Sure, astrophysicists have big telescopes, and oceanographers use underwater robots, but some researchers get to cook venison, lots of it, in the name of science. Last month in the journal Scientific Reports, a team of archaeologists and organic chemists described how they had spent a year cooking a variety of meals in clay pots and then investigating the organic residues left behind. No one got a hearty meal out of this lab work, but the researchers found that some residues traced just the last round of ingredients, while others reflected the long-term cooking history of each pot. By documenting the results of these experiments, the team hopes to help scientists reconstruct ancient culinary practices. Although preparing and consuming food are integral parts of the human experience, culinary traditions often get lost in the archaeological record, said Jillian A. Swift, an archaeologist at the Bishop Museum in Honolulu and one of the co-authors. “We end up with these very … [Read more...] about The Hidden History Baked Into a Cooking Pot
What would the holidays be without jokes about fruitcake — that it’s leaden, dry and hard, better used as a doorstop or dumbbell than served as dessert? Every December, fruitcake’s loathsomeness is enshrined on greeting cards and in cartoons. The comedian Johnny Carson famously cracked that there was but one fruitcake in existence that’s passed around continuously from person to person. Fruitcake, in short, is an archetype of bad food. While it’s arguably appropriate to malign mass-produced fruitcakes — the ones studded with preternaturally green and red glacéed cherries, and topped with shellacked pecan halves — doing so isn’t fair to traditional English fruitcake. That recipe develops a spicy, molasses-y flavor and a rich, tender crumb from a lengthy aging process (after the cake is baked, it’s periodically basted or “fed” with high-proof alcohol and kept tightly wrapped for several weeks or even months). If more people could taste this kind of fruitcake, which is … [Read more...] about Fruitcake Is Delicious, and This Recipe Proves It
Photo-Illustration: Intelligencer; Photos: Getty Images The Big Lie took a beating in the midterms. Of the six 2020 election deniers vying to take control of a battleground state’s election systems, not a single one was victorious. But democracy isn’t exactly safe from being undermined by a campaign of falsehoods orchestrated by Donald Trump, who is trying to retake the White House. In response to Trump’s ascent and other challenges across the world to shared truths that stitch together societies, some scholars have begun to argue that it’s time to reconsider the meaning of freedom of speech. “The question is gaining traction among legal academics,” says Richard Hasen, a professor at UCLA Law School. It’s a fraught undertaking, to be sure. In the United States, the First Amendment protects speech to a degree rare elsewhere in the world. But these are extraordinary times. It’s not just that lies have become more common in the age of MAGA, perverting the public’s ability to make … [Read more...] about Do You Have a Right Not to Be Lied To?
This is a carousel. Use Next and Previous buttons to navigate 3 Braised sausages and lentils are classic French comfort food, and by streamlining the recipe, we bring it out of the countryside and squarely into the weeknight rotation. Many traditional recipes make a fuss out of an otherwise simple meal, often boiling the lentils and sausages separately, then assembling them together for a final bake. Instead, in this recipe from our book “Cook What You Have,” which draws on pantry staples to assemble easy, weeknight meals, we buck tradition and use one skillet, start to finish. We use Italian sausages because they come already seasoned with spices, and you can decide on hot or sweet depending on your heat tolerance. After browning them, we take advantage of the flavorful fond in the pan to infuse lentils with flavor. Dark-green French lentils du Puy take a bit more time to soften compared to other varieties of lentils, but they’re worth a few … [Read more...] about Caper relish lightens weeknight-friendly sausage and lentils
At 6 a.m. on a recent Tuesday, the chef Tanya Holland sat alert in the green room of “Good Morning America” just off Times Square, asking her small team if they needed anything. With dozens of television appearances under her belt, Ms. Holland did not seem nervous, but instead used this quiet moment to rehearse her brief cooking segment. “I’ve done this many times,” she said, while getting a touch-up from her makeup artist. Her mood was meditative, despite the hundred moving pieces in the studio. It was not unlike the morning routine she kept at her restaurant, Brown Sugar Kitchen , nearly 3,000 miles away in Oakland, Calif. As the chef and owner of the nationally recognized soul-food restaurant, which was open 2008 to 2021, Ms. Holland began most days at 5:30 a.m., heating oil in anticipation of orders of fried chicken, boiling water for poached eggs, signing off on orders of fresh produce and baking pecan-topped sticky buns to a golden brown as customers began to queue outside. … [Read more...] about The Chef Tanya Holland Chronicles the Journey of ‘California Soul’
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. — Dolester Miles bought a pair of black slacks and a sequined blouse to wear to the James Beard Foundation awards ceremony in Chicago this month. She wanted to look nice, even though she didn’t think she was going to be chosen pastry chef of the year. She was up against some heavy hitters. There was Margarita Manzke, whose desserts at the bistro République were declared “terrific” by Jonathan Gold in The Los Angeles Times, and Meg Galus of Boka in Chicago, whose recipes made use of toasted milk and the funk of fermented black lime. Why in the world would the 600 or so Beard Foundation voters pick a self-taught, 61-year-old cook from a small steel-making town who has spent the past 30 years making Southern-influenced desserts for the same Alabama restaurant? Ms. Miles, who prefers you just call her Dol, had been nominated twice before, so she was used to losing. So was Frank Stitt, who had hired her 36 years ago to make salads at the Highlands Bar & Grill . … [Read more...] about An Alabama Chef and Her Beloved Desserts Hit the Big Time