The worst mistake everybody makes when cooking steak, according to Anthony Bourdain: World-famous food guy Anthony Bourdain has a new book out called “Appetites,” and he recently appeared on the Marc Maron “WTF” podcastto talk about it. During his conversation with Maron, Bourdain talks about how a lot of people just don’t know how to cook, and he offers some tips. At one point he describes how people get cooking steak all wrong. “No one knows how to grill a backyard steak in this country,” Bourdain says.
A foodie tour of Iran: it’s poetry on a plate: Imagine a verdant, landscape filled with rice paddies, tea plantations and olive groves. A land where you can hike up mountains in the thick mist of the morning and picnic by waterfalls on sun-weathered rocks in the afternoon. A land filled with golden apricots that taste like honey, peaches so succulent you barely notice the sweet juice that runs down your chin, and small black figs, firm and velvety to the touch, that erupt with jammy stickiness as you tear them open. I enjoyed all of these delights and more when I travelled through Iran in search of the secrets of the Persian kitchen.
Five Places to Eat in Versailles: Versailles, the third most-visited monument in France after the Louvre and the Eiffel Tower, has evolved into a seriously sublime food destination. Until recently, Versailles dining typically consisted of forgettable sandwiches and salads at tourist restaurants. Dining in this town 13 miles from Paris oddly paid little tribute to its most famous attraction, the magnificent, mostly 17th-century Château de Versailles. The palace, as it exists today, was largely built by Louis XIV, a notoriously epicurean monarch whose sumptuous meals included everything from deep-sea oysters and lobster aspic to wild duck croquettes and morel mushroom soufflé. Now, though, the culinary reputation of Versailles is in the midst of a delicious revival as talented chefs open restaurants so good they’re pulling Parisians.
The Problems With Food Media That Nobody Wants to Talk About: In 2013, Time magazine published its infamous “Gods of Food” issue, which immediately drew ire from food writers who were dismayed by its wholesale disregard for female chefs. Their outrage was justified, of course, but a broader question loomed in our minds: If food media is so quick to jump on the myopia of a mainstream publication, where’s the soul-searching about our own shortcomings and blind spots?
What do we mean by minerality? One morning this month a bearded geologist from the University of Aberystwyth in Wales robbed 58 Masters of Wine, MW students and fellow wine lovers of one of their favourite concepts. As Professor Alex Maltman explained in a reasoned, well-illustrated talk, there can be no direct link between what is below the surface of a vineyard and the flavours found in the resulting wine. This is despite the fact that soil type has long been held to be one of the fundaments of the notion of terroir. One of the most common activities among vine growers the world over is to dig a soil pit in their vineyards to show what type of rock lurks below. Any wine description worth its salt nowadays refers to the geology of the vineyard and, often, the “mineral” characteristics of the wine. The M-word is widely deployed as a positive attribute in a wine and, Maltman told us, the term is now seeping into other vocabularies, even to describe marijuana.
The menu: the world’s favourite piece of paper: The menu is the single piece of paper that gives the world the most pleasure. To date, nobody has successfully challenged me when faced with this bold statement. Bank statements are only cheering if you are in credit. A peace treaty implies that one side has lost. A marriage or birth certificate is pored over only very infrequently. And, of course, in a few years’ time these sorts of documents might not exist in a physical form at all.
Bordeaux Court Deliberates on Fraud Case Involving More Than 1 Million Bottles of Wine: A Bordeaux judicial tribunal is weighing the fates of eight men accused of trying to pass off more than 1 million bottles of cheap plonk as more expensive Bordeaux from top appellations. In a recent hearing, French prosecutor Nathalie Queran called for punishments ranging from a six-month suspended sentence to two years in prison and over $6.5 million in fines for the alleged culprits. A decision is expected on Nov. 3.
36 hours in Malta: Malta contains multitudes. Despite being the smallest member of the European Union, the Mediterranean archipelago below Sicily bears traces of numerous peoples and conquerors: Phoenicians, Carthaginians, Romans, Byzantines, Arabs, Spanish, French and, most notably, the European crusader knights known as the Order of Malta. Preachers (St.Paul), painters (Caravaggio) and politicians (Napoleon) have washed up on the rocky sun-roasted shores and left marks too. The Maltese language is close to Arabic (though English is the second official tongue). And residents drive on the left like the British, who governed the islands for much of the 19th and 20th centuries. The cuisine is infused with Italian flavors and ingredients — to say nothing of rabbit, the national dish — while the architecture ranges from mysterious ancient temples to masterful Baroque-era cathedrals to new postmodern experiments. Rather than try to encapsulate Malta, it’s best to simply plunge in. The walled cities of Valletta and Mdina are your entry points.