July 19, 1989 |
I'm generally not on the same wavelength as animal-rights activists, but I must admit they have a point when they object to the conditions under which formula-fed veal is produced. Cramming an animal into a cage the size of a shoe box and feeding it a diet by Du Pont is, at the very least, unnatural. One of the ironies of this system is that it produces very expensive meat that isn't very flavorful. It must be Mother Nature's way of telling us that something is out of kilter. The reason formula-fed veal isn't particularly tasty is that the calves are allowed little or no muscle development.
July 5, 1994
In tomato history, this will be a landmark year - another one. It is the Year of the Flavr Savr, the genetically engineered variety, said to rot more slowly on the shelf, giving it more time to ripen on the vine. And more time, the word is, to build up a head of flavor (as it used to be spelled). The proof is still wending its way from California's fields. So we'll withhold judgment, though we are not without prejudice: We're attached, frankly, to old-time tomatoes - the big boys that are just starting to roll in from Jersey, the sweet Beefsteaks, the soft, juicy, red, outdoor tomatoes that, by next week, will be polka-dotting Lancaster County.
February 6, 1991 |
Hearty heritage foods are the latest culinary fashion. Unfortunately, most traditional ethnic dishes carry a high import tax in excess calories. Why? Traditional peasant dishes developed in a time and place where people performed more physical labor than we do here and now. However, it is possible to borrow inspiration from all sorts of ethnic cuisines, without the fat and calories you can't afford. Flavor, per se, isn't necessarily high in calories. The real flavor-makers in most hearty, robust peasant dishes tend to be low-cal, even calorie-free.
July 24, 1991 |
A friend of mine who is a very good cook recently told me she simmers her tomato sauces for three days. I was amazed. After spending six years in France, with frequent trips to Italy, I learned that freshness and brief cooking are the key features of fine tomato sauces. The chefs I worked with at La Varenne Cooking School in Paris proved that a luscious tomato sauce demands only 10 or 15 minutes of simmering. The short cooking retains the tomatoes' natural taste and bright color and the cooking technique is foolproof.
March 22, 1995 |
Ginger is as ginger does. It is the heat in gingered beef as well as the jolt in ginger ale. It is the sweet of peaches poached in gingered syrup and the spark of gingersnaps. It is cool and delicate when it is served pickled beside a brick of sushi, and full of fragrant fire when it is used in a curried lamb stew. Ginger has many faces and a flavor for every occasion. To know it well is to know that its uses exceed the palate of any cuisine, for just when you think you know the kinds of food with which ginger works, another creative possibility arises.
May 12, 1998 |
Ramon Colon, sales manager for Puerto Rico's biggest bakery, doesn't need statistics to tell him what is obvious on the shelves of supermarkets on the island - flavor it with guava and it flies out of the stores. When his company produced a guava-flavored cake, it was an instant top-seller. When his company created a coffee cake with a layer of guava fruit, it moved right off the shelf. Same for other tropical flavors, such as papaya, coconut and pineapple. So when Colon's company, which also distributes Tastykake products on the island, heard that the Philadelphia company was planning a line of cakes with tropical flavorings, he got excited.
June 1, 1994 |
Traditional barbecue brisket can take a day or more in a wood-fired pit. But for entertaining family and friends more quickly, there's a shortcut to fork-tender brisket with wood-smoked flavor: Sear the brisket on a grill, then finish it in the oven. This virtually foolproof method produces brisket that looks and tastes like it was slow-smoked for 24 hours. Traditionally, brisket is cooked in water smokers or big barrel smokers with indirect fireboxes. These require a lot of attention as well as experience and experimentation.
August 9, 1998 |
Moshe Malka is out to change the reputation of health food. He knows most people can't regularly deny the bacchanalian demands of their taste buds to serve the boring concerns of their arteries. He knows that if it's a toss-up between a cheesesteak and fries or a tofu-and-sprout salad, most of us will go for the flavor, despite our best intentions. Malka wants us to have it both ways. And with business apparently booming at Moshe's, the health-food company he started here almost five years ago, the 48-year-old Israeli emigre is trying to spread the message that good-for-you food actually can taste good.
March 4, 1994 |
Like thousands of area residents, I've had my fill of flurries, flakes and freezing rain. For the past three months, my world has been one giant snow cone and I can't stand the flavor I've been handed. I don't need Accu-Weather to tell me how much tonnage has fallen. How much snow have we gotten? Too much. Enough is enough, I say. I can't bear to shovel one more shovelful of snow or wield another windshield scraper. Even the weather forecasters have run out of adjectives to describe the cold, sticky stuff.
April 2, 1989 |
You've seen them. Luscious-looking berries, as bright as fresh paint, perfectly perched in their plastic baskets on tables lined with artificial turf. They're brilliant in every way but one. They lack flavor. The crowds of beautiful berries now found in the local markets - and selling for very attractive prices - were an unexpected gift in the midst of the recent fruit scares. But the gift proved to be a Trojan horse when we got the berries home. The best of the batch were watery and vaguely sweet.