerful demons in restaurants. Mark Bittman cooks up shrimp with sun-dried tomatoes. Do the sun-dried tomatoes overwhelm the shrimp?... More

Sunday Reading

Michael Laiskonis writes about the "amber liquid gold" that is beurre noisette, with recipes for financiers and brown butter ice cream. The New York Times Magazine makes the case for a nutritional and sustainable food source: insects: "After all, if Americans love shrimp and lobster, why won’t they eat their terrestrial cousins?" The New York Times profiles the "Wisconsin Candy Delta", somehow neglecting to mention the very good Candinas. Ooooh, pretty slide show. Ruth Reichl interviews Marcus Samuelsson on the opening of his new restaurant, Merkato 55. Grub Street has a preview with pictures. Gourmet praises Sriracha: "Put it on any old thing, and that thing—empanadas, a plate of scrambled eggs, whatever—will turn into something gloriously, fabulously new. Sriracha imparts... More

Sampler Platter: Hot Posts from the Serious Eats Team

Items you may have missed from the Serious Eats universe ... Baking maven Dorie Greenspan shares a chocolate pudding recipe and her thoughts on using a food processor as pudding shortcut. [DorieGreenspan.com] Sandwich man Zach Brooks reports on a Friday Lenten option for New York office workers in the form of his favorite fried fish sandwich. [Midtown Lunch]Our resident cheesemonger Jamie Forrest visits an urban cheese cave at Murrays' Cheese. [Curd Nerds] Chicago correspondent Michael Nagrant rounds up some of Chicago's best bowls of soups, stews, and chili. [Hungry Mag]... More

Valentine's Day Chocolate Giveaway

You didn't think we'd leave you hangin' for Valentine's Day, did you? Of course not. Thanks to the generosity and Valentine's Day spirit of Charles Chocolates founder Chuck Siegel, we are giving away one of his Heart Collections (featuring an edible box) every day on the site today through Monday. That means every box of chocolate will arrive in time to present it on Valentine's Day to your valentine.... More

Photo of the Day: Pasta Outbreak

This is what happens when your kitchen pukes. From Marlene Haring's art installation Heute bleibt die Küche kalt, wir gehen in den Wienerwald ("Today the kitchen remains unused; we're going to the Wienerwald). [via the new shelton wet/dry]... More

Energy Drinks: Which Ones Are the Best?

...after drinking thirteen different cans of energy drinks over the course of a long weekend I am convinced that my opinion is completely awesome and I could—if needed—run completely through the living room wall into the neighboring apartment. And that's the effect that comparing and reviewing 13 energy drinks will have on you, folks.... More

Southern Foodways: The Hog Killing Workshop

Southern Foodways appears on Fridays as part of our collaboration with the Southern Foodways Alliance, an organization based in Oxford, Mississippi, that "documents and celebrates the diverse food cultures of the American South." Dig in! A few months ago, just as the weather was turning cold, I waxed nostalgic about hog killing. I included some pictures of the practice and an essay from Southern Food Alliance member Evan Hatch. At The Old South Farm Museum and Agricultural Learning Center, they don’t just talk about, write about, or photograph hog killing—they actually do it. And, if you ask nicely, they’ll let you help. The Woodland, Georgia museum traces Southern rural life from the 1800s to the 1960s. On the property you’ll... More

Look Who's Talkin': Recent Comments We Have Known And Loved

The useful, thoughtful, and funny discussions in Talk keep us clicking, reading, and grinning. Looking back at the week past, here's just a handful of our favorite threads and comments. Looking to get rid of high-fructose corn syrup from your diet? "The easiest way to avoid it is not to eat processed foods... no more snacks, no more sodas, no more cheap candies. Definitely read labels on anything that has more than one ingredient in it. If you must have snacks, make your own." – seyo Emergency HUNGER ATTACK Food? "I definitely keep a stash of food at work for emergencies, but somehow that stash keeps growing bigger and bigger and I look like a food hoarder (I need... More

Pig Butchering Guide T-Shirts Are Here

Rock the latest in pork-related fashion—our favorite Pig Butchering Guide is now available in the form of t-shirts, bags, and other wearables. Now it's up to you to spread the gospel of delicious pig parts. Thank you, Carl!... More

My Local Valentine

Brian Halweil of Edible Communities and editor of Edible East End with Valentine's presents that are all the more sweet for being local to the East End of New York's Long Island. Just as the New York Times style mavens tell us that organic and fair-trade nosegays are becoming as popular as similarly conscientious comestibles, here’s a short list of locally raised, baked, and brewed Valentine’s gifts to arouse your lover’s passion while reducing her carbon footprint.... More

Valentine's Day Chocolate Giveaway

You didn't think we'd leave you hangin' for Valentine's Day, did you? Of course not. Thanks to the generosity and Valentine's Day spirit of Charles Chocolates founder Chuck Siegel (he correctly decided Chuck Chocolates was not a good name for his company), we are giving away one of his Heart Collections (featuring an edible box) every day on the site today through Monday. That means every box of chocolate will arrive in time to present it on Valentine's Day to your valentine.... More

Serious Eats Downtime

Things may have seemed unusually quiet yesterday on Serious Eats. That's because we had to conduct some emergency maintenance on our servers beginning shortly after 10 a.m. ET yesterday and ending this morning at approximately 5:25 a.m. ET. During that time, we were unable to publish anything to the website, including your comments. The good news is, no comments submitted during this emergency maintenance window were lost. Late last night we took all Serious Eats sites offline to complete repairs, and she's now as good as new! We apologize for this downtime and thank you for your patience. Now back to our regularly scheduled program!... More

Chinese New Year Recipes

Today marks the first day of Chinese New Year, the Year of the Rat. Although the holiday marks the time for people to clean up their homes, reorganize their lives, pay respect to their ancestors, appease the Kitchen God, and conjure up enough luck to last them through the rest of the year, everyone knows that the central element to celebrating the new year is to stuff yourself with lots of food. Foods chosen for Chinese New year tend to carry auspicious meanings. Wealth may be symbolized by whole fish, dried tofu, oranges, egg rolls, and dumplings. Long life may be represented by "long foods," such as noodles and string beans. All of the above and more relate to luck... More

In Videos: My Incredibly Cool Toaster

Does anyone need a toaster with an automatic bread slice descending mechanism and an opening with its own retractable cover? Probably not. But hey, people don't need widescreen flat panel TVs either. And I do have one of those, even though this toaster would probably be more useful. Watch this guy's incredibly cool toaster in action, after the jump.... More

Kitchen Campaigning

Show off your favorite election '08 candidate while you're cooking with these patriotic aprons over at CafePress, whether you're a Hillary, Obama, McCain or Romney supporter. [Via The Kitchn]... More

Impress Your Valentine With Cookie Stamps

Ceramic cookie stamps Making sweets for your sweet this Valentine’s Day? Consider cookie stamps. As their name suggests, cookie stamps are usually employed to make imprinted cookies. However, they can also be used with marzipan, firm fondants (think peppermint patty-type filling or wedding cake covering), edible modeling chocolate, even tootsie rolls—anything plastic enough to take and hold an impression—turning simple sweets into beautifully filigreed mignons with the barest commitment of time and effort. For those less inclined to make their gifts, the stamps, which make lovely kitchen display objects as much as useful decorating tools, make for thoughtful gifts in their own right. Available in a staggering array of designs and motifs—from florid hearts to fire breathing dragons, austere initials... More

Ed Levine's Serious Diet Week 5: Can 'Start Living, Stop Dieting' Work for a Food Writer?

Every day I ride the subway to Serious Eats world headquarters surrounded by the "Start Living, Stop Dieting" Weight Watchers ads. It's a brilliant campaign, one I want to believe in with all my heart and soul. But there's just one question I have for the good folks at Weight Watchers: Does it apply to food writers? It seems to me that the Weight Watchers slogan is just another way to say what was the late Julia Child's mantra: Everything in moderation. That's what I've been trying to practice, but it ain't easy. Every week the sirens of fat tempt me with goodies and temptations, some of my own making. Take this week, for example.... More

In the News: Banned Beef, Dangers of Diet Soda, Does Rat Taste Like Chicken?

LA beef supplier shut down: Hallmark Meat Packing of Chino, California, has been shut down after videos exposed inhumane treatment of cattle at the slaughterhouse; many schools and chain restaurants are looking to ban the Chino beef. [LA Times] Diet soda drinkers at risk for metabolic syndrome: A new study reveals a link between drinking diet soda and metabolic syndrome, which could put you at a risk for cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and high cholesterol and blood pressure levels. [NY Times] FDA issues toxic fish advisory: Fish just can't seem to get a break these days. Ciguatera fish (such as snapper, amberjack, grouper and barracuda) caught in the Gulf of Mexico have been blamed for 28 reported cases of fish poisoning... More

Come on in 'The Kitchn'

Each Wednesday we round up our favorite posts from our friends at The Kitchn and share them with you. The "Good Question" column on The Kitchn answers the query "What can I bake without an oven?" Seems like the inquirer has moved to an apartment in Europe without said appliance. Kitchn blogger Faith answers with a great roundup that points to the best toaster oven, a good countertop oven, and several recipes for nonbaked treats that obviate the need for an oven altogether.... More

Photo of the Day: Pineapple Tarts

Photograph from Mad Baker on Flickr In preparation for Chinese New Year, which starts tomorrow, Mad Baker made these adorable pineapple tarts, a symbol for good luck. If you celebrate holiday, I hope you have a stomach-busting Chinese New Year's Eve feast tonight!... More

Magnetic Cup Decoration and Storage

Kitchen double-duty: decorate and save room with these Chain-Link Cups, which conserve space conveniently by way of magnets. Check 'em out over at IN/ALT, which includes more fun and innovative tableware. [Via Fun and Food]... More

Behold the Bacon Pig

Image created by Carl Huber Carl Huber used his 110% accurate "Pig Butchering Guide" to help him create his baconpig, a somewhat pig-shaped mass made mostly out of bacon, ground pork, and a hot dog. Carl sums up the process as so: "I took the pork hot dog, encased it in ground pork, and wrapped it in bacon." Get ready to feast your eyes on the "turducken of pork." It kind of looks like Piglet! Related A Pirate Ship Made of Meat Bacon-Wrapped Turkey: You Know You Want It Bacon Mat Reloaded: BLT Nobody Wants to Enter the Bacon Tomb... More

Mark 'The Minimalist' Bittman Now Blogging

For someone who writes under the column title "The Minimalist," the New York Times food columnist, cookbook author, and television personality Mark Bittman sure seems to have set an expansive focus on his new New York Times blog Bitten. Besides the stripped-down easy-to-follow recipes he's known for: We’ll also bat around the big ideas that foodies sometimes ignore: how it gets produced and moved from one place to another, as well as who pays for it and profits from it.... What else? There will be other regular features as well — loads of new recipes; guest posters; Minimalist video clips...; reports from my (and your) food-related travels; and more.... More

Serious Sandwiches: General Tso's Philly Cheesesteak

Photograph of General Tso's Philly Cheesesteak from DJ Grocery Coming up with a theme for this week's sandwich should have been easy. Yesterday was Fat Tuesday, but po'boys have been pretty well covered here on Serious Eats. It was also Super Tuesday, but I couldn't seem to find any mention of candidates' favorite sandwiches. Tomorrow is the start of the Chinese New Year, but "Year of the Rat" does not exactly make for sandwich inspiration.... More

In Videos: Cutting of Blowfish (Fugu) in Japan

If a specially licensed Japanese chef doesn't correctly cut fugu—a potentially fatally poisonous blowfish—he could kill the diner. If you ever order fugu, just hope your chef is as skilled as the one above. Watch the fugu go from whole fish to plated dish after the jump. A warning for the squeamish: The fish is prepared while it's still alive. [via growabrain]... More

North Carolina Barbecue in Arizona

"Vel's pulled pork sandwich, the result of 12 hours of loving labor and 50 years of practice, ought to replace the saguaro cactus as emblem of the Old Pueblo." Bon Appétit profiles Art's BBQ Restaurant in Tuscon, Arizona.... More

The Story of the Nocturne and the Noble One

The first time I saw a Guittard's Nocturne 91% Cacao Extra Dark Chocolate Bar (which quietly crept onto the market last July) was at the New York Chocolate Show. Guittard's director of sales Mark Spini handed one to me. And, just as quickly, he snatched it away. "You can't eat this now," he said. You see, I was hanging around the Guittard booth with Andrew Shotts of Garrison Confections (Guittard's former pastry chef) and Amy Rosenfield of the Mon Aimee Chocolat boutique in Pittsburgh (which keeps both Guittard and Garrison products in stock). And we were drinking a bottle of Zinfandel. Mark explained that I couldn't possibly taste his super-dark, super-complex bar with a wine as heavy as a Zin.... More

Spice Gun

In the future, there will be no need to reach across the table for your salt and pepper; just ask your dining companions to shoot it right onto your food with the spice gun! [via bb gadgets]... More

Wired's Molecular Gastronomy FAQ

From Wired's Molecular Gastronomy FAQ: Is that extremely cool or extremely lame? I can't decide. Well, it costs about 250 bucks for a meal. That might throw it one way or the other for you. On the other hand, it often involves lasers, and it has been mathematically proven that everything with lasers is cool.... More

The Only Valentine's Day Chocolate Guide You'll Ever Need

Chocolate malt balls from Jacques Torres Valentine's Day is fast approaching and you've got to deliver the goods. You cannot go wrong ordering from any chocolatier I mention below—each one on my list represents fair value when it comes to chocolate. Good chocolate is made with high-quality expensive ingredients by people with know-how and experience. When it comes to chocolate, you don't always get what you pay for, but with these particular makers that is indeed the case. This isn't the first time I have tried to come to your aid chocolatewise. Holiday time in 2006 I tried to get people to give chocolate every day of the 12 days of Christmas by renaming the holiday Chocomas—alas, nobody embraced this... More

Chocs for Obama

Just in time for Super Tuesday and Valentine's Day: send some Democrat love with a box of Obama chocolate truffles filled with espresso-Cognac ganache. While you're at it, why not pair 'em with his supporter Oprah (who comes raspberry ganache)? Four pieces go for $12.00 at Cosmic Chocolate Shop. [Via The Nibble]... More

In the News: Dumpling Probe, Restaurants Might Ban Obese Customers, Food Network Magazine

Dumplings could have been contaminated on purpose: Japanese authorities are investigating the pesticide-ridden Chinese-made dumplings case as being a possible murder attempt, citing that the poison was found in a higher concentration than what is normally expected from ordinary pesticide residue. [Associated Press] Mississippi bill could ban restaurants from serving obese people: A new bill, if passed, could make it illegal for restaurants in Mississippi to serve food to obese customers. [Kansas City] Hog brain exposure at slaughterhouse could be source of neurological disease: A mysterious neurological illness that has been affecting workers at Quality Pork Processors Plant in Minnesota is being traced back to their exposure to hog brains during the extraction process. [NY Times]... More

Happy Pancake Day: Stop-Motion Pancake-Making Video

Why is today so exciting? Because it's Super Tuesday? Maybe...but also because it's Pancake Day! Everyone can celebrate this glorious holiday because everyone likes pancakes. It's an unwritten law. Show your love for pancakes by whipping up a stack of pancakes. Fat, thick, plain, syruped, however you like. If you want some inspiration, check out the fun stop-motion pancake-making video after the jump.... More

When You Want to Blend on the Go

How many times have you been out camping and all you wanted was the power to make a pitcher of frozen drinks in about 30 seconds? We've all been there. Coleman has come to the rescue with their Rechargeable Portable Blender, perfect for all those times you're nowhere near an electrical outlet and you just really need to blend something. [via bb gadgets]... More

The Art of Making Bánh Tét

Photograph from johnlemon on Flickr I woke up super-duper early this morning to witness a very special tradition—the making of Bánh Tét. With the Lunar New Year days away, my grandma’s sister and her two daughters-in-law gathered for their annual ritual of making this holiday specialty.... More

New Food Products Kill Intestinal Worms

Kraft Foods is developing new food products that contain intestinal worm-killing chemicals. These products will not be sold in the United States but are aimed towards rural Asia, Africa and Latin America, where millions of children are afflicted with illnesses caused by worms.... More

In Videos: Experimental Film, 'Cuisine'

In his experimental film "Cuisine," François Vogel films himself in the kitchen with a fish-eye lens-fitted camera, resulting in distorted perspectives that eventually build up to giving you the sensation that you're looking through a kaleidescope. Watch the video after the jump. [via growabrain]... More

Adjusting to America: 'There's No Ham in Hamburgers'

New York–based journalist Sarmad Ali, originally from Baghdad, on his initial impressions of food in the U.S.: "...I worried about the fact that the meat in the burgers would not be halal—permissible to eat under Islamic rules—and, as a result, I wouldn’t be able to eat them. And I thought American hamburgers were made of ham.... Many kinds of American foods were unfamiliar. For instance, even the thought of eating a cold sandwich seemed gross to me." (Ali is now eating sushi with abandon and in fact introducing friends to the raw-fish dish.) [via Cyrus Farivar]... More

Can You Handle the Stink?

One of the pitfalls of being a curd nerd in New York City is the brutal reality of having to transport your purchases home from your favorite cheese shop via the always crowded, chronically curmudgeonly subway system. Obviously I don't have the luxury of having a cheese shop anywhere near where I live, and since I never leave a cheese shop without at least one real stinker, this is a chronic issue for me. I have cleared out subway cars as if I haven't bathed for weeks. But I like my cheeses as stinky as they come, and I'm not going to let a little social awkwardness deter me from perfection.... More

Snapshots from Italy: Spremuta, Anyone?

The height of citrus season is just starting to wind down here in Rome, and I feel an urgent need to get in on as much of the action as I can in the next month or so. Luckily the tiny fruitteria just outside my door is still piled high each day with an astounding assortment of oranges, tangerines, clementines, and lemons. Other signs of citrus mania are evident on trips to the market. Huge takeaway buckets of sweet oranges are conveniently stacked at the front of my supermercato—there seemed to be one sitting in every creaking, wheeled cart I passed the other day. Even shoppers running in and out for a quart of milk and a pack of... More

Alan Richman Resigns at Bloomberg News: Free At Last?

I was wondering how long Alan Richman was going to last in the salt mines that are Bloomberg News. The answer came yesterday, when word got out that Richman resigned. Richman was probably way too independent-minded for the notoriously controlling Bloomberg editors, and he couldn't have been happy knowing his reviews were buried a zillion clicks down on the Bloomberg website. I hope that Richman, a terrific writer (check out his hilarious, spot-on review of Il Mulino) whom I have had disagreements with on occasion, finds a regular print or online home for his restaurant reviews. We need more funny, smart, and knowledgeable curmudgeons writing restaurant criticism. He will continue to write for GQ and Bon Appétit, and teach at... More

Photo of the Day: Banana Wall

Photograph from La Mariposa on Flickr Brighten up your living room with a...banana wall? View the fruit-bearing wall and more installations at Stefan Sagmeister's exhibition Things I Have Learned In My Life So Far, now showing at Deitch Gallery in New York City.... More

Cook the Book: 'Chocolate Holidays'

Valentine's Day is just around the corner, so with the next two Cook the Book selections we will concern ourselves with sweets appropriate for the occasion. The first of our cookbooks for exploration is Alice Medrich's Chocolate Holidays: Unforgettable Desserts for Every Season. The book is geared toward people who love baking but might not have the time to devote to it, so each of its recipes has been chosen for brevity and ease of preparation. The first of these will be along in a few minutes, but first, we'd like to let you know you can win a copy of this book. All you have to do is answer in the comments below: How do you indulge in chocolate?... More

Super Bowl: Food Commercials Wrapup

The Super Bowl is about so much more than football. It's also about commercialism! After the jump watch six examples of food-related commercials from yesterday's Super Bowl that range from "funny and witty" to, "That was kind of horrible, why did I sit through that?" Check out more Super Bowl ads at myspace.com.... More

Need A New Wallet? Try the pitapocket

Perfect for pita lovers everywhere, the pitapocket is a 5.5 inch-wide zippered cloth case made to resemble a pita (although you should fill it with change, not falafel). You can buy it directly from its Israeli designer, Anat Safran, at infobag.co.il. [via The Food Section]... More

A Giant Win for the Giants, a Small Win for Me

It was one of the greatest three and a half hours of my life, and shockingly it had nothing to do with winning my bet with Boston Globe food editor Sheryl Julian or the seriously delicious spread I put out for ten friends. I will enjoy the lobsters Julian is sending (let the record note that I got no points in this bet). And the food we ate was great—don't get me wrong. We had a bo ssam (pork shoulder) and all the fixin's (chicken wings, lettuce leaves, rice, sauces, kimchi, Kewpie cole slaw, homemade crackerjacks) from New York chef of the moment David Chang's fledgling catering effort, and it was all incredibly delicious. I also made some nachos with... More

Snapshots from Asia: Leaf Bowls and Terracotta Cups

In the bustling North Indian city of Kolkata, it seems ironic that the two things I’m most excited about (besides the mind boggling variety of street food) are probably also the most generic items to be found: leaf bowls and terracotta cups used by wallas (street hawkers) to contain yummy goodness. These bowls and cups are disposable, biodegradable, ecofriendly, and—best of all—take the place of the nasty paper, plastic, foam, and foil stuff ubiquitous everywhere else.... More

Sunday Reading

Michael Laiskonis, executive pastry chef of Le Bernardin, compares cooking and architecture and provides a recipe for his interpretation of a mille feuille. Dara Moskowitz Grumdahl visits a farmers' market in the US Virgin Islands. [Gourmet] Wineries in California try to "cork the problem of limos and tour buses bringing partyers to their venues." [LA Times, via Slate] A 33 cent tax on plastic bags in Ireland has been resoundingly successful: "Within a year, nearly everyone had bought reusable cloth bags... Plastic bags were not outlawed, but carrying them became socially unacceptable." [NYT] Sara Dickerman on pudding: "sometimes the comfort of a comfort food has less to do with eating than it does with cooking." [NYTM] Hearst has been poaching... More

Sampler Platter: From the Serious Eats Team

Items you may have missed from the Serious Eats universe ... Dinner Tonight contributor Blake Royer shares an informative guide on two ways to preserve Meyer lemons while they're still in season. [The Paupered Chef] Sunday Night Soup master Gurgling Cod is not a fan of the Japanese government's new campaign to authenticate Japanese restaurants worldwide, saying that the state has no place in regulating culture. [The Gurgling Cod] Chicago correspondent Michael Nagrant spent some time with Patrick Bertoletti, the no. 2 ranked competitive eater, while eating over 100 hot wings for Chicago's Time Out: "You figure a mohawked competitive eater might be a punky meathead with a chip on his shoulder, but Bertoletti who's also a culinary school grad,... More

Serious Eats Super Bowl Party Food Round Up

For your convenience, here's a list of our Super Bowl party food-related posts from this week: Pizza Showdown: The Best Delivery Pizza for Your Super Bowl Party Pork Tacos Brown's Nachos Gametime Guacamole Goes Head to Head Super-Healthy Super Bowl Dip: Edamole The Best Blue Cheese For the Ultimate Super Bowl Blue Cheese Dip Seven-Layer Bean Dip Salsa Picante Boston Cream Pie Ketchup Chips Frito Pie... More

Do You Find Coffee To Be a Soothing, Comforting Elixir?

Judith Warner says her attachment to coffee is about the smell, taste, and the gesture. I drink very little coffee (I can't get past the bitterness), though I do love coffee-flavored desserts and chocolate. Yet somehow I know what she's talking about, and I agree with her wholeheartedly.... More

Look Who's Talkin': Recent Comments We Have Known And Loved

The useful, thoughtful, and funny discussions in Talk keep us clicking, reading, and grinning. Looking back at the week past, here's just a handful of our favorite threads and comments. In the future will everyone be a vegetarian? "From an economic and environmental standpoint, this doesn't seem impossible, or at least that eating large portions of meat at a meal, or eating meat several times a day may become a thing of the past. There would be plenty of resistance to this, but I think cost and availability will eventually take some sort of toll on eating meat whenever we please." – mongoose Silly Things People Believe About Food "I hate when people come up to me after hearing... More

How Do You Nacho?

Photograph from The Homesick TexanThe admittedly dead-simple nacho recipe I posted yesterday prompted Serious Eater intheyearofthepig to offer a link to The Homesick Texan's Nachos 101. I admire and agree with Lisa Fain's take on the Texas-style take on the dish: My dad asked me a very serious question the other day. He was concerned, since I’d lived away from Texas for so long, where I fell on the nacho spectrum. Did I prefer a pile of chips with some toppings slopped on willy-nilly or did I prefer each nacho to be one chip toasted with a tasteful spread of Longhorn cheddar cheese and a sliced jalapeno. I was shocked he even had to ask. For me, and for every... More

In the News: Down in the 'Dumps'; Early Nutrition, Higher Salary; Apples vs. Alzheimer's

More than 300 cases of food poisoning from China-made gyoza: China's got another mess on its hands as its dumpling scandal grows bigger in Japan. Three-hundred sixty-eight people in 30 prefectures in Japan have complained about food poisoning after consuming the same frozen gyoza dumplings imported by JT Foods Co. from China that were found to be contaminated with insecticide. [Yomiuri Shimbun] Younger health, older wealth: A new study says there is a direct link between eating nutritious food at a young age and earning power in adulthood. [BBC] Global warming threatens regional food supply: Climate change will have a significant impact on crop production in regions where food is already a scarcity. "In southern Africa we're talking about maize... More

Super Bowl Party: Chowin' Down on Game Day

Photograph from iStockPhoto.com-->Super Bowl is looming ever closer, but we've got you covered on the food front if you want to add a little more oomph to your pigskin festivities instead of buying a family size bag of tortilla chips and salsa. Food Network has their Super Bowl Party mini-site up. Favorite standbys of chips and dips and nachos, chili and guacamole are fair game, or you can opt to get a little fancier – there's Paula Deen's chili in a biscuit bowl recipe, or try Guy Fieri's stuffed poblanos. Chef Robert Irvine also shares some Super Bowl party food tips. Epicurious has a nice round-up of Super Bowl recipes, serving ideas, and tips, including some mouthwatering recipes from Bon... More

Top Pot Doughnuts Coming to a Starbucks Near You

Soon you'll be able to buy doughnuts from Seattle-based doughnut chain Top Pot at a Starbucks near you. These doughnuts are currently available in a few Starbucks locations outside Washington, but by April 8th Starbucks locations in all 50 states are expected to sell Top Pot doughnuts.... More

In Videos: Japanese Kewpie Tarako Sauce Commercial

Don't leave your children alone at the kitchen table with a plate of spaghetti—they may be harassed by a rotating army of monstrously huge Kewpie-faced bean-shaped fish eggs, accompanied by a catchy theme song. I've had the song stuck in my head for about two and a half years. After the jump, I bestow the joy onto you.... More

The Best Blue Cheese For the Ultimate Super Bowl Blue Cheese Dip

Photograph from kochtopf on Flickr The Super Bowl only comes around once a year, and you've otherwise been doing really well sticking to your New Year's resolution to eat healthier, so why not go a little crazy and make a killer blue cheese dip for your Super Bowl party? The key, of course, is choosing the right blue cheese. Zoe, the affable affineur at New York's Murray's Cheese, helped me narrow down the selection to a few great contenders. I tested three very different blues with the same base, and it may be surprising but your choice of cheese really does matter.... More