Needless to say, supermarket strawberries and their fresh-picked counterparts are of entirely different material: the first, a watery ectoplasm, the second, a thick honey. In the fields, strawberries grow close to the ground, buried under their own leaves and hay. Hence the German word Erdbeeren, or earth-berries. Yet, strawberries taste more celestial than chthonic; they are a blood spatter of sunlight cast into fleshy gems. Warmed by the sun, a fresh strawberry looks translucent and tastes like a heady breath of perfume. In St. Louis, we pick fist-sized berries, not fragile fraises des bois. Whereas the biggest supermarket berries often taste the weakest, the most mature specimens on the farm contain the most concentrated flavor: size does not signify dilution. We worked for an hour and harvested 15 pounds; thus far, we have canned eight jars of jam, baked two pies, and churned a few quarts of ice cream. With berries so sweet, I decided to add Greek yogurt to the recipe, retaining a few egg yolks for richness. I love the harsh scrape of strong yogurt against an almost cloying mouthful of fruit. The following recipe only works with the best, freshest berries, so be satisfied with pictures if you lack a local strawberry patch. Continue reading
Tag Archives: Summer
by Melissa von Mayrhauser, Columbia University
Everyday during our first break from German classes, my friends and I would escape grammatical structures in favor of a sweet haven, following the scent of strudel and Schnecken to the corner Bäckerei. Lounging on its apple red booths until our 20 minutes had passed, we snacked on sugary treats from all corners of Deutschland and held a pastry marathon to see if we could indulge in each delicacy before the final day of our course. We found that there’s more to German pastries than the average Bretzel. Continue reading
In St. Louis, late summer is menopausal. Temperatures drop to sunny California 70s before ricocheting back to the high 90s. One minute Mother Nature turns the thermostat down to 68, the next she’s stripping down to skivvies in a suburban bedroom. Tuesday I’m cannonballing into a blue backyard swimming pool, Wednesday I’m running through the first wisps of fall leaves. Living with a golden age Gaia isn’t easy; I want autumn in full force, not just the barest teases of calm. Continue reading
Sunday morning, we rubbed down a pork shoulder, started a fire, and let smoke slowly coax meat into submission. With all afternoon to while away (over Scrabble games, teen garden party supervision, and other such petit-bougie tasks), we prepared a skillet cornbread (complete with sun dried tomatoes and mushrooms on the top) and steamed a head of cauliflower. When dinner takes all day, anticipation reaches a breaking point. As the carving knife slid through bark and smoke ring and collagenous flesh, I could barely contain my appetite. In this video, we demonstrate how to make Sunday dinner last from morning till night, no sweat necessary.
Look for our short documentary, In the Most Unlikely Places: Eating Somewhere South, coming soon to a computer near you.
Plucking peaches off a tree is the first step towards spectacular sorbet.
Unlike supermarket fruit, fresh peaches teeter from tongue-stripping acidity to monstrous overripeness. The barest touch bruises the flesh of a ripe peach; so reach between branches with care, gently testing each fruit with a fond caress. On my latest picking excursion I ate five peaches in fifty minutes, then returned home for peach pie and cobbler and preserves and butter and barbecue sauce and a marvelous, marvelous sorbet. Distilled from eight raw peaches, the sorbet looks like frozen sunshine. Take a spoon and scrape a sample off a finished pint: the ice crystals collapse into a heap of summer snow.
This summer, I took a class on “Reading and Writing Food” at Columbia. Over the next few weeks, I will post a sampling of essays composed for that class.
The package came wrapped in enough duct tape to keep a stool pigeon quiet for days. After a breakfast of ribs and slaw, I walked it from Madison Square Park to Chelsea Market. 17th Street feels forlorn before the Sunday brunch crowd descends; I staggered, bleary-eyed and bellyful, watching the corners for hoppers and their crews trying to lift my sauce. Jake was my connection: his name scrawled in blue pen on cardstock, no further instructions. Dodging doughnuts, rent-a-cops, and their unhappy glances, I limped past the Market’s perfunctory security with well-earned confidence. I made my bones in North St. Louis, where hipsters need more than finger mustache tattoos and a Bed-Stuy walk-up. If you want that artisanal, hand-dipped milkshake at Crown Candy Kitchen (and, if you’re a hipster, you do), you’ll have to stare down the crackheads trying to boost your car and your stash. Dear Jake: I meant business. And I brought some serious heat with me, too. Continue reading
by Helen Wang, Yale University
Obscure spices, foreign flavors, and unconventional edibles have found their way into desserts over time, especially in Berkeley, but few do it with Ici’s flair—the three storefront-long line and twenty minute wait attest to their success. (And yes, it’s worth it.) From their Maple Bacon to their sweet Basil, Ici offers a diverse bunch of flavors waiting to please the palate. Here’s something that kicks more than their Curry: it’s all ice cream. Continue reading
“Barbecue is getting big baby.” Outside Ed Mitchell’s traveling sideshow, two cooks go at it with cleavers. As bits of pork fly in a flurry of pornographic flesh, the cashier grins and points down the avenue, still quiet at 10:20 a.m. “In 30 minutes, the line will be to Madison,” he predicts, and when the Big Apple Barbecue Block Party 2011 starts, 200 fanatics are already waiting for a taste of Ed Mitchell’s meat. I arrived an hour early and finagled a prime position near the front. Clad in overalls and plaid—his “Farmer John” outfit, the cashier explains—Mitchell presides over his stand with dominating charisma. He is the Santa Claus of barbecue, a man with a big smile and a bigger belly. Poking a turkey to check for doneness, Mitchell nods, makes the slightest gesture to his team, and the biggest barbecue show on Earth begins. Continue reading
Black and brown are two hues not usually associated with delicious food. In the food writer’s lexicon, these adjectives carry a special warning: handle with care. Prepare for readers to imagine decaying bananas and the far-reaches of frat house refrigerators. Continue reading
by Andrew Giambrone, Yale University
I hate to admit it, but I love paradoxes. And chocolate. That’s why I decided to try the new Frozen Hot Chocolate ($3.27) from Dunkin’ Donuts on a recent summer day. “How is that even possible?” I asked myself incredulously. “I must be hallucinating because of the heat.”
Sadly, I wasn’t.