The Food Almanac: September 14, 2012

In The Food Almanac, Tom Fitzmorris of the online newsletter, The New Orleans Menu, notes food facts and sayings.

Food Calendar
This is International Shish Kebab Day. Stringing pieces of food on a stick and roasting it over an open fire is such an obvious and simple preparation that it's almost certainly been practiced since prehistory. The word "kebab" has been traced back to the oldest Middle Eastern languages. The method not only has tremendous flavor and aroma appeal, but uses meat very efficiently. A lot of meat comes in pieces substantially smaller than a roast or a steak. Even when they don't, it's easier and faster to cook small pieces of meat than large ones.

But small pieces of meat have a way of falling into the fire. The shish — the skewer — solves that problem elegantly. The skewer holding kebab meat together takes many forms, from short wire rods to large vertical spindles that are more like rotisseries. All are considered kebabs; the shish is an option. The homeland of kebabs stretches from India to Morocco, and from there they've spread almost everywhere else in the world.

The Old Kitchen Sage Sez
If you want to grill shrimp on skewers, use two of them per portion. That way, when you turn the shrimp, they can't rotate. So no shrimp wind up getting cooked twice on the same side.

Gourmet Gazetteer
Rice is the small remnant of an old farming town in north central Kansas. It's 166 miles north and northwest respectively from both Topeka and Wichita. Wheat farming all the way, on wide fields flattened out by the Republican River, which passes within slingshot distance from Rice to the north. A secondary main of the Missouri Pacific Railroad used to pass through, but it's been abandoned. The big city in the region is Concordia, five miles west. There you can hunker down with a pile of lunch at Heavy's BBQ.

Edible Dictionary
spiedini [speh-DEE-nee], Italian, n. pl. — "Italian shish kebabs" tells 90 percent of the story. But spiedini has enough distinction to deserve its own definition. For starters, spiedini are almost always made entirely of meat — no vegetables. The meats tend to be rather good; even ground meats are considered raffish in spiedini (although sausage is welcomed). Most spiedini use more than one variety of meat on the skewer. Here in New Orleans, a variation has emerged in which the meats are stuffed with a concoction of bread crumbs, prosciutto, garlic, Parmesan, and olive oil. They're even better than the all-meat versions. The word is rarely spelled correctly on menus.

Food in Science
Ivan Petrovich Pavlov was born today in 1849. The Russian scientist is most famous for his experiments with dogs. He found that any kind of stimulus a dog associated with food would make the dogs salivate. This worked not only for the sight and smell of food, but any activity that routinely preceded the dogs being fed. This became known as a "conditioned reflex," and it works on people as well as dogs.

The Saints
Today is the feast day of St. Notburga, who lived in the 13th century in Tyrol (now Austria). She is a patron saint of waiters and waitresses. She worked as a maid for a wealthy family that threw its leftovers to the pigs. Notburga would surreptitiously collect the food and give it to poor, hungry people instead. In one of the stories about her, she was caught doing this by her employers, who demanded to know what she had in her apron. When she opened it, the food had turned to wood shavings and vinegar.

Today's Worst Flavor
Today in 2006, the Food and Drug Administration announced that it had found fresh bagged spinach contaminated with e. coli bacteria. For weeks afterward, no spinach salads were served anywhere, and fresh spinach became hard to come by.

Food Namesakes
Constance Baker Motley, the first African-American woman to be elected a New York state senator or appointed to a Federal judgeship, was born today in 1921... Erieatha "Cookie" Kelly married Magic Johnson today in 1991... Deryck Victor Cooke, a British composer, was born today in 1919... British pop singer Amy Winehouse uncorked today in 1983.

Words to Eat By
"The most usual, common, and cheap sort of food all China abounds in, and which all in that Empire eat, from the Emperor to the meanest Chinese; the Emperor and great Men as a Dainty, the common sort as necessary sustenance. It is called Teu Fu, that is paste of kidney beans. I did not see how they made it. They drew the milk out of the kidney beans, and turning it, make great cakes of it like cheeses, as big as a large sieve, and five or six fingers thick. All the mass is as white as the very snow, to look to nothing can be finer. Alone, it is insipid, but very good dressed as I say and excellent fried in butter." — Friar Domingo Navarrete.

Words to Drink By
"We frequently hear of people dying from too much drinking. That this happens is a matter of record. But the blame almost always is placed on whiskey. Why this should be I never could understand. You can die from drinking too much of anything — coffee, water, milk, soft drinks, and all such stuff as that. And so long as the presence of death lurks with anyone who goes through the simple act of swallowing, I will make mine whiskey." — W. C. Fields.

The Food Almanac: Recipes and Stories for a Year At the Table (Hardback)

The world of food explored by celebrated chefs, food writers, poets and novelists, The Food Almanac is a stunningly illustrated collection that shows how wholly entwined gastronomy and culture are.

The Food Almanac is a monthly collection of food stories told by an eclectic mix of voices from the literary and food worlds.

From legendary food writers and lauded chefs to up-and-coming poets and debut novelists, each story looks at the gastronomic world through a cultural prism, using food as a way to explore deeper issues. After all, writing about food is, inevitably, writing about life.

This diverse, dazzling collection of food writing includes memoirs, essays, short stories and poems, all commissioned specially for the collection by Miranda York, editor of At The Table magazine.

Food can inspire and bring people together: to share conversations, to share ideas, to share knowledge, and feel connected. Our happiest moments are often created sitting round a table, sharing food and stories with people we love, people we admire, or even people we've just met. Join us at the table, all year round.

Publisher: Pavilion Books
ISBN: 9781911641605
Number of pages: 176
Dimensions: 221 x 156 mm

'This is one for the armchair cook who likes to dip in and out of a volume of good food writing. Simply lovely.'

'Beautifully illustrated, winningly written'

'Beautifully illustrated and produced, it's a book to curl up with as we head towards the darker months.'

'The perfect book to tuck into for a long read during the cold days and nights of winter and then dip back into throughout the year.'

-- The Independent, 'Food Books of 2020'

'A literary pick-and-mix by your favourite food writers. suitable to enjoy snuggling under the duvet, with Love Actually on a loop.'

USDA Food and Nutrition Service

Our 15 nutrition assistance programs touch the lives of one in four Americans each year, from infants to the elderly. Taken together, these programs comprise America's nutrition safety net, ensuring that no eligible American goes hungry.

Assistance for Seniors
Assistance for Seniors

FNS has programs that cater to our nation's seniors, age 60 and over.

Assistance for Babies, Young Children & Women
Assistance for Babies, Young Children & Women

Our nutrition programs supplement the diets of babies, young children and women with healthy foods, while offering guidance with other needs, including nutrition education and health care referrals.

Assistance for Children from Kindergarten to 12th grade
Assistance for Children from Kindergarten to 12th grade

FNS partners with state agencies to help fight hunger and obesity among school-age children by administering several year-round programs that provide healthy meals.

Assistance for Native Americans
Assistance for Native Americans

FNS makes accessibility of nutritious foods for Native American families and those living on Indian Reservations a priority.

Nutrition Education
Nutrition Education

In the classroom and at home, FNS programs aim to reduce food insecurities and promote healthy food habits for everyone.

Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program provides nutrition benefits to supplement the food budget of needy families so they can purchase healthy food and move towards self-sufficiency.

Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children provides federal grants to states for supplemental foods, health care referrals, and nutrition education for low-income pregnant, breastfeeding, and non-breastfeeding postpartum women, and to infants and children up to age five who are found to be at nutritional risk.


USDA's food distribution programs support consumers and American agricultural producers through purchases of 100% American-grown and -produced foods for use by schools and institutions.

Child Nutrition
Child Nutrition

Our child nutrition programs help to ensure that children have access to nutritious meals and snacks in schools, summer programs, childcare centers and homes, and afterschool programs.

Nutrition Policy and Promotion
Nutrition Policy and Promotion

The Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion works to improve the health and well-being of Americans by developing and promoting dietary guidance that links scientific research to the nutrition needs of consumers.

Rosh Hashanah Recipes: Jewish Classics With Modern Twists (PHOTOS)

Rosh Hashanah is the time of year that I finally relax my vice grip on summer and admit that it's really fall. Please make no mistake about it: it's because of the food. The traditional apples are dipped in honey (to symbolize a sweet year to come), the pomegranates finally arriving for snacking, these are the kinds of things that make me finally think I'll survive without gazpacho for a few months.

Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year, will be celebrated the world-over this September. In my house, the beginning of this holiday always meant that I was in agony -- the whole house smelled like braising brisket ALL DAY and we didn't get to eat it until SUNDOWN.

In truth, I relate to my Jewish heritage through the food. Apples and honey for Rosh Hashanah, blintzes for Yom Kippur, latkes for Hanukkah -- you get the idea -- these are the things that make me feel Jewish. My family never kept Kosher, so it wasn't uncommon to see bacon sneak into our Brussels sprouts, or sour cream occasionally mingle with the latkes and brisket on our plates. My mom definitely believes that a life without lobster is probably not worth living and I have always agreed with her.

To this day, the smell of my mother's brisket bubbling away in the oven makes me feel okay about putting a sweater on and switching from iced coffee to hot. In order to share this recipe with you, she made me promise to mention the following two mandates for your brisket-cooking: 1) "the more dill the better," and 2) "the more red wine the better -- not saying whether I mean in the pot or not." The apple, as they say, does not fall far from the tree.

Check out my mom's brisket recipe, as well as our Rosh Hashanah menu suggestions below. L'shanah tovah (that means Happy New Year)!

Sue’s Brisket

4-6 lbs. brisket
4 cloves of garlic, minced
4 large onions, sliced
2 tbs. oil
4 small cans of tomato sauce
4 cans of water (tomato sauce cans) [*Ed note: this is one of my favorite cooking directions of all time]
1/2 bottle of red wine
12oz. mushrooms, sliced
4-8 carrots, sliced in rounds
1 bunch fresh dill, chopped
salt & pepper
3 bay leaves
3-4 potatoes cut into chunks, if desired

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Put roasting pan on stove over two burners. Add oil and brown sliced onions and garlic.
  3. Brown brisket on both sides in the pan. Remove the pan from the heat.
  4. Put brisket fat side up and add tomato sauce, water, wine, mushrooms, carrots, bay leaves, salt and pepper. Sprinkle the whole surface with dill. Cover roasting pan and put in oven for 3 1/2 hours.
  5. Add potatoes (if desired) during last 2 hours.

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Almanac Food: Hanging Out At My ‘Pandemic Café’

During the Covid-19 pandemic (which is hopefully just about over in Australia), not getting out and around as much as usual, I found myself having particularly intense food cravings that needed to be readily satisfied and, if applicable, easily cooked at home. In this context, I’ve put together – without any consideration for nutrition or sophistication – my ideal “Pandemic Café” menu.

Smoked oysters on water crackers

Rainbow trout fillets on water crackers

Large chicken schnitzels from the supermarket deli, grilled in an appliance made popular by a world-famous American boxer, beer battered wedges on the side – mayo, salt and pepper as required on both food items.

Country-butcher-quality hamburgers topped with salt, pepper, grated tasty cheese and rich tomato sauce or Worcestershire Sauce, between buttered toasted bread of choice, or otherwise, untoasted buttered knot rolls.

Flake, fried dim sims and hand cut chips – add salt, pepper, tartare sauce and lemon as appropriate.

Pizza of choice. All pizzas are made from the freshest ingredients if available – if not, ingredients are sourced from cans and plastic packets. Where appropriate, anchovies are prioritized as a topping.


Premium tea of choice – breakfast style tea in morning strong Yorkshire tea in afternoon. Milk if required.

Victoria Bitter (Kiwi Lager and Cascade Pale Ale no longer available – alas!)

For more from Kevin, click HERE .

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Kevin Densley is a poet and writer-in-general. His fourth book-length poetry collection, Sacredly Profane, has just been published (late 2020) by Ginninderra Press. He is also the co-author of ten play collections for young people, as well as a multi Green Room Award nominated play, Last Chance Gas, which was published by Currency Press. Recent other writing includes screenplays for films with a tertiary education purpose.


The processes by which we convert the biotic surface of the earth and make it edible are responsible for almost a third of total greenhouse gas emissions, 75 percent of all deforestation and the vast majority of biodiversity loss. Agriculture uses 70 percent of total freshwater withdrawals and has already degraded half the planet’s soil. At the same time, at least 1.3 billion tonnes of food are wasted every year and one in three people are malnourished. Three quarters of all birds alive as you read this are farmed poultry. The accumulation of chicken bones in landfill sites since 1950 is considered a large enough entry in the fossil record to signal the commencement of the anthropocene.

2024 | P2

The Food Almanac: September 14, 2012 - Recipes

Mimicking egg functionality with plants: ‘A functional egg replacement shouldn’t have more than 7 ingredients’

Zurich-based EggField is working to disrupt the conventional egg ingredient sector with alternatives that ‘use very few ingredients’. “Functionality comes before everything,” co-founder Silvan Leibacher tells FoodNavigator.

‘Address food safety gaps to improve trust in plant-based meat’: Kerry

The plant-based meat and dairy market is booming globally. But, as consumer concern over safety increases, experts from Kerry Taste and Nutrition stress that there is a need to develop food safety strategies that build consumer trust in the sector.

Content provided by HollyFrontier Lubricants & Specialties

Five essential steps to correct lubrication and optimized equipment

Incorrect lubrication can be a costly threat to your food processing operations. Here are five steps to correct lubrication and optimization of food processing equipment.

Chr. Hansen Natural Colors announces company name change to Oterra

FoodNavigator can exclusively reveal Chr. Hansen Natural Colors’s new company name and identity following the move to a standalone company.

SIG’s combismile carton pack debuts in France with new Volvic range

SIG’s on-the-go combismile carton pack enters the French market for the first time this month, with a new fruity-flavored range for adults and kids from natural mineral water brand Volvic.

Content provided by Alland & Robert

Alland & Robert affirms acacia gum has benefits on gut health

ACACIA GUM BENEFITS ON GUT HEALTH: Alland & Robert announces their study shows that 80% of people who consumed acacia gum every day for 2 months improved their intestinal health

Clean label is fast becoming the expectation, not the exception

Consumers are increasingly reading product labels and searching out ‘clean’ ingredients lists that are shorter and feature recognisable ingredients that are sourced from nature. Artificial or chemical ingredients are the main undesirables, while there.

Coronavirus: Your one-stop blog for food industry updates

Bringing together trusted global food industry coverage from across our universe of B2B titles to provide rolling updates and breaking news on the implications of COVID-19 for the food sector.

Silence Dogood here. I’ve been reading a fascinating book that I discovered at a used-book store when our friend Ben and I were vacationing in scenic Asheville, North Carolina back in March. It’s called Last Dinner on the Titanic: Menus and Recipes from the Great Liner (Rick Archbold and Dana McCauley, Hyperion, 1997).

The book is packed with photos, illustrations, menus, recipes, history, and memorabilia from the Titanic (and its nearly-identical sister ship, the Olympic), recalling the style of the bygone Gilded Age and leading up to the final meals eaten in the various dining facilities on board the Titanic on the fateful evening of April 14, 1912. Mere hours later, the ship’s hull was breached by an iceberg, and what may have been the foremost symbol of an age of excess was lost.

Lost, but not forgotten, in this case. Though the film “Titanic” certainly has kept the story in the popular imagination in our own day, the illustrious passenger list (including John Jacob Astor, presumed to be the world’s wealthiest man at the time, Benjamin Guggenheim, and a host of other wealthy magnates, as well as the Unsinkable Molly Brown) assured the event immortality in its own day.

The privileged classes are rarely the ones that suffer, and the shock of so many doing so at once reverberated through every layer of society. The wealthy leaders of society in that day dominated the gossip columns and tabloids the way Lady Gaga, Brangelina, the Kardashians, and Kate Middleton do in our own day: People just couldn’t get enough of them. It would be as though every major movie star, rock star, celebrity, and member of the British Royal Family boarded a single plane that then was hit by an asteroid and went down. “Titanic” is just the latest in a steady stream of books and movies that have commemorated the disaster.

But to get back to the food. Amazingly, a copy survives of the menu served that final night in the first-class dining saloon. (And no, Jesse James and Buffalo Bill weren’t invited why a dining salon was called a saloon on the world’s most luxurious ocean liner is beyond me, but so it was.) You can therefore recreate for yourselves the ultimate luxury dining experience, especially if you have the book, which provides a preparation timeline, elaborate details about how to create invitations and place settings, the order in which the eleven-course meal should be presented, how many people you’ll need to help you, and how many days it will take (four, not counting shopping for ingredients or cleaning up afterwards) to prepare this feast in a modern home kitchen. Plus, of course, the book provides recipes.

I’m going to share that menu for you just for fun. At first, it might look more upscale but not all that different from a modern menu. But there’s one little difference: Each diner was supposed to partake of every single super-rich dish on this menu. And bear in mind that each course was served separately, then removed before the arrival of the subsequent course, quite a series of ceremonial processions, rather like a banquet at the court of Henry VIII or Louis XIV.

Now, you might choose either the consomme or the cream soup, pass on the vegetable farcie or lamb, and decide that just one type of potato was adequate, maybe even skip the ice cream. But you would be presented with every dish, and most people indulged in quite a spread. Not to mention the different wine or wines that accompanied each course. There was no concept here of getting away with “I’ll have the oysters, filet mignon, green peas and Parmentier potatoes, asparagus salad, and peaches in Chartreuse jelly, please.” Oh, no. To eat like an Astor, you’d be expected to tackle this meal in its entirety:

Readers' Best Recipes and the Stories Behind Them

For years, you&rsquove told us that you get your recipes from family and friends, so we invited Almanac readers to share their best recipes&mdashthe favorites served at family gatherings, potlucks, parties, and supper tables, the ones that keep folks coming back for more. You&rsquoll love the heartwarming, humorous, and true stories that these cooks tell, too!

Get the recipes that folks rave about! Be the first to own and use this collection! These exclusive recipes include Momma&rsquos Salted Caramel Shortbread Bars, Aunt Barb&rsquos Special Meatball Sauce, Gra&rsquos Barbecue Chicken, Phil&rsquos Chocolate Sauce, and so many more!

Chapters: Breakfast Appetizers Sides & Salads Soups, Chowders, & Chilis Main Dishes Breads and Desserts

  • Almanac editors tell how to prepare, store, and substitute key ingredients
  • Charts ensure proper cooking times, pan sizes, and measurements
  • Helpful tips and testers&rsquo comments

193 Recipes | 8.5&rdquo x 9&rdquo | Softcover | 272 Full-Color Pages | Printed in the USA | Published in 2016


I guess all of those entries have a story to go with them, but today the one for 1990 jumped out at me. For some reason, whenever we'd talk to David about serving a mission when he was bigger, he'd say he didn't want to go because he wanted to stay home. Remember he was 4 or 5 years old at the time. We'd reassure him that leaving home was part of growing up, but he was adamant that he would live with us forever. Well, one day we needed new suitcases and so came home with a couple of these:They were cool and David really wanted to use one right away. We told him they were for people going on trips, and he wasn't old enough to do that yet, but he could use them for his mission when he was bigger. That's what it took! All of a sudden he was excited to serve a mission. When the time came 14 years later, we gave him the option of using those old, heavy, hard-sided suitcases so that we could keep our promise, but he decided that some new, up-to-date luggage would be a wiser choice. The important thing is he did serve a mission, and we're proud of him.And having this little memory jog sitting on the kitchen table still brings back great memories. Go here to find the instructions if you want to make your own family almanac. And go here for lots of great ideas for having fun with your family.
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What a great story! My 8yo tells me that he doesn't want to go on a mission because he might have to go to Mexico or Idaho. He doesn't like beans, rice or potatoes! LOL!

I read your Family Almanac post before and finally ended up making one for us and this post reminded me that I have things from the weekend to write about. Thanks!

Watch the video: 2012 OLD FARMERS ALMANAC (November 2021).