recipes

Food Videos are the Reigning Thumb Stoppers of Facebook

image via ReelSEO

image via ReelSEO

 

Cooking videos have emerged as the killer content on Facebook’s recently added video feature.
They’ve proven capable of stopping thumbs—getting Facebook users to put on the brakes as they scroll through their newsfeeds—winning fans among users and more importantly among marketers and content creators. Month after month, food content has dominated the leaderboard rankings of Facebook’s video creators for as far back as these things have been measured.

Nothing stops thumbs quite like meatballs.
Leading the pack last month, a Buzzfeed clip for Mozzarella-Stuffed Slow Cooker Meatballs was viewed 82.9 million times. With the Crock-Pot people reporting annual sales of about 4.4 million units, there were more viewers of the recipe than there are slow cookers out there in which to make the meatballs.

The most successful videos grab attention quickly, like the all-time champion, a 15-second s’mores dip clip with more than 120 million views. They’re short- less than a minute in duration- and usually feature just the cook’s hands as they add, mix, and shape a series of ingredients. Most prep steps take place off camera, and the whole process is sped up with time-lapse editing. Instructions tend to be represented graphically, since Facebook videos go straight to autoplay without sound, and the visuals are designed to look best on small mobile devices, where most people view their newsfeeds.

Buzzfeed has cracked the code like no other.
Already known for its mastery of the internet’s tone and aesthetic, Buzzfeed has nailed the art of the viral Facebook video. Buzzfeed content generates 2 billion Facebook video views a month, well ahead of every other other creator. The big surprise is the way that food and cooking is single-handedly responsible for that success: 19 out of the 20 most-watched Buzzfeed videos uploaded to Facebook last month were food related.

Buzzfeed posts through its main Facebook channel, through Buzzfeed Food, and now through a new, dedicated channel called Tasty, with the taglines: Food that’ll make you close your eyes, lean back, and whisper “yessss.” Snack-sized videos and recipes you’ll want to try. Other food-oriented video creators have found similar success on Facebook. The Tastemade TV Network picked up nearly 5 million Facebook fans this year after garnering 80 million views for No-bake Strawberry Chocolate Tart, and has just launched the all-dessert Sweeten channel. Between Milk-and-Cookies Shot Glasses and Supersize Ice Cream Sandwich, the lifestyle site PopSugar attracted 40 million Facebook video views. And life-hacker site Tip Hero stormed into the rankings last month with Baked Apple Roses, a surprise megahit generating more than 220 million Facebook video views.

Facebook is giving YouTube a run for the money- except when it comes to actual money.
Unlike YouTube, Facebook isn’t paying video producers for content, and advertising is still in a testing phase. But Facebook offers unparalleled reach and social engagement, and it’s bringing in a new kind of audience that wasn’t explicitly seeking out video content. For now, Facebook’s video producers have to be satisfied with the occasional paid endorsement or product placement and the opportunity to build an online following.

 

Posted in cyberculture, diversions, recipes | Leave a comment

When Life Gives You Lemons… The Snow Edition

 

tumblr_mykc4es5oX1sjyt65o1_500

via ReBloggy

 

You’ve shoveled, plowed, and salted it, but there’s still plenty of snow on the ground.
49 states began this month with snow cover, and in some places a new foot and more has fallen since (yes, Hawaii, I’m talking about you). As picturesque and pleasing as holiday snow can be, the honeymoon is over for most of us in January; by March we just want it gone.

Maybe the problem isn’t the snow. Maybe it’s us.
It’s possible that the snow hasn’t overstayed its welcome; perhaps we’ve just run out of imagination in dealing with it. Instead of thinking of snow as an inconvenience or a nuisance, maybe we should treat it like just another backyard surplus, like an overgrown rosemary bush or too many zucchinis in the garden. In which case, it’s time to rifle through the old recipe box and see what we can come up with.

Food.com has a recipe for Snow Cake that calls for 2 cups of freshly fallen snow to be folded into a batter of sugar, shortening flour, and milk.

The Massachusetts Maple Producers Association offers Sugar on Snow, a kind of maple candy made by pouring heated syrup over packed snow. It forms glassy sheets of chewy taffy that they claim pairs best with sour pickles.

Paula Deen recommends Snow Ice Cream, an easy three ingredient mix of vanilla, sweetened condensed milk, and snow.

Traditional farmhouse cooks swear by Snow Pancakes, claiming that new snow makes  for an exceptionally light and fluffy version.

Wherever there’s snow, you can bet that someone’s making a sno-cone: Hawaii has shaved ice, Filipinos have the halo-halo, in Guatemala it’s called granizada, and in Taiwan it’s the bao bing.

Falling snow is as pure as most drinking water, and usually cleaner than rainwater, which picks up more pollutants and particulates as it makes its way from cloud to ground. Certain dangerous algae can exist in snow at extremely high altitudes, but most snow is perfectly safe to eat and if it’s cooked in a recipe, that should take care of most micro-organisms.

 

Posted in cook + dine, diversions, recipes | Leave a comment

Cookbooks for the Hard-to-Shop-For

three-stooges_cookbook

photo courtesy of The Three Stooges Cookbook


You’re down to the last few on the holiday shopping list, and this is when it gets tough.
It’s the eccentric family member, the fussy friend, the complicated relationship. Fortunately, there’s a cookbook out there for everyone.

for that special (or not so special) someone
There’s the intimate Eating in Bed Cookbook and the series Cooking in the Nude, although the volume titled Cooking in the Nude: For Barbecue Buffs seems particularly ill-advised. Looking for less romance and more action? Try the unabashedly pragmatic Cook to Bang, subtitled The Lay Cook’s Guide to Getting Laid.

for the quirkily focused
If it’s edible, no doubt there’s a cookbook singularly devoted to it. There’s the Eat-a-bug Cookbook (33 ways to cook grasshoppers, ants, water bugs, spiders, and centipedes) and a few volumes for hardcore fans of Twinkies. The Testicle Cookbook is the English language translation of a Serbian best-seller focused on the beloved, local delicacy. The Natural Harvest cookbook is even harder to swallow. The back-of-the-jacket blurb says it all: Once you overcome any initial hesitation, you will be surprised to learn how wonderful semen is in the kitchen. Semen is an exciting ingredient that can give every dish you make an interesting twist. If you are a passionate cook and are not afraid to experiment with new ingredients – you will love this cook book!

for the celebrity watcher
There’s no dancing but they can cook with stars like Coolio, Regis Philbin, Gwyneth Paltrow, and two of the Real Housewives from the Bravo TV franchise have cookbooks. Notably, both of those have ‘skinny’ in the book title.

for the political junkie (or your strange bedfellows)
Policy wonks can choose to Dine Liberally with the Democrats, Eat Like a Republican, or go bipartisan with Politics and Pot Roast.

for those you want off of next year’s list
Try a copy of Cooking to Kill: The Poison Cook-book, or Dorothea Puente’s Cooking With a Serial KillerCharged with killing nine of her elderly boarding house residents and facing a life sentence, Puente’s recipe collection was published as proof of her innocence. Her defense attorney claimed that Puente would never have fed her boarders so lavishly if she was only going to kill them.

for everyone else
There’s a one-size-fits-all cookbook for the Christmas season billed as ‘The Ultimate Program For Eating Well, Feeling Great, And Living Longer’: What Would Jesus Eat?  

 

Posted in Christmas, funny, recipes | Leave a comment

From Food Blogger to Cookbook Author

t-shirt available at Zazzle.com

t-shirt available at Zazzle.com

It’s the brass ring, the golden ticket, and the winning lottery numbers all rolled into one.    
Not every food blogger wants a cookbook deal, but it’s always a win when a publisher comes calling.

It’s been a long and lonely slog.
Sometimes blogging can seem so pointless. Even when readership is significant and loyal, it’s just one more blog among the thousands. At some point every blogger wonders if anyone would notice if they just packed it in. There are plenty of bloggers out there that are ready to take your place in readers’ mailboxes and news feeds. Would you even be missed?

A book deal screams, Don’t stop!    
It validates all the bathrobe-clad hours at the keyboard. Readers don’t just like you—they want more. And a cookbook deal—that means that your recipes are coming to life in readers’ kitchens. Somehow, your blog has convinced a publisher that the public is even willing to shell out good money for your culinary musings. Go ahead and pinch yourself.

Here are the latest winners of the blog-to-cookbook sweepstakes.
They all come from longtime bloggers with 2014 release dates.

safe_image

Thug Kitchen explodes the myth of the mild-mannered vegan with a kick to your narrow dietary minded ass. The cookbook irreverently blends a penchant for profanity (motto: eat like you give a f**k) with recipes like lime-cauliflower tacos and pumpkin chili. 

 

The-Kitchn-Cookbook_cvr_5.08

The Kitchn began life as the food blog from Apartment Therapy, a home decorating and lifestyle blog, but has gone on to attract its own audience of 14 million visitors a month. Appropriately, The Kitchn Cookbook is equally devoted to recipes and to something the authors re calling a handbook to a happy kitchen.

 

100DaysRealFoodLogoThere’s a popular notion that you can achieve just about anything if you give it 100 days of effort. Sites like 100 Day Challenge and Give It 100 share tales of people learning a musical instrument, climbing Everest, hitting home runs, and becoming debt-free, all from three months of practice, discipline, and accountability. Now we have the 100 Days of Real Food Cookbook , which tells the story (with recipes) of one family that took a three-month pledge that transformed their relationship with food by giving up white flour, white sugar, and anything packaged and processed with more than five ingredients.

The Skinnytaste Cookbook- Light on Calories, Big on Flavor

 

When The Skinny Taste began in 2006, the blog’s creator was experimenting with dishes that would help her lose a few pre-wedding pounds. Fans of the site rave about its appealing, low-fat riffs on typically high-fat dishes like pizza and cheesy baked pastas, and rigorous recipe testing that guarantees success in home kitchens. This fall’s cookbook is mostly new recipes plus a few favorites from the blog.

photo-main

Not everyone waits for a publisher. The creator of The Yellow Table blog went the self-publishing route, funding her dinner party cookbook through an over-subscribed Kickstarter campaign—$16,000 beyond her $50,000 goal. She documented the entire process of creating the Yellow Table Cookbook through a five-month blog series called The Cookbook Diaries.

And vice versa 
Check out Delicious Days’ list of food writers and cookbook authors who followed up a publishing career by starting a food blog.

Posted in bloggers, diversions, recipes | Leave a comment

Chicken. Just Chicken.

image via BuyingChickens.net

image via BuyingChickens.net

 

Nobody buys just lettuce; it’s Romaine or arugula or Bibb. Beef is Angus, salmon is Sockeye, and a Granny Smith apple is never mistaken for a Honeycrisp. But we buy chicken, just chicken.

Bland, mealy supermarket tomatoes just don’t cut it once you’ve had the juice of a just-picked, perfectly ripe Brandywine running down your chin, and freshly-dug Russian Banana fingerlings are a potato revelation after mass-produced russets. Heirloom fruits and vegetables are old-time varieties grown from seeds that are saved from season to season and handed down through multiple generations of growers. They’ve been saved, sometimes for centuries, because they taste so good .

Modern large-scale agriculture relies on hybrids. Commercial growers have breeding programs that focus on high yields and ship-ability. They need varieties that perform well in the field, can be picked green, travel long distances, and be gas-ripened when they reach their destination. Flavor and nutrition take a backseat to shelf-life and hardiness.

Breed makes an enormous difference to the taste of chicken, just as it does for other foods.
Most of us have yet to discover this difference because we’ve gone our entire lives eating just one chicken: the Cornish X Rock hybrid. The U.S. poultry industry, which cranks out eight billion of them a year, selectively bred the Cornish X Rock to grow quickly while eating as little as possible, and to carry a high ratio of white meat to dark with its giant breasts perched on stubby legs.

Just as tender heads of Little Gems lettuce will ruin you for iceberg, once you eat a heritage chicken, there’s no going back to Perdue.
These birds are more complex, more savory, just plain more chicken-y than what you’ve been eating. Even an organic, free-ranging Cornish X can’t come close. It will always be a flabby prisoner of its genetics, maturing too quickly, and too top-heavy to move. The meat never has a chance to develop any real character.

Each heritage chicken breed has its own ‘personality.’
It’s like apples— there are sweet ones and tart ones, apples for sauce and apples for pie. It’s not the worst thing if you bake with Red Delicious, but Pippins are a better choice. Same with the chickens: a Buff Orpington is a great fryer while the oil would overwhelm the delicate flesh of a Marans, and a meaty Speckled Sussex cries out for a slow braise. There is none of the multi-tasking versatility of Cornish X Rock, but each breed has its own distinctive textural and taste notes and even a sense of terroir. 

Heritage recipes for heritage birds.
Dust off the old cookbooks- you need to go all the way back to the 1950’s to find recipes that don’t presume you’re cooking a Cornish X Rock.
Contemporary cooking of old fashioned chickens is alive and well at Good Shepherd Poultry Ranch, a pioneering breeder and online seller of heritage chickens. The farm sponsors a heritage chicken recipe competition attracting hundreds of entrants. You can find winning recipes and more at The Heritage Chef.

 

Posted in cooking, food knowledge, recipes | 1 Comment

Cookbooks: Where to View the Reviews

 

Exif_JPEG_PICTUREThe print cookbook is indomitable.
The post office, the music industry, network television—all decimated by the internet. And book publishing? Forget about it. Cookbook sales are one of the few bright spots. Take the 50 Shades trilogy off the bestseller list and you’re basically left with titles from celebrity chefs, The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook, and the latest from Gwyneth Paltrow.

Cookbooks are evolving in ever more interesting ways.
They’ve learned to transcend their function. It’s no longer enough to be a vessel for instruction and recipes. The internet’s got a lock on that. Cookbook authors are experimenting beyond the traditional narrative structure of a recipe collection organized into categories like ‘Soups,’ ‘Main Dishes,’ and ‘Bar Cookies.’ They’re dazzling us with new visual formats and finding their literary voices.

Not that we don’t still need the internet.
By the time you finish reading this another independent bookstore will probably have bitten the dust, and national chain stores just don’t cut it when you want to do some heavy browsing. I’m talking about the old-fashioned kind of book browsing, well beyond the glossy, the popular, and the predictable titles; the kind of browsing that takes you on a journey of discovery, deep into the category where things get interesting.

There are a handful of places to go online for thoughtful, knowledgable reviews that look beyond the bestseller list. If you love cookbooks, you’ll want to bookmark some of these:

If I hadn’t found Cookbooks We Love, I would have never been introduced to Pork and Sons. Part cookbook, part travel guide, with a family scrapbook and great piggy pics thrown into the mix, Pork and Sons’ author comes from a long line of French pig farmers and butchers, and recipes are scattered throughout a very personal tale of small town life in his family’s home village. It’s the kind of obscure gem of a cookbook that we never know to look for but are thrilled to stumble across.

Food porn meets book reviews at CookBookKarma. It starts with extensive, professional reviewing, and I do mean extensive–the 100+ reviews from this past month included an all-gummi candy cookbook and recipes for midwives. Readers then try out recipes from reviewed titles and submit photos of the results along with their own reviews and other commentary.

The cook behind Cook that Book is not a professional chef. She is a home cook preparing family meals in a home kitchen. She tries recipes from old and new cookbooks and writes her reviews based on the nuts and bolts of index navigability, clarity and detail of instructions, and ultimately the overall appeal and success of the dish. Judging a cookbook on the cooking—how novel is that?!

Sadly we bid farewell this week to The Gastronomer’s Bookshelf. The review site, a collaboration between a small, international team of contributors, had a commendable five year run covering a wide range of global titles on food, wine, and gastronomy. The editors were knowledgable, their taste was quirky and eclectic, and there’s nothing else quite like it out there. Check out their parting lineup of reviews and you’ll see what I mean.

 

Posted in bloggers, diversions, recipes | Leave a comment

TV Dinners: TV Show Cookbooks

 

Where would Andy and Opie be without Aunt Bee’s pies? Or the Brady Bunch without Alice’s pork chops and apple sauce? Jerry Seinfeld could build an entire episode around a babka, Tony Soprano happily traded his gun for a fork when Carmela whipped up her baked ziti, and Betty Draper’s kitchen is a model of midcentury cooking with gems like turkey tetrazzini and pineapple upside-down cake.

A TV tie-in cookbook combines cultural anthropology, a food-annotated episode guide, and a culinary love letter to the characters. Publishers love them for their immediate brand recognition and built-in audience. The best of the cookbooks are filled with well-tested recipes that take genuine inspiration from their shows and characters. Others, like the Star Trek Cookbook, require a bigger stretch of the imagination since we never actually saw Mister Spock stirring a pot of kasha varnishkas à la Vulcan or Bones McCoy recreating the smoked baked beans of his Tennessee childhood.

Andy Taylor’s Aunt Bee is perhaps television’s most beloved homemaker; so much so that when Aunt Bee’s Mayberry Cookbook was published decades after Andy of Mayberry had gone off the air, it sold 900,000 copies. After moving in with her widowed nephew to help raise the motherless Opie, Aunt Bee was perpetually up to her elbows in wholesome, home-cooked meals. She baked fruit pies for church suppers, entered her pickles in the county fair, and brought picnic baskets of fried chicken to the town drunk residing in Mayberry’s homey jail cell. The dishes are all in the book, along with Andy’s favorite cornmeal biscuits and Aunt Bee’s justly celebrated butterscotch pecan pie.

 

She’s no Aunt Bee but Carmela Soprano knows her way around a baked ziti. The Sopranos Family Cookbook  shares the secrets of Carmela’s ziti and sautéed escarole, and shows you how to recreate quail Sinatra-style and other specialties of Artie Bucco’s Vesuvio Restaurant, home to the finest Napolitan cooking in Essex County, New Jersey. Uncle Junior contributes Little Italy-style potato croquettes and Bobby Bacala offers cannoli-stuffing tips.

Vampires and mortals mingle over the Cajun cooking of True Blood’s fictional Louisiana town of Bon Temps. True Blood: Eats, Drinks, and Bites from Bon Temps has classics like banana pudding, gumbo, baking powder biscuits, and crawfish dip as well as a slew of blood-red dishes like beet bisque, blood orange gelato, and the Tru Blood cocktail of carbonated orange soda, grenadine and lemon juice, hold the plasma.

You seldom saw Monica cooking, even if her character was a chef. Maybe that’s why most of the recipes in Cooking With Friends exist mostly as an excuse for some Friends-centric jokey recipe names like ‘Janice’s Foghorn Fish Dish,’ ‘Marcel’s Monkey Lovin’ Mocha Mouthfuls,’ and ‘Chandler’s Could THIS Be Any More Fattening? Cheesecake.’

 

A Feast of Ice and Fire: The Official Game of Thrones Companion Cookbook breaks the mold of the tie-in cookbook. More scholarly than kitschy, it’s a meticulously researched and detailed culinary document that updates recipes while staying true to the Game of Thrones’ late medieval setting. Dishes are based on those found in 15th-century manuscripts and ingredients adhere to the seasons and imagined geography across the Seven Kingdoms and over the Narrow Sea.

If a food or drink was so much us mentioned in an episode of the show, it made it into The Unoffical Mad Men Cookbook: Inside the Kitchens, Bars, and Restaurants of Mad Men. There are Oysters Rockefeller from Sterling Cooper power lunches, the gazpacho served at Betty’s around-the-world dinner party, and lots and lots of cocktails (even little Sally Draper is known to mix a mean Tom Collins). Dishes were recreated using recipes that were adapted from cookbooks that would have been popular at the time or from Manhattan restaurants visited by the characters.

 

Bree is a brittle striver in the kitchen; Lynette is a time-challenged multi-tasker; Edie is a sensualist; Gabrielle is a spicy Latina; and Susan doesn’t know which end of a spatula to stir with. Some recipes in The Desperate Housewives Cookbook come straight from the show’s episodes while others use the characters’ wildly different personalities as a launching point for some culinary imaginings.

The most anticipated TV tie-in cookbook since Aunt Bee’s opus is next summer’s Treme: Stories and Recipes from the Heart of New Orleans. The HBO series provides substantial raw material. Treme is a favorite of chefs like David Chang and Eric Ripert who have guest-starred in past episodes and contributed material to the book. It’s set in in New Orleans, one of our greatest eating cities. Plot lines revolve around a fictional chef who’s ‘worked’ at some of the city’s top real world restaurants like Brigtsen’s, Emeril’s, and Gabrielle. Kitchen scenes on the show are scripted by Anthony Bourdain, who also wrote the book’s foreward.

It’s not out in time for holiday giving, but Treme: Stories and Recipes from the Heart of New Orleans can be preordered at Amazon where it’s already racking up some serious sales numbers.

 

Posted in diversions, Entertainment, recipes | Leave a comment

Surprise: Pinterest is Tops Online for Recipes

image via Someecards

 

Pinterest was the breakout social network of 2012.
It might feel like you blinked and missed this one, but clearly a lot of food lovers didn’t— 90% of online recipe sharing is happening on Pinterest.

Two year-old Pinterest flew under the tech radar for much of its early life. Silicon Valley found it easy to ignore the start-up of yet another social media channel, and especially one that lacked technological innovation and was founded by a Valley outsider with a humanities background. But it struck a chord with home cooks.

Mom’s old recipe cards meet food porn.
The Pinterest combination of social sharing plus a visual scrapbook feels right at home in the kitchen. Home cooks have been clipping and swapping recipes forever, and now they’re taking them to Pinterest’s web-based pinboards where food fans trump all other interest groups. Food is by far the fastest-growing, most popular, most re-pinned category on the site.

The top spot on Pinterest is no small potatoes.
Pinterest is now the third largest social network behind only Facebook and Twitter, and is closing in on number two. The site has around 30 million monthly visitors and is the third-largest source of referral traffic on the Internet. 70% of Pinterest users cite recipes as their most pinned items.

Pinterest has staying power.
Pinterest is the rare social network that seems to have cracked the code for monetization. Pinned images are like glowing recommendations for products that convert Pinterest browsers into shoppers at astounding rates. According to PriceGrabber 21% of users have purchased something they saw on the site and foodies again led the way, accounting for a third of those purchases. The site collects affiliate fees by attaching links that take you from a pin you like to the store that sells the item, and last month Pinterest launched its business accounts that will surely lead to advertising and other revenue.

Learn to love Pinterest.
There’s never been a shortage of places to go for pretty pictures of food and stuff to buy. And does anybody really need another online social network? But if it’s where the food is, it’s where we’ll want to be. 
I’m trying: http://pinterest.com/gigabiting/

 

Posted in cyberculture, recipes, social media | Leave a comment

Palettes and Palates: Artist Cookbooks

[Claes Oldenberg, Spoonbridge and Cherry]

They paint food— from 17th century still life paintings to Andy Warhol’s Campbell’s soup cans.
They cook foodnot always as successfully; taste can be secondary, but it always looks good.

The French Impressionists and Post-Impressionists knew a thing or two about good food. You can recreate meals from Renoir’s Table, Matisse: A Way of Life in the South of France, Cezanne and the Provencal Table, Toulouse-Latrec’s Table, and Monet’s Table, which proves that the gardens at Giverny didn’t just look good. Vincent Van Gogh wasn’t known for domesticity, but Van Gogh’s Table explores the role of the cafe in the artist’s life with recipes from the Auberge Ravoux where he took his meals.

The Artist’s Palate looks at the private lives and appetites of artists from Michelangelo and Mary Cassatt to Jackson Pollock, Andy Warhol, and Jeff Koons. It mixes family snapshots, artwork, and personal memorabilia with recipes created by contemporary chefs like Mario Batali, Ming Tsai, and Jean-Georges Vongerichten.

Frieda’s Fiestas is part scrapbook, part recipe collection, detailing the meals and events in the life of Frieda Kahlo.

A Painter’s Kitchen: Recipes from the Kitchen of Georgia O’Keeffe shows us that her cooking, like her art, tends to be compelling, over-blown, and not to everyone’s taste. Who’s up for a garlic sandwich with fried locust blossoms? Also specific in its appeal is the Futurist Cookbook. Dishes are provocative, tactile, and often bizarre: chicken stuffed with steel ball bearings (removed before serving), raw onion ice cream, and an appetizer of olives, fennel, and kumquat that is supposed to be eaten with one hand while the other caresses a progression of textures, from sandpaper to velvet.

Salvador Dali’s Les Diners de Gala is a gastro-surrealistic journey of surprisingly precise and well-grounded cooking. Who knew that Dali had once dreamed of becoming a chef? Recipes are full of luxuries and exotica like towering crustacean tableaux, veal stuffed with snails, and frog leg turnovers, and nearly every other dish is showered with caviar or encased in aspic.

Contemporary art museums will occasionally solicit recipes from their rosters of living artists. Often they are more notable for the artist selection process than for the food. One exception is the California Artists Cookbook, from the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. The food-centricism of the 1980’s Bay Area is reflected in both the artists’ work and the sophistication of their global recipe contributions. It appeared just a few years after The Museum of Modern Art Artists’ Cookbook, and the contrasting local scenes for both food and art is striking. More conversation about food than proper cookbook, some of the high points of the MOMA book include Helen Frankenthaler’s complaint about the dearth of red leaf lettuce in New York’s markets, Louise Bourgeouis railing against the provincial nature of American cookery, and Will Barnett taking us through his favorite bakery.

Food is another medium for artists to explore through color, form, texture, and visual presentation. The culinary arts, like the fine arts, can speak to history and culture, religion and ethnicity.  Each can be site-specific and performative, or solitary aesthetic experiences. Artists and cooking: it’s a natural crossover.

 

Posted in diversions, recipes | Tagged , | Leave a comment

The Biggest, Greatest, Most Revolutionary Cookbook Ever. No kidding.

image via Modernist Cuisine.

We love the antics of the rich and eccentric.

They build castles and amusement parks, buy exotic islands and sports teams, run for public office, and book travel on spaceships. Now we have billionaire Nathan Myhrvold, developer of Windows software, former Chief Technology Officer of Microsoft, and author of a self-published, six-volume, 2,400-page, 48-pound, $625 cookbook.

As you would expect from the man who Stephen Hawking turns to for help with quantum theories of gravity, this is no ordinary cookbook. In the words of the book’s website, Modernist Cuisine: The Art and Science of Cooking “is des­tined to rein­vent cook­ing.” Heady stuff, indeed. […]

Posted in diversions, recipes | Tagged , | 1 Comment

Eating in the Majors: Food and Baseball

Protoast™team toasters image via MLB.com Shop

.

Whoever wants to know the heart and mind of America had better learn baseball

 [cultural historian Jacques Barzun] 


Can we make that heart, mind, and stomach?
The ceremonial first pitch, the seventh inning stretch, peanuts, beer and hot dogs—food is right up there with the grandest of baseball’s tradition.

Jacques Barzun’s statement is as apt today as it was a half century ago when he first made it. Baseball continues to resonate deeply within us, striking that mystic chord of memory. It has always encapsulated so much of American life and history, from racism to immigration, urbanization, labor disputes, and substance abuse. Baseball’s issues have always been our issues. And so it is now with food. […]

Posted in diversions, recipes | Tagged , | 5 Comments

Some Very Strange Cookbooks

.

Two truisms:
There’s no accounting for taste;
Everyone has a cookbook inside of them.

Put them together, and you end up with some very strange cookbooks.

The Narrowly Focused
If it’s marginally edible, no doubt there’s a cookbook singularly devoted to it. And it doesn’t always taste just like chicken.

There’s the Eat-a-bug Cookbook (33 ways to cook grasshoppers, ants, water bugs, spiders, and centipedes) and a mini library of marijuana cookery. There are cookbooks for fans of Twinkies, and the Testicle Cookbook, a new, English language translation of a Serbian best-seller focused on the beloved, local delicacy. Who wants seconds on the testicle goulash?

Even in that crowd, Natural Harvest stands out. The back-of-the-jacket blurb says it best:

Semen is not only nutritious, but it also has a wonderful texture and amazing cooking properties. Like fine wine and cheeses, the taste of semen is complex and dynamic. Semen is inexpensive to produce and is commonly available in many, if not most, homes and restaurants. Despite all of these positive qualities, semen remains neglected as a food. This book hopes to change that. Once you overcome any initial hesitation, you will be surprised to learn how wonderful semen is in the kitchen. Semen is an exciting ingredient that can give every dish you make an interesting twist. If you are a passionate cook and are not afraid to experiment with new ingredients – you will love this cook book!

Food for Every Mood
Sometimes, the occasion calls for something truly special. Every meal is an event when you cook from the Eating in Bed Cookbook or a volume from the Cooking in the Nude series (although Cooking in the Nude: For Barbecue Buffs seems particularly ill-advised). Looking for less romance and more action? Try the unabashedly pragmatic Cook to Bang. And when the whole affair is best forgotten, maybe that’s the time to whip out a copy of Cooking to Kill: The Poison Cook-book.
.
Why would anyone want to dance with the stars
When you can cook with them.
Coolio, Regis Philbin, Gwyneth Paltrow, and two of the Real Housewives from the Bravo TV franchise (notably, both have ‘skinny’ in the book title) have cookbooks. Hard rocker/NRA spokesman Ted Nugent penned Kill It and Grill It, and Roger Ebert, unable to eat for four years now (since undergoing surgery for jaw cancer), published a cookbook last month.  Strange bedfellows? Maybe; but policy wonks can choose to Dine Liberally with the Democrats, Eat Like a Republican, or go bipartisan with Politics and Pot Roast.
.
While most celebrities write cookbooks for the media attention. Dorothea Puente penned hers as a legal defense for her life sentence. Charged with killing nine of her elderly boarding house residents, she claimed that her recipe collection, Cooking With a Serial Killer was proof of her innocence (Why would I spend money fattening them up if I was going to kill them?). Alternatively, you can cook like a savior with perhaps the ultimate celebrity cookbook: What Would Jesus Eat.

WWJT—What Would Julia Think?

.


Posted in diversions, recipes | Tagged , | 7 Comments

Architecture for the Taste Buds

SpaghettiPipette Rigate

Bow Ties, FarfalleReginette

LasagnaCavatappi

Pasta is a marvel of geometry and construction.

It’s architecture for the taste buds. Long or short, thick or thin, smooth or ridged; each shape is a unique construction of form and consistency designed to capture and absorb sauce differently. The classic pairings—linguine with clams, spaghetti and meatballs, cavatelli and broccoli—have persisted in the Italian culinary repertoire because of their ideal expressions of taste. It’s what the Chinese call kou gan: the harmonious interplay beyond flavor that we translate as mouth-feel.   […]

Posted in food knowledge, recipes | Tagged , , | 3 Comments

Tweet and Eat: Dinner in 140 Characters

.

Recipe tweets, or twecipes, are incredible feats of verbal compression.

To make the 140 character cut, the recipe has to be reduced to its essence, trimmed and edited, and then trimmed again. Every keystroke has to pull its weight; each word should vibrate with economy.

The best twecipes are models of clarity and usefulness. […]

Posted in recipes, social media | Tagged , | 2 Comments

The Edible Stay-cation

image via Betelgeuse

.

You haven’t booked your Michelin tour yet?

That’s right, Michelin, publisher of the eponymous hotel and restaurant guides, bestower of stars to the crème de la crème of restaurants worldwide, is now booking culinary vacations. The drool-worthy itineraries include cooking classes with renowned chefs, wine tastings in celebrated cellars, and of course plenty of Michelin-starred dining.

Are we forgetting something?

Oh yeah; time and money. But don’t despair. With a little online browsing, you can find recipes and ingredients for any and all of the world’s culinary traditions. […]

Posted in recipes, travel | Tagged , | 6 Comments
Web Analytics