What We Talk About When We Talk About Bread

Can't we think of tortillas, injeeras, parathas, lavashes, and all the other wonderful flatbreads of the world not as inferior to, but simply as different from the loaves of risen wheat bread that almost invariably come to mind when we think about bread?

The Meat Market

When it comes to meat, we English speakers seem to have a hard time confronting the reality of what we eat and so we resort to many different strategies to avoid stating the obvious.

The Great Brownie Debate

Some people like their brownies on the cakey side, but I find that more people prefer them the slightest bit undercooked, resulting in a consistency somewhere in between sticky, moist, and fudgy—or what the English call squidgy.

A New Year's Eve Dinner

Why is it that some people are vigilant to the point of phobia about what they put in their mouths while others don't give a fig?

Latkes & Applesauce

Oil isn't something I typically use by the quart and it's astonishing how much oil you need to fry up a batch of latkes.

The United Colors of Rice

I may have a fixation with rice, but to my defense, so does the rest of the world: it's the staple food for roughly three and a half billion people.

Turkey Day: Fact or Fiction?

Anyone who knows anything about the pilgrims knows that a day of thanksgiving would have been spent on one's knees thanking God in church, not gluttonously feasting around a groaning board.

Munchkins, Gherkins, Napkins . . . and Pumpkins?

Here's what I don't get. Munchkins are little bites. Gherkins are little pickles. Napkins are little cloths. Manikins are little men. And pumpkins? Little . . . what? Who could ever have looked at a pumpkin and called it little?

"Soup of the Evening, Beautiful Soup!"

There are two types of people in the world: those who like soup for dinner and those who don't.

The Case of Pie v. Tart

Face it: a tarte aux pommes sounds more elegant than an apple pie, even though your guests might think you a bit snooty if you were to serve one next Thanksgiving.

On Chutney

I don’t know about you, but to me, a spare hour or two plus apples and cranberries equals chutney.

Chili Peppers and Chocolate

How about instead of an all-American meal, we celebrate Columbus Day with a truly global meal, a meal that represents the marriage of Old and New?

An Armchair Foodie

Call it my oral obsession if you must, but to my mind food and words go together like bread and butter, ham and cheese, peanut butter and jelly—well, you get the picture.

On Pudding—Bread, Rice, or Porpoise?

Is there a lowest common denominator, a non-negotiable, a sine qua non when it comes to puddings—a Platonic ideal of puddinghood?

My Problem with Honey

If your taste buds are anything like mine and you prefer a spice bread to a cloying honey cake, this is the seasonal dessert for you.

Forbidden Fruit

Although I have neither polls nor statistics to back me up, I'm confident that, if I were to ask you what fruit it was that Adam and Eve ate in the Garden of Eden, nine out of ten of you would answer it was an apple.

A Labor Day Pig-Pickin'

"And we hope y'all can join us for our Annual-Welcome-to-North-Carolina-Labor Day-Pig-Pickin'." A pig-pickin'? Were they kidding? What was a pig-pickin' in the first place and, in the second place, no thank you.

A New Viking Invasion?

From Julius Caesar to Julia Child, French and Italian food has reigned supreme—but no longer.

Comfort Foods

Food is not simply what we buy at the store, but the very stuff of our lives—personal, physical, spiritual, and sociable.

You say "Tomayto" and I say "Tomahto"

Think Italian food and you all but invariably think tomato. Where would pasta and pizza be without their blankets of red sauce?

Milk Is For Babies—and Barbarians: Part II

After all the work we went through to grow up, it would be as deflating to our egos to be seen drinking milk as it would to be spotted eating strained carrots in public—or to be caught buying incontinence underwear at the drugstore.

Milk Is for Babies

Try ordering a glass of milk the next time you're out for dinner and see for yourselves what your friends and relations have to say.

Summer Berries

If you're anything like me, by this point in the summer you've managed to consume more or less your own weight in berries.

Venti Coffees, Super Colossal Olives, and Jumbo Shrimp

Am I the only person who has a hard time getting the words out of my mouth at Starbucks? It's not that I'm a fan of "skinny venti caramel macchiatos," which, no matter how many times you say it, just doesn't trip off the tongue.

Rue au beurre or Boterstraat?

You have to love a city that's got a street named after butter.

Eggplant vs. Aubergine

Ever wonder why English speakers on either side of the Atlantic call their vegetables by such different names? What we call zucchini, they call courgette. Our snow pea is their mangetout. What we know as squash, they know as marrow. And what we call eggplant, they call aubergine, which to many ears sounds much more elegant.

Franks & Burgers

Imagine walking up to the counter at your local McDonald’s, gazing up at the menu, and placing your order: “I’ll have a liberty steak and a large freedom fries.”

The Land of the Midnight Sun—Or Maybe the Bronx

The young man was clad in a spotless white uniform and held a clipboard in his hand. “What is your favorite flavor?” “Do you prefer soft-serve or hard?,” “Are you more likely to buy pints to have at home or to go out for a cone?” And then the clincher: “What, in your opinion, is the single most determining factor in the choice of which ice cream to purchase?”

The nectarine and curious peach/into my hands themselves do reach

Pity the poor nectarine. Talk about your inferiority complex: "A peach without the fuzz." "A cross between a peach and a plum.” Never its own identity, yet as far as nomenclature is concerned, the nectarine stands alone.