Eat this Word: Cherimoya

WHAT? Apple of their eye. In Uncommon Fruits and Vegetables, Elizabeth Schneider describes this knobby, gray-green fruit as "stunning," and writes that it tastes "heavenly." Mark Twain was also a fan. Upon trying the sweet, delicately flavored fruit, he pronounced it "deliciousness itself." The cherimoya originated in the Caribbean, and was conveyed around the world by Spanish and Portuguese colonists. Its leaves, roots, and seeds have long been used in traditional medicine as a cure-all for any number of ailments from diarrhea and itchy skin to fainting spells and rheumatism; it was also used to repel lice. We prefer to eat it. The flesh is white, pulpy, and slightly granular, and its taste has been likened to pineapple, banana, papaya, vanilla, and custard. In fact, cherimoya also goes by the name custard apple, as do several other closely related tropical fruits

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Awards Watch: Nominees Revealed!

In case you weren't following us on Twitter this morning, here are the JBF Awards nominees—including chefs, restaurants, cookbooks, and journalism—all in a plain old-fashioned PDF. We're only six weeks out from the big event (see more details about the ceremony and reception here), so you've got plenty of time to make your predictions and place some bets. (Hopefully you'll fare a tad better than you have in March Madness.)

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Eye Candy: Peeping Tom

Tom Colicchio keeps a watchful eye over the Beard House kitchen as chefs from his various restaurants prepare a tasting menu for diners. Click here to see more photos of our celebration of the Colicchio empire.

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On the Menu: March 21 through March 27

Here’s what’s happening at the Beard House and around the country next week: Sunday, March 21, 3:00 P.M. Friends of James Beard Benefit A once-in-a-lifetime gathering of New Orleans chefs. This walk-around tasting is a benefit for the James Beard Foundation, America's preeminent culinary Foundation. Monday, March 22, 7:00 P.M. Team Vermont Writing about Vermont’s culinary renaissance in the New York Times, Mark Bittman raved that the state’s new locavore cuisine “can hold its own anywhere in the world.” Join us as the chefs at the forefront of this gastronomic movement treat Beard House diners to a taste of the G

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Awards Watch: Awards Nominee Announcement on Monday

Make sure that your computer screen is tuned into our Twitter feed, @beardfoundation, on Monday morning: we'll be live-tweeting the Awards nominations from the Palace Café, the acclaimed New Orleans institution from chef Dickie Brennan. Kick-off time is 10:00 A.M. EST.

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Food Matters: Artisan Meat for All

As we foresaw in our 2010 food trend predictions, CSAs aren't just for produce anymore. Take the Artisan Meat Share in Charleston: run by Craig Deihl of Cypress, the operation distributes quarterly shares of house-cured and -smoked meats to about 100 members. Customers get to enjoy fresh product at home, and the restaurant raises revenue and reduces waste. You can read more about Artisan Meat Share here. (And check out

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Eye Candy: Brotherly Love

The Voltaggio brothers work together to plate a course of shima aji with salsify, quinoa, and morels. You can view more photos of the Top Chef finalists' thrilling dinner by clicking here. (Click here to see our clip of Michael discussing his pigeon pastrami.)

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