Throwback Thursday: James Beard on American Cooking

James Beard

 

In the age of ramen burgers, molecular gastronomy, and other innovations and trends, it can be easy to forget the roots of true American cuisine. As we've prepared for James Beard Foundation's Taste America®, our cross-country food tour celebrating this country's long-standing regional traditions, we dug up this essay from our patron saint's 1982 collection, The Armchair James Beard. Throughout his strikingly evergreen observations (save for calling garlic "very new and chic"), Beard reminds us where American cooking began, and the changes it has endured. It's brimming with his characteristic insight, wit, and charm. And, of course, there's a recipe.

 

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"American" Cooking

(from The Armchair James Beard)

 

People are trying very hard to make American cooking as phony as nouvelle cuisine sometimes ha... Read more >

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Eye Candy: Oysters with Horseradish Ice and Caviar

Oysters with Horseradish Ice and Caviar

 

New York City epicureans flock to Brooklyn's Maison Premiere for its innovative cocktail program, sumptuous seafood offerings, and sultry, Belle Époque–inspired atmosphere. At our recent Chefs & Champagne®, JBF's annual summer tasting party in the Hamptons, Maison Premiere chef Lisa Giffen served these elegant oysters with horseradish ice and caviar. Our guests at the outdoor fête paired Giffen's refreshing oysters with flowing Champagne Taittinger​ and the wines of Wölffer Estate Vineyard for a perfect summer bite.

 

View this event's menu and details ... Read more >

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What We're Reading: August 7, 2014

 

From burritos to live crabs, it seems you can get anything from a vending machine these days. [HuffPo

 

Some high-end restaurants are tapping the concert ticket model instead of old-school reservations. [NPR

 

A Cornell professor offers tips for boosting sales of healthy dishes at restaurants. [The Atlantic

 

The prodigal grandson: the descendant of the inventor of Doritos wants to hack snack foods. [... Read more >

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Expo Milano: Andrea Bocelli at Countdown to Expo

 

For this week's Expo Milano update, a video interlude: renowned tenor Andrea Bocelli singing "La Forza del Sorriso" (The Power of a Smile) in this promotional video for Expo Milano and its opening ceremony on April 30, 2015. Bocelli also performed the song earlier this year at an event that kicked off the countdown to the world's fair.

 

The James Beard Foundation, along with the International Culinary Center, is leading the conception and buildout of the American Pavilion at Expo Milano 2015. For the first time in world-fair history, the theme of the expo is food. More on that here.

 

View our complete archive of Expo Milano coverage.

 

 

For more information about USA Pavilion, visit USAPavilion2015.net and f... Read more >

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What We're Reading: August 6, 2014

 

With freshwater eel populations in decline, a Japanese summer ritual is also endangered. [Smithsonian

 

But there’s no saltwater in it: how a boardwalk candy classic got its name. [Mental Floss

 

McDonald’s tests the limits of fast food with a 60-second drive through guarantee. [Time

 

Thanks to candy chain It’Sugar, you’ll soon be able to purchase SNL’s “Schweddy Balls” and “Colon Blow Granola.”  [Grub Street

 

New... Read more >

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JBF Presents Health & Food: Is Better Food the Prescription for a Healthier America?

 

 

On October 27 and 28, the James Beard Foundation will host the fifth annual James Beard Foundation Food Conference at the Convene Conference Center (730 Third Avenue) in New York City. 

 

This year’s theme, Health & Food: Is Better Food the Prescription for a Healthier America?, will bring together thought leaders in agricultural technology, nutrition science, processing, manufacturing, policy, and public health to take a hard look at health and food, and what is and is not working to address the health impacts of the modern American diet. ​

 

The JBF Food Conference will also include the fourth annual James Beard Foundation Leadership Awards, held at Hearst Tower and co-hosted by Good Housekeeping with support from the GRACE Communications Foundation.

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Eye Candy: Vanilla Bean Custard with Rhubarb and Anise Hyssop Shortbread

 

Two-time JBF Award semifinalist Giuseppe Trentori and his all-star team from Chicago’s Michelin-starred BOKA crafted a spectacular contemporary menu at their sold-out Beard House dinner last year. For the dessert course, pastry chef Sarah Jordan wowed diners with a vibrant vanilla bean custard with rhubarb and anise hyssop shortbread​. This eye-catching treat was paired with a fruit-forward Roussane from Villa Creek Cellars and promptly devoured by our satiated guests.

 

View this event's menu and details here. For upcoming Beard House dinners, check out our events calendar. Photo by Elana Iaciofano. 

 

Elena North-Kelly is senior editor at the James Beard Foundation. Find her on... Read more >

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Nancy Silverton, Sandwich Hero

 

“One of the great American arts,” wrote James Beard, “is the art of sandwichmaking.” Were he alive today, Beard would be happy to find that one of his favorite culinary mediums is thriving. And he’d probably thank Nancy Silverton.

 

In the late 1990s Silverton, already well known for her work at La Brea Bakery and inspired by the abundance and creativity of the sandwiches she ate on a trip to Italy, started dedicating Thursday nights to sandwiches at Campanile, the seminal, high-end Los Angeles restaurant that she opened with chef Mark Peel.       

 

“I had always loved a great sandwich,” says Silverton. “But the trip to Italy was eye-opening. It was like, ‘Wow! Here is this great thing that nobody is doing in this country.’”

 

After returning to the States, Silverton launched the weekly sandwich night at Campanile. It was one of the first times that a four-star, award-winning chef had lavished so much attention on the humble s... Read more >

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What We're Reading: August 5, 2014

 

Caviar poaching in the land-locked Midwest? [Medium]

 

A day in the life of a London food delivery cyclist. [Miracle of Feeding Cities]

 

Harvard scientists reveal the surprisingly diverse world of cheese rind microbes. [Wired

 

USDA expands the definition of “processed foods,” placing frozen fruit and Twinkies... Read more >

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Eat This Word: Hoecake

Hoe Cakes

Johnnycakes, ashcakes, battercakes, corn cakes, cornpone, jurney cakes, jonakin, jonikins, Shawnee cakes, and hoecakes (or hoe cakes) are all regional variations of flatbreads made with cornmeal, water, and salt. Since Native Americans showed the Pilgrims how to cook with corn, they are also most likely to have taught them how to make these precursors of our modern-day pancake. Hoe cakes were, as Culinaria United States notes, “supposedly created by slaves who cooked ‘journey’ cake batter on their hoes under the hot sun while working in the fields.” The original three-ingredient recipe has evolved during the last 400 years, and eggs, oil, butter, and even baking powder are now standard in most recipes. You can of course opt for a mix, but Aunt Jemima prefers wheat to cornmeal. Whichever recipe you use, the frying pan has become the cooking utensil of preference.

 

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