Eat This Word: Pavolva

pavlova

 

WHAT? Named for the world-famous Russian ballerina Anna Pavlova, this fruit, whipped cream, and meringue dessert is claimed by rival nations. Aussies have long considered it their national dessert, but New Zealanders argue that they invented the pavlova, and they back up their claim with citations from cookbooks. The dancer toured both countries in the late 1920s. In Perth, Australia, she stayed at the Esplanade Hotel, whose chef, Herbert Sachse, is often credited with creating the dessert some six years later. Supposedly the pavlova acquired its name after someone proclaimed his dessert was "as light as pavlova." Others think the name stems from the fact that the ring-shaped meringue resembled pavlova's frilly, white costume in her most famous role, the Dying Swan. Pavlovas are traditionally filled with passion fruit.

 

WHERE? Finger Lakes Holiday Dinner

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Eat This Word: Geoduck

A geoduck, radish, and avocado canapé at the Beard House

 

WHAT? "These are the most bizarre-looking of all clams (and perhaps all foods)," James Peterson writes in Fish & Shellfish of the geoduck, which makes its home in the Pacific Northwest. Waverly Root wasn't much kinder, describing it as a "clam so fat that it cannot close its shell." The bigger specimens of the world's largest burrowing clam weigh as much as 20 pounds, live as long as 150 years, and their neck, or siphon, extends by as much as three feet. They resemble…er…something not polite to write here. But odd-looking as they are, the geoduck has many admirers, culinary and otherwise. "Geoduck meat is delicious," Alan Davidson writes in The Oxford Companion to Food. The siphon meat is stirred into chowders and used for sushi; the body is sautéed. Asians pay as much as $30 per pound to dine on them, according to William Dietrich in The Seattle Times, who... Read more >

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Eat This Word: Heritage Turkey

 

WHAT? If the Pilgrims did in fact feast on turkey at the first Thanksgiving in 1621, it's unlikely that the bird bore much resemblance to the turkeys on today's Thanksgiving tables. It may have looked more like a heritage turkey, the ancestor of the Broad-Breasted White turkey now sold in most supermarkets. Wild turkeys, which were native to the Americas and a primary source of meat for many Native American tribes, were domesticated in Europe and North America to create heritage breeds such as the Standard Bronze, Bourbon Red, Narragansett, Jersey Buff, Slate, Black Spanish, and the White Holland. By the 1960s the industrialized Broad-Breasted White, bred for its breast meat and ability to reach maturity in just two months, began to dominate the market, and by 1990 heritage turkeys were almost extinct. Usually raised on pasture, heritage breeds develop stronger legs, thighs, and breasts than their industrialized brethren, but since they take up to 30 weeks to reach market weight they are more expensive to... Read more >

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Eat This Word: Conch

 

WHAT? Over the centuries, Caribbean islanders have played tunes on the conch, drunk from it, made tools from it, adorned homes with it, used it as a primitive form of money, and--best of all--eaten it. "There is no doubt that since time immemorial, man has been breaking open conch shells in order to get at the succulent flesh inside," according to Culinaria, A Culinary Discovery: The Caribbean. The meat of this sea snail is tough and needs tenderizing with lime or by pounding before cooking. Its taste has been compared to clams and scallops. Conch, which propels itself along the ocean floor with its foot-like muscle, is used to make stews, chowders, and fritters. In the 17th century, the beautiful spiraled pink shell of the Queen Conch was prized in Europe. Today, entire conch orchestras make beautiful music in Key West at the island's annual Conch Blowing Contest.

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Eat This Word: Jaggery

Jaggery

 

WHAT? A dark, unrefined sugar, jaggery is used in Southeast Asia and India, regions where-we're told-sugar is considered good for you! Jaggery, which accounts for 50 percent of the sugar eaten in India, is made from sugar cane and is processed by a method not unlike that used to make maple syrup. The sweet sap from the sugarcane is boiled down while several people help stir the steadily thickening syrup. The finished product has a distinctive taste and can have a consistency as soft as honey-butter or as solid as fudge. India's epic narrative Mahabharata describes how jaggery (and gur, a sugar made from date palms) was used in sophisticated sweets at the time of Lord Krishna's appearance 5,000 years ago. 

 

WHERE? Eating Stories: Montreal to New Delhi 

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Eat this Word: Huckleberry

Huckleberries

 

WHAT? Perhaps more associated with Mark Twain’s Huckleberry Finn than with fine cuisine, huckleberries grow most widely in the West, and along Midwestern rivers, like the Mississippi, on which Huck spent so many days lazing. Huckleberries come in many shades, including pink, white, blue-black, and purple, with the blue-black variety being the firmest and most widely available in the marketplace. James Beard was a fan, writing in American Cookery that they were “wonderful to the taste.” Unlike their close relatives, blueberries and cranberries, which have a multitude of soft, little seeds in their center, each huckleberry contains ten hard, small seeds, and their flavor is more tart. Huckleberries are not cultivated; their growing season is typically from June through August. According to Beard, they “make good pies and cakes and other typically American delights.”

 

WHERE? Jackson... Read more >

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Eat This Word: Daube

Daube

 

WHAT? "Daube might be called a more rustic cousin of boeuf à la bourguignonne, typically made with heartier red wine and perfumed with earthy dried cèpes," according to Saveur Cooks Authentic French. Daubes resemble many stews in that the meat is first browned over a high heat. Then aromatic vegetables and braising liquid (water, stock, or wine) are added, and the covered mixture is simmered for hours. Daubes are cooked in daubières, which can be made out of earthenware, stoneware, or copper. Daube de boeuf, traditionally affiliated with Provence, is the best-known daube, but every part of France has a variation, which may contain vegetables as varied as artichokes and celery, and other meats such as pork, goose, pheasant, and lamb. Originally, the cooking term daube referred to a meat dish that was braised and then served cold, but now they are almost all served hot.

 

WHERE? French... Read more >

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Eat This Word: Hush Puppies

Hush Puppies

 

WHAT? Though just lumps of deep-fried cornmeal batter, this Southern classic can inspire reveries from people below the Mason-Dixon line, where an abiding nostalgia for fish fries and pig pickin's (pork barbecues) requires a steady supply of hush puppies. "A plate of fried fish seems mighty lonely without them," Angela Shelf Medearis wrote in The African American Kitchen, and Southern cooking maven Nathalie Dupree served fried catfish with hush puppies at her wedding. The unusual name is usually attributed to people trying to quiet dogs by throwing them bits of fried treats. Who those people were depends on which story you believe--plantation servants carrying food to the dining room, Southerners hiding from Yankees during the Civil War; Reconstructionists pitying dogs left starving due to food shortages, or hunters rewarding hungry hounds after day-long excursions. Regardless, when hush puppies are made well, there's nothing like 'em. Chow down.

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Eat This Word: Romesco

Romesco

 

WHAT? This classic sauce is a specialty of the Tarragona province in the Catalonia region of northeastern Spain. The only essential ingredient that chefs agree on is the special red pepper that gives the sauce its name. Some contend the formula should be nothing more than a simple mixture of olive oil, red pepper, and bread, while others liven it up with flavorful ingredients, such as garlic, wine, chili powder, paprika, almonds or hazelnuts, and vinegar to the blend. Regardless of the recipe, the final product is usually a smooth paste, typically served with grilled poultry or fish. Each spring, there is a competition among fishermen in the Serrallo district of the province to produce the best romesco. Before thousands of spectators, the romesco-masters—who only pass their secret recipes on to their sons—set to work with their mortars and pestles to compete for the championship title.

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Eat This Word: Yuzu


Yuzu

 

WHAT? Thought to be a hybrid of the sour mandarin and the Ichang lemon, yuzu is a golf ball-sized fruit with a thick bumpy rind that ranges from green to vibrant yellow depending on its ripeness. Although the fruit originated in China, the Japanese adopted this ambrosial gem as part of their traditional winter solstice yuzu-yu, a bath in which whole yuzu are wrapped in cheesecloth and floated in the hot water so the fruit's intoxicating aroma—with notes of lime, lemon, and grapefruit—rises to meet the bather. The ultra-tart yuzu is not usually eaten whole but is used as an accent in many traditional Asian dishes.

 

WHERE? The Art of Modern Japanese 

 

WHEN? August 21, 2014 

 

HOW? Black Cod... Read more >

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