An ode to offal: Romans are proud of their city’s unique cuisine and borderline obsessed with their historic dishes. It’s one of the reasons local dishes dominate the city’s tables and other Italian regional cooking is treated as exotic and distinct. Many of Rome’s recipes were developed over the past 150 years as the city grew from a hungry rural village into a booming European capital of over 4 million. While the city’s economy has improved significantly, Romans continue to celebrate their humble and historic cucina povera(dishes fashioned from poor cuts of meat and offal) as a way to stay connected to the past. Today trattoria menus, butcher shops, supermarkets, and even fast food joints proudly showcase these ingredients.
Thomas Keller, an Exacting Chef at a Crossroads: In the tight confines of a New York cab, Thomas Keller leaned against his interviewer’s shoulder. It was an intimate move for a chef whose hallmarks are precision, decorum and control. Mr. Keller wanted to talk about children and the Easter egg hunt his team hosts every year at Addendum, a garden and takeout spot just down the street from the French Laundry, his flagship restaurant in Yountville, Calif.
Explosive cheese, lethal beer and poisonous orange juice: when food causes natural disasters: How come Hollywood never makes disaster movies about culinary ingredients? Why don’t you ever see Chris Hemsworth fleeing a tidal wave of spilt lager? Where’s Bruce Willis, battling to prevent catastrophic explosions due to terrifyingly ripe cheeseboards? Whither Vin Diesel fighting to save our oceans from a deadly avalanche of syrup? As a Russian town found out last week after it was flooded by tropical juice, it’s definitely not because food and drink doesn’t lead to environmental crises. Here are a few of the worst culinary disasters ever to befall humanity.
Mensho: charting a new course for the future of ramen: Ramen is no longer just ramen. Japan’s favorite noodle is changing in front of our eyes, evolving into new forms that have little in common with the classic soul-food bowls of the past.
The Next Great Age of Peruvian Cuisine: Trinidad Huamani and Francisco Quico are making an oven out of the earth. They collect stones and chunks of clay from the farmland around them, then form a small dome, held together by the shear force of gravity, with an opening on one side. Inside, they start a fire with eucalyptus, fava bean stems and leaves and they keep adding to the fire as the heat grows stronger. A small hole is added in the back to release some of the smoke. After thirty or so minutes, the walls on the inside of the oven become blackened. When the oven, called a huatía, is on the verge of collapse the tubers – ocas, mashuas, and different varieties of Andean potatoes that have just been harvested – are added into the oven and then they tear it apart with their hands, extinguishing the flame. They push the dirt and rocks inward, forming a small mound, and then poke at the pieces with pickaxes until it becomes tightly packed dirt. Pachamama (mother earth) and the potatoes have become one.
Magical mezcal: The cantina has no name. Shuttered outside and completely unobtrusive. Inside the walls are panelled with dark ply, there’s a ridiculously well-stocked bar in the corner and waiters in white jackets spread around the room. It has the bleak atmosphere of men-only drinking clubs the world over: the pitiless strip lights of a Scottish boozer; the out-of-date calendar of an edge-of-town biker bar in Mississippi; grubby, functional and masculine like a Lancashire workingmen’s club or a block-end bar in a Rust-Belt town.
How luxury winemakers are cutting out the middleman: It may not look like it to judge from the prices but the producers of the most famous wines in the world have a problem. Now that their trophy bottles have moved into the luxury goods category, they are obvious targets for speculators (and counterfeiters, but that’s another story). The problem the producers have is to find — and pamper — those who will actually drink their stuff rather than trade it.
Why are wax capsules used and is there a trick to removing them? – Ask Decanter: Tim Warner, Surrey asks: Why are wax capsules used to cover the cork in some wine bottles? And is there a trick to removing them without creating lots of mess? Christelle Guibert replies: Historically, wax capsules protected the cork from rodents in the cellar; they also hid any sign of leakage as corks were less reliable than they are today. By the 1980s, the wax was replaced with aluminium, but there is a growing trend today to use wax seals once more; indeed I use wax for my own Muscadet.
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