Tag Archives: breakfast

Deconstructing Chicken and Waffles

The long-time favorite of West Coast stoners and East Coast soul food lovers has crossed into the mainstream.
Chicken and waffles has been gaining steam for a few years, spreading organically from its New York and Los Angeles bases. The culinary mash-up began popping up on stylish brunch menus and as a late-night gastropub offering. It’s had its own controversies, raising questions about cultural sensitivity and cultural appropriation, and has spawned shark-jumping fusions from chicken and waffle food trucks. If you needed any more proof that chicken and waffles has hit the big time, IHOP is now serving the combination at 1,500 locations.

Northern Europe meets southern United States. Breakfast meets dinner. Sweet meets savory.
Who do we thank [or blame] for this uneasy marriage? Some food historians see a link to Pennsylvania Dutch traditions. Others point to the confluence of black cooks and the nation’s first waffle iron, when that implement was imported by the notorious slave-holder Thomas Jefferson.

Whatever the origins, the dish was first popularized in 1930’s Harlem at the Wells Supper Club. An after-hours gathering place for Jazz Age club-goers, the Wells legend tells us that the combination was a happy compromise—it was too late for dinner and  too early for breakfast, so both meals were served on a single plate. The dish hit the west coast in the 1970’s, where it was equally well-suited to the midnight rambles of the local youth culture.

With maple syrup; really?
It can baffle the uninitiated: is it two dishes sitting side-by-side or should it be eaten as a single entity? How about butter? Gravy? Hot sauce? Syrup?

Yes to all.
Crunchy, juicy, spicy, crispy, fluffy, sweet, and salty, plus a hit of sticky maple—it’s a heck of a forkful.

History professor Frederick Douglass Opie is our foremost chicken and waffles authority. His podcast for American Public Media’s The Splendid Table traces the dish’s history, and he shares more history, culture, and recipes at his blog Hog and Hominy: Culture, Cooking, Travel, and Traditions.



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

Oh Cap’n! my Cap’n!

Sometimes the internet is no better than a middle school cafeteria.

The rumor mill started grinding earlier this month with an article in AOL’s Daily Finance. A reporter noted that Cap’n Crunch cereal was nowhere to be found on the Quaker website. The article’s speculative title asked the question Is Cap’n Crunch Easing Quietly Into Retirement?

The piece was a rumination on the challenges facing the brand: its shrinking market share, public criticism of food companies that market to children, and White House pressure to make healthier products. It concluded that this is a pretty good time for the Cap’n to maintain a low profile.

The blogosphere then took that thread of speculation and ran with it:
Cap’n Crunch Retires (Seattle Post-Intelligencer); Cap’n Crunch sails into obscurity (Today on MSNBC); Cap’n Crunch Retirement (Yahoo! Buzz).

Fox News took it a step further, fabricating a political angle: Food Police Kill Cap’n Crunch (Fox Nation), inspiring headlines in conservative blogs like Obama’s Soggies Force Cap’n Crunch Into Early Retirement (AsianConservatives.com), and Cap n’ Crunch: Michelle Obama Forces Captain Crunch’s Retirement? (Conservative BlogsCentral).

It took the Cap’n himself to put the rumors to rest via his newly-created Twitter account (@RealCapnCrunch): “I’m hearing the rumors. I would never retire. I love being a captain too much!”

Cap’n Crunch has sailed back from the brand equivalent of the Bermuda Triangle with its greater social media presence. The new website tiptoes around nutritional issues offering only that Cap’n Crunch is a great-tasting cereal which supplies grains, an excellent source of seven essential vitamins, is low in fat, cholesterol-free, has 0 grams of trans fat, and contains 1 gram of fiber.

Which just goes to show, you can’t believe everything you read on the internet.
Tony the Tiger and Count Chocula could not be reached for comment.


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Count Chocula’s New Year’s Resolution

image via Serious Play for Serious Girls


Beginning next year, General Mills will be limiting the sugar in its children’s cereals to no more than 10 grams per serving.
10 grams is 3½ teaspoons of sugar, representing one-third by weight of the serving. Even so, this is no easy feat for the maker of Trix, Lucky Charms, and Count Chocula.
But it is also just a smoke screen obscuring the real issue of unethical marketing to children. […]

Posted in food business, health + diet | Tagged , , | 3 Comments

Breakfast Breakthroughs


The Rube Goldberg-esque automated breakfast cooking machine is a pop culture staple.
The comically convoluted gadgets are like shorthand for mad scientist. Think of Doc Brown in the Back to the Future trilogy; the father/inventor in Honey, I Shrunk the Kids; even Pee Wee Herman got one in his Big Adventure. Toast, coffee, juice, and eggs at the push of a button is the holy grail of kitchen technology. Here are some recent kitchen innovations that take us a few steps closer to that reality.


The Cuisinart Egg Cooker handles up to seven eggs at a time. It hulks futuristically on your countertop where it boils or poaches to the precise consistency.


http://www.ipmart.com/contents/products/P57000/57710/extra_pic/NostalgiaElectrics_Dough-Nu-Matic_DON-100.jpg The Dough-Nu-Matic automatically forms, fries, and drains mini-doughnuts in under a minute. It drops the finished doughnuts into a receptacle at the end, but you’ll be tempted to position your gaping yaw directly beneath.

Is there any better way to wake up than to the sizzle and smell of bacon? Before bed, you slide frozen bacon strips into the cooking drawer of the Wake n’ Bacon alarm clock/bacon cooker. The 10 minutes cooking time is better than a snooze button.
http://blog.gadgethelpline.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/08/chefstack.jpg If you’ve ever tried to make pancakes for a crowd, you’ll appreciate the ChefStack. It’s a fully automated pancake maker that can crank out a flapjack every 18 seconds—that’s right, 180 pancakes per hour.
It’s only 3 functions but we’re getting close with the toaster oven-hot plate-coffee maker combination that is the Maxi-Matic EBK-200 Elite Cuisine 3-in-1 Breakfast Station 4-Cup Coffee Maker.
See the modern-day Rube Goldbergs who took a Craigslist curb alert’s-worth of castoffs and spare parts to create an all-chain reaction breakfast-maker. It scrambles eggs, juices oranges, brews coffee, makes toast, and plates the whole thing up with jam, meat, and cheese. A single push of a button sends an egg rolling from a chicken cage down a chute and onto a hot plate where it breaks and cooks.  Simultaneously, a coffee grinder is dropping freshly ground beans into a cup while water boils, oranges are squeezed into a juice glass, and a loaf of bread rides on a conveyor belt for slicing and then drops into a toaster. When it pops, the toast moves to a butter and jam paint roller. The toast and scrambled egg drop onto a plate on a sliding tray where they are joined by juice and coffee. Voila, breakfast!
View the video here.

Posted in appliances + gadgets, diversions | Tagged , , | 2 Comments

Flavored Brews: Who Wants Beer that Tastes Like Beer?

Is flavored beer a venial sin against the beer gods?
Or is it an homage to a centuries-old European tradition?

The Belgians have their cherry- and berry-flavored lambics, and the British love their summertime citrus-lager shandies. The first wave of American craft brewers followed with seasonal fruit brews based on native ingredients like summer blueberry and autumn pumpkin beer. […]
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Hung Over? You Need Food!


The office party. The neighbors’ open house. Too much holiday cheer. Nogs and bubbly and toddies.
Forget about the hair of the dog; you need food.

Eating before drinking is a good thing. Food in your stomach slows down the absorption of alcohol into your bloodstream and gives your body a little extra time to process alcohol’s byproducts. Dairy products can also protect the stomach lining. Smoothies and sports drinks can help maintain electrolytes and keep you hydrated. Fried and fatty foods stick to the stomach lining the longest. In Mediterranean countries it’s traditional to down a spoonful of olive oil before imbibing.

Last Call
Replenish before bed with a few glasses of water. It fights dehydration and helps break down the alcohol still in your stomach and dilute what’s in your bloodstream. Even better are enhanced waters and sports drinks that can replace the salts and minerals lost through drinking.

The morning after
Before you reach for the coffee, try some juice. The fructose will give you a boost of energy and metabolize any residual alcohol, and the vitamin C can flush out toxins. Experienced drinkers swear by the restorative effects of prickly pear juice.

Eggs are a good choice for breakfast. They contain large amounts of cysteine, a substance that breaks down the hangover-causing toxins that alcohol leaves in your liver. And what about mopping up the eggs with burnt toast? There’s an urban legend kind of remedy that claims that the carbon in burnt toast will act like a filter to remove alcohol and toxins, akin to the carbon that is pumped into the stomach of a poisoning victim. But a hangover and alcohol poisoning are two very different animals, as are activated carbon and blackened toast.

Now, the coffee
The caffeine will help fight fatigue. It can also alleviate a headache by constricting blood vessels in your head that the alcohol swelled. Unfortunately, coffee is a diuretic and will exacerbate dehydration so that ultimately that hangover headache will come roaring back. Hydrate. And hydrate some more.

The best cure of all is time. Most hangovers disappear within 8 to 24 hours.

Need more suggestions?

The Chowhound board has a thread dedicated to hangover foods.

NationalGeographic.com features an interactive chart of hangover cures from around the globe.

Over at Hangover School, they rate the cures, including a new breed of preventive treatments.

Deep-fried canaries, Polish pickle juice—the LA Times has a slideshow of the world’s worst hangover cures.


Posted in beer + wine + spirits | Tagged , | 10 Comments

Lazy Food

image via BBC News


Fast food for slow cooks.

Have you looked around the supermarket lately? The garlic has been peeled, the pineapples have their cores removed, and the onions are already chopped. There are pre-cooked slices of bacon and shrink-wrapped potatoes— washed and poked and ready to bake.

The ease and convenience are undeniable, as is the waste: a minimally-packaged, shelf-stable food is transformed into a product that is now encased in plastic and requires refrigeration. It has lost nutrients and gained preservatives, and its price has risen exponentially. […]

Posted in cook + dine, food trends | Tagged , , , | 9 Comments

Donuts on the Verge


Be cool, people.

It’s happening again. Another humble, familiar snack is getting the upscale treatment. This time, let’s try to keep our wits about us.

Donuts are definitely having their pop culture moment. Pastry chefs are experimenting with unorthodox forms and flavor combinations. They appear on upscale restaurant menus, dressed in high style. Trendy brides are requesting donut towers in place of wedding cakes. […]

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Breakfast Any Time


I was at this restaurant. The sign said Breakfast Anytime. So I ordered french toast in the Renaissance.

— Steven Wright


Breakfast for lunch. Or dinner.

Breakfast is a meal best served all day. Few of us have the time or the inclination for much more than some nibbles of toast with our morning coffee. Better to save the calories and indulgent flavors for a midday break or even dinner when the day is winding down and we can take the time to savor them. […]

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Raise Your Hand if You’re Sick of the Bacon Hype


Let me start by saying I like bacon as much as the next gal.

I get the allure. It’s sweet and smoky and salty and meaty. There is no smell more intoxicating than that of bacon cooking. It is understandably the gateway meat that brings vegetarians back in the fold.

But come on people. Enough with the silly bacon love. […]

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The Last Banana on Earth

       image courtesy of Geostationary Banana Over Texas
Bananas are on a crash course to extinction.
10 years, give or take. That’s how long scientists are giving the banana.
Then what will we slice on our morning cereal? […]
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Hungover? You need food!


The office party.  The neighbors’ open house. Nogs and bubbly and toddies.  A little too much holiday cheer?

Forget about the hair of the dog; you need food.


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Night Owls Rejoice.

Open 24 Hours 23 x 23 Neon Sign

Jet lag. Insomnia. Jonesing for a a 3 am patty melt.

Whatever the reason, it’s an ungodly hour and you’re awake. And hungry.
It used to be that you’d get in your car and drive around looking for the neon light of a diner, flashing its greasy beacon of all-night dining. But now we have 2itch.com, a map-based site that features businesses that are open 24 hours a day, seven days a week. […]

Posted in phone applications, restaurants, social media, Travel | Tagged , , , , | 1 Comment

Bespoke Granola


Granola is a tricky little bugger.

It is so strongly associated with all things healthy and natural that the Urban Dictionary defines granola as an adjective used to describe people who are left-leaning, environmentally aware, and are inclined to forgo vaccines, body hair removal, and the consumption of animal products and by-products. But when it comes to healthy and natural, the truth is granola has been coasting on its reputation for years. […]

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