Why are things so quiet around here? We moved! We are back in Chicago for a year, which means more foodie adventures, and hopefully more regular updates to this page…. In lieu of a major update, I wanted to share an interesting site that readers of this site may enjoy: a Taste of South Sudan. South Sudan is the world’s youngest country (it split from Sudan in 2011), and is home to a rich food culture. A Taste of South Sudan is written by Noema, a doctor from South Sudan, currently living in Texas. We don’t know much about Sudanese food, but are excited to try some of Noema’s recipes, including Kahk, Sudanese sugar cookies (video below), and Bamia Tabiq, meat stew with okra.
The history of the Indian community in Eastern Africa is long, and complicated. Countries like Kenya and Uganda have had Indian communities for centuries, but the Indian migration to Africa started at a large scale in the 1800s. We recently stumbled upon a great blog with Indian recipes with East African roots: K.O. Rasoi. The author, Sanjana, is British-born, but with a Gujarati family with roots in East Africa. Sanjana’s recipes are primarily Gujarati and vegetarian in origin, but with East African influences. Check out her recipes for the Mombasa-style Kachri Bateta (potato stew with sour green mangoes) and Mombasa-style Daal Kachori (samosa-like lentil fritters, seen below), and chili-lime cassava. We were also intrigued by her recipe for the popular, creatively-named Ugandan street food – “Rolex.”
In honor of Martin Luther King Day, Chef Marcus Samuelsson will attempt to recreate a meal that Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was scheduled to have on the day he was assassinated. On April 4, 1968, MLK had planned to have dinner with Reverend Samuel “Billy” Kyles in Memphis. The dinner, to be prepared by women in Kyles’ congregation, included Southern favorites like fried chicken, ham, sweet potatoes, and sweet potato pie, and was later known as “The meal that never was.” Today at his restaurant in Harlem, Red Rooster, Samuelsson will pay tribute to MLK with a meal based on that menu.
Filed under history, Links, Note
David Bowie (1947 – 2016) was a brilliant tastemaker for decades in the world of Fashion, Music and Art (and their intersections), but it turns out his tastes for food were a little more traditional. Bowie’s favorite dish of all time was reported as a simple English Shepherd’s Pie, which his wife Iman would often whip up for the singer. Food and Wine has a series of recipes to choose from, so why not make a Shepard’s Pie in honor of Bowie this week?
Filed under Links, News, Recipes
We are completely enthralled by the latest creation by French artist Alexandre Dubosc, “Melting Pop.” In this video, he creates a zoetrope out of a spinning cake – a “caketrope” – decorated with popcorn and chocolate. You really have to watch the video to believe it. You can also check out more of Dubosc’s animated food videos on his Vimeo page.
We have to share an awesome blog we came across recently, Paper Plates, which features two of our favorite things: food and books. Written by Chicago-based journalist, Amina Elahi, Paper Pates features recipes inspired by literature (new and old). We are impressed by the breadth of the books featured, the thoughtful reviews and – of course – the sumptuous recipes. We are looking forward to making the stuffed bread inspired by Junot Díaz’ “This is How You Lose Her.”
Filed under Links, Recipes
A single word may have many meanings, and that is especially true when it comes to food! To me, the word “falafel” conjures up an image of fried chickpea croquette; but the flavors, shapes and contents of the simple falafel may vary widely by country. Community Radio of Northern Colorado has a very interesting piece about what falafel is to a variety of cultures in the Bay Area, from Sudanese to Israeli.
Palestinian falafel from the former Chickpea Restaurant in Chicago
I love learning about hybrid cuisines that are shaped by a convergence of languages, countries and cultures. One cultural exchange I had never considered was the influence of Mexican food and Chinese cuisine on the US border. This is not a new mash-up either, with cultural exchange going back as much as 100 years. Mexicali, Mexico, right across the US border, is home to as many as 200 Chinese restaurants. Fascinating!
It’s no secret that Franklin BBQ in Austin, Texas is one of the most popular and acclaimed barbecue restaurants in the country. The waits are so long, that the line to get inside even has its own Twitter account. If you, like us, are nowhere near Austin, we have found something to tide you over: a BBQ-centric YouTube series by Aaron Franklin, “Barbecue with Franklin,” which covers BBQ tips, recipes and techniques.
Here, in the first video, Aaron walk us through the process of preparing a brisket! This series is putting us in the BBQ mode, so hopefully some BBQ weather will be right around the corner.
Some croissants are straight while others are crescent shaped…. but does it MEAN anything, or is it just decorative? Turns out France actually has laws about what each shape indicates. According to Everywhereist, in France, only all-butter croissants are legally allowed to have a straight shape (as seen below)! Any croissant, even those made with part margarine or other oils, can be crescent shaped. There’s your strange fact for the day.
Pourover coffee is having a moment, but now Starbucks in Japan is taking it one further with their “origami” single use pourover kit. Seems like a pretty cool way to brew coffee, and we certainly prefer it over the more common single-serve coffee method of K-Cups or freeze dried coffee powder. What do you think – would you use origami?
Filed under Coffee, Links
In Oaxaca we were floored by the delicious chocolate, and its almost-ubiquitous presence. There was even a chocolate street, Mina street, where you can load up on chocolate in all forms (definitely worth a future post). Many of the stores on Mina street demonstrate how chocolate is made right in the front of the shop. We were surprised to see how (relatively) easy it is to make, though the huge quantities are a little daunting. Saveur has a short instructional video showing you how it’s done, though you do need a grinder, even at home.
Inspired by both our hunt for the perfect gyros, and our undying love for al pastor trompos, we were excited to this video about how the emblematic Kronos gyros cone is made. If you are from Chicago, the sometimes-cheesy “Kronos” gyros signs are nearly ubiquitous.
There have been several high-profile stories in the past few months about the rise of upscale restaurants and dining culture in the favelas of Rio de Janeiro. A new development in Rio is Regina Tchelly’s Favela Orgânica project, which is changing the way food is used and thought about in the Babilônia favela. Tchelly’s mission is to take the parts of ingredients that are mostly thrown away, and use them in new and interesting ways. Seems like a mission that can – and should – expand throughout Rio and beyond!
Apparently Southern Australia is undergoing something of a food renaissance, thanks in part to the tireless work of an expat Scotsman. We are very interested to hear about this development in Adelaide, the capital of South Australia, since Australian cuisine usually flies under the radar, especially outside of some mentions of Sydney and Melbourne.
We have come across recipes calling for something called “Maggi” or “Maggi Seasoning” in Latin American, Asian and European recipes alike, and it had always wondered about this mystery ingredient. So what IS Maggi?! Turns out Maggi seasoning is a thin, salty and savory sauce somewhat like soy sauce. Also like soy sauce, the role of Maggi is to give a savory umami kick to any dish. We were incredibly interested to learn that Maggi was originally a Swiss product, and was created in 1872. Maggi is now a huge international brand name which was bought in the 1940s by Nestle, and hosts a ton of other products like bouillon cubes, ramen and sauces under its banner. However, the most famous Maggi product is probably still the seasoning sauce, Maggi-Würze. You can find Maggi in a diverse array of stores given its international popularity and we have seen it in German, Chinese, Mexican and Russian food stores (the formulations may also vary by country). So what do you do with Maggi? How about make a quick Vietnamese steak, Indian-style noodles, Malaysian black pepper chicken or a Mexican michelada.
We first learned of the Post Office’s celebrity chef stamps at Chicago Gourmet this year, where you could pick up a postcard with one of the stamps and fill in your favorite dish by the chef. The chefs featured in the stamp series are: James Beard, Julia Child, Joyce Chen, Edna Lewis, and Felipe Rojas-Lombardi, who are profiled in the LA Times. At Chicago Gourmet people, posted a range of dishes inspired by each chef, and I had to give a nod to Southern chef Edna Lewis’ Shrimp and Grits. The post office also recently featured a Farmer’s Market stamp series, and we certainly appreciate the foodie turn of our recent letters.
I recently stumbled across the James Beard Award-winning Perennial Plate, an excellent blog and video series which is self-described as “dedicated to socially responsible and adventurous eating.” Though the series started in Minnesota, they have now gone worldwide and feature videos about food and food culture from around the world: Japan to Ethiopia and beyond. Check out all of the Perennial Plate videos on Vimeo. It is hard to pick out just one to highlight! To keep with the theme of winnowing down, below is a video that is “Two weeks in Morocco boiled down to three minutes.” Having spent a little time in Morocco, this certainly captures the feeling of sensory overload. I’m definitely going to be catching up on this backlog of videos ASAP!
[Via Metafilter] We recently came across an absolutely fascinating video depicting a master fake food maker in Japan. That’s right, FAKE food, known in Japanese as sampuru, which is derived from the English word “sample.” In many restaurants in Japan, as well as Japanese restaurants abroad, enticing fake food is put on display to give potential customers an idea of what they will get. Creating the food itself is an art, and sometimes it’s even a little hard to tell real from fake.
Scouring the farmer’s markets for seasonal fruits and veggies is always fun, and assures the freshest and best ingredients. Naturally, this seasonal approach is even applicable to pie. The Modern Farmer has a visual guide for a seasonal pie for every month, even those months where produce may seem like a distant memory (think chocolate for February, like the chocolate chess pie below from Hoosier Mama below). October is apple season, so it’s time for a trip to the orchard for pie supplies.
Hoosier Mama Chocolate Chess Pie