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Egg Nog: It’s All Fun and Games Until Someone Starts a Holiday Riot

Egg nog has not always been such a refined holiday quaff. Photo via Flickr user Dinner Series. December 25, 1826, at West Point was not a typical Christmas morning. Cadets stumbled from their barracks, clothes torn or astrew. Many were barefoot, cursing, still drunk from the night before. Behind the cadets, West Point’s North Barracks stood in a state...

Stop Ruining Your Christmas Cookies! Follow These Tips to Better Baking

Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons. ‘Tis the time of year when amateur and professional bakers alike strut their culinary skills for the holiday party. But not even the simplest recipe or glossiest magazine photo spread can prevent an epic cookie fail. Even pre-packaged cookie boxes like the one below can drive home cooks batty. Photo courtesy of imgur.com. That...

How the “Sneeze Guard” Changed Buffet Tables Forever

One of the first “sneeze guards” appeared in Johnny Garneau’s American Style Smorgasbord in Monroeville 1958. Image courtesy of Barbara Garneau Kelley. Next time you are at an all-you-can eat buffet, imagine the food displays without any covering: there are flies in the coleslaw, the man in front of you leans over the spread, breathing heavily. His...

Why are Cheese and Seafood Supposedly a Bad Combo? It’s Delicious!

Seafood Alfredo: a delicious culinary sin. Photo courtesy of Flickr user Dee West. Italian culinary doctrine – a constitution held up by Italian home matriarchs where infractions can be punishable by no supper or death – is very clear on the subject. Cheese and seafood shall not be mixed. Ever. Yet, if you stumble around France long enough you’re bound...

The Best Kosher Wine in Israel May or May Not Be From Israel

Dr. Shivi Drori tests a sample of wine from Gvaot Boutique Winery. Photo courtesy of Gvaot Boutique Winery. Elitzur Eitan has no desire to ever live within pre-1967 Israel. Until 2005, he lived in the Gaza Strip settlement of Gush Katif, which was forcibly evacuated under the leadership of former Prime Minister Ariel Sharon. Now, he lives deep in the...

This Man Made the First Canned Cranberry Sauce

Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons. Americans consume 5,062,500 gallons of jellied cranberry sauce—Ocean Spray’s official name for the traditional Thanksgiving side dish we know and love that holds the shape of the can it comes in—every holiday season. That’s four million pounds of cranberries—200 berries in each can—that reach a gel-like consistency...

When Thanksgiving Meant a Fancy Meal Out on the Town

Beautiful art on the menu for Thanksgiving Day, 1916, at the Greyhound Inn. A few years back, when she was the director and librarian of the Pilgrim Hall Museum, Peggy Baker came across a fascinating document at a rare book and ephemera sale in Hartford, Connecticut. It was a four-course menu for a luxurious dinner at the Hotel Vendome in Boston for...

Noma Chef Rene Redzepi on Creativity, Diversity in the Kitchen, and that Time Magazine Story

Rene Redzepi, chef/owner of Noma in Copenhagen, is one of the world’s most influential chefs. Rene Redzepi was 25 years old when he opened his first restaurant, Noma, in Copenhagen, and 32 years old when it was crowned the best restaurant in the world. Noma, which stands for nordisk mad, or Nordic food, held that title from 2010 to 2012, serving a scrupulously...

It’s the Umami, Stupid. Why the Truth About MSG is So Easy to Swallow

Would you use these crystals in your kitchen if they were called “super delicious umami crystals?” Photo via Wikipedia. In 1908, over a bowl of seaweed soup, Japanese scientist Kikunae Ikeda asked a question that would change the food industry forever: what gave dashi, a ubiquitous Japanese soup base, its meaty flavor? In Japanese cuisine, dashi, a...

The Widow Who Created the Champagne Industry

Do you know the story behind the veuve of Veuve Clicquot? Photo via Flicker user Wesley Vieira Fonseca. Highlighted by its distinctive gold-yellow label, a bottle of Veuve Clicquot champagne is hard to ignore. In 2012, it was the second highest selling brand of champagne in the world, with 1,474,000 nine-liter cases sold worldwide. But Veuve Clicquot...

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