Throwback Thursday: James Beard Takes It Outside

Photo by Ron Callvert


Pull out your grills and dust off your wicker baskets: it's almost Memorial Day. Here at JBF, we're always looking for an excuse to escape the confines of the kitchen and cook delicious food outside. For this TBT, we're honoring James Beard's own appetite for al fresco fare. Whether gallivanting off to a picnic or hosting an outdoor soirée, Mr. Beard was always game for a thermos of Bloody Mary, delicately charred scallops, or barbecued steak. With the grilling season upon us, we're taking his expert advice to heart:

"The delicate turning of a pit over, or in front of, a fire is certainly a most delectable way to roast a prime joint or a tender bird. The resulting crispness of skin and juiciness of flesh is inviting to the eye, tantalizing to the nose, and an unbounded joy to the palate."—James Beard's Treasury of Outdoor Cooking (Gallery Press, 1960)

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Test Your Eat-Q: Picnics

The temperature is ticking upward and the sun is lingering a little longer—we couldn't be happier. The season of picnicking—one of James Beard's favorite ways to dine—has arrived at last. Before you head out with your basket and sunscreen, see if you can answer the following question: Which popular outdoor food is the least likely to spoil in the sun?

A. Hamburger B. Egg salad C. Grilled chicken D. Hot dog

Find out if you have the correct answer, and learn some other fun facts about outdoor dining while you're at it.

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Happy Birthday, Mr. Beard

Beard at his desk If alive today, Jim Beard would be celebrating his 106th birthday. We’re more than happy to carry on the celebration, and the excitement of the annual Beard Awards makes for a pretty great birthday party. As a child Beard would always celebrate his special day with an enormous picnic at the Oaks, a Portland amusement park. There were tongue and ham sandwiches, salads, and relishes, and a giant coconut cake. In Beard’s memoir he proclaimed these outings “the most successful birthday party of the whole year, because of the good food and the excitement of the park.” Our friends at have written a lovely piece in honor of Beard’s birthday filled with remembrances from a number of Portlanders. Happy Birthday, Mr. Beard Portlanders celebrate James Beard By Kim Carlson May 5, 2009

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JBF Kitchen Cam