Dinner with Lydia Maria Child

  I began the Dinner series in 2016 with “Dinner with Caligula.” Much to my shock and sorrow, Caligula did show up to dinner. But history…
  I began the Dinner series in 2016 with "Dinner with Caligula." Much to my shock and sorrow, Caligula did show up to dinner. But history did not end with Caligula, so neither will this series. On weekend nights I’ll sometimes stream Check, Please! a show—really a show template—in which local PBS affiliates invite viewers to discuss their favorite area restaurants. Each participant in turn dines at the restaurants recommended by her fellows and then offers her impressions of her dining experience. More than simply a sampling of local dining possibilities, Check, Please! offers a glimpse of quaint regional differences that corporate-media monoculture hasn’t quite managed to erase. Watch enough episodes and you’ll learn that people in Kansas City rate value, which usually means piles of meat at a nice price, as highly as they do flavors and ambiance. Folks in… Read More...

Pyttipanna (Links for the Week of July 21, 2019)

Image: Boston Public Library Pyttipanna: Swedish for “small pieces in a pan.” Black-owned restaurants are gaining in numbers and popularity One meatless slideróor even a…
Image: Boston Public Library Pyttipanna: Swedish for "small pieces in a pan." Black-owned restaurants are gaining in numbers and popularity One meatless slideróor even a whole sack of themódoes not a vegan make The real scoop on the wisdom of eating ice cream for breakfast Despite some positive developments, the world has slipped from its pace toward better nutrition, food security, and sanitation The humble egg and its fortunes over the years exemplify everything that's wrong with nutrition science Seafood has become one big plastic hassle How French food became too, er, French Sh*tty fast-food jobs are now even sh*ttier, thanks to productivity-monitoring tech Trump administration nixes proposed food and basic needs allowance for junior enlisted men and women Hot dog! You can now Airbnb a camper-conversion vintage Oscar Mayer weinermobile I'm always taking suggestions for food-related articles, projects, thought… Read More...

Pyttipanna (Links for the Week of July 14)

Image from Geo H. Gennawey, Rocky Point, R.I., “Shore Dinner, Rocky Point, R.I.” (1935). Rhode Island Postcards. 273.   Pyttipanna: Swedish for “small pieces in a pan.”…
Image from Geo H. Gennawey, Rocky Point, R.I., "Shore Dinner, Rocky Point, R.I." (1935). Rhode Island Postcards. 273.   Pyttipanna: Swedish for "small pieces in a pan." Global temperatures are up, and global crop yields are down Yet where the danger lies may lie also the means of our deliverance, or so advocates of "smart farming" believe Here's the takeaway: dining out is growing ever pricier compared to eating in Manufacturers of super-sweet foods are answering the demand of practically no one, it turns out That store-bought curry or masala sauce may have been sampled by seagulls before it had gotten to you All-beef burger but hold the cow? You got it, if you happen to live in Japan or otherwise have access to lab-grown "Shojinmeat" Food pairings for crime novels 10 ingredient knock-offs that an eatery has likely fobbed off on… Read More...

Pyttipanna (Links for the Week of July 7)

Image from the Ice Cream Trade Journal (1922)   Pyttipanna: Swedish for “small pieces in a pan.” Greening “food desert” communities, one school at a time…
Image from the Ice Cream Trade Journal (1922)   Pyttipanna: Swedish for "small pieces in a pan." Greening "food desert" communities, one school at a time Mississippi outlaws calling "veggie burgers" by that name, and a legal wrangle ensues But whatever you call that burger-like veggie patty, it may give you cancer Legendary food writer M.F.K. Fisher -- Epicure ... and radical? Increasing costs of living and doing business are killing restaurant criticism in San Francisco An 1851 manual on making ice cream For folks who are fussy about their food's ingredients and origins, the future is in crypto Pick your protein -- right out of thin air! One Israeli company seeks to take kitchen scraps beyond composting and into energy production Oz man contracts fatal salmonella from eating a gecko on a dare I’m always taking suggestions for food-related articles, projects,… Read More...

Pyttipanna (Links for the Week of June 30)

Image via archive.org   Pyttipanna: Swedish for “small pieces in a pan.” A recent expose of ongoing institutional discrimination at the USDA. Did SCOTUS just clear…
Image via archive.org   Pyttipanna: Swedish for “small pieces in a pan.” A recent expose of ongoing institutional discrimination at the USDA. Did SCOTUS just clear the way for an “Amazon of liquor?” Spanish court delivers victory to food-delivery side-hustlers. “Food for my famished heart”: grocery shopping with Sappho (parody). Cornell’s pioneering program in educating families who receive food assistance celebrates 50 years. This species of prehistoric crocodile will just have a salad, thank you. Insect-based “alternative proteins” to be big biz through the 2020s. A journo relates her experience “eating food cooked by robots in America’s tech capital." The 17 cleanest supermarket chains, ranked by Consumer Reports. I’m always taking suggestions for food-related articles, projects, thought experiments to feature. Send them to @AusterityKitchn, and let me know how you would like to be credited. Read More...

Pyttipanna (Links for the Week of June 23)

Image from Elizabeth Robins Pennell’s My Cookery Books (1903)   Pyttipanna: Swedish for “small pieces in a pan.” Nevada passes $10 million food bill—but it doesn’t have…
Image from Elizabeth Robins Pennell’s My Cookery Books (1903)   Pyttipanna: Swedish for "small pieces in a pan." Nevada passes $10 million food bill—but it doesn't have the $10 million Bread and ballots: New Zealanders will get to vote in supermarkets Will fast food’s love affair with fake meat last? An oral history of grunge food The New York Times asks Democrats, “What’s your favorite comfort food on the campaign trail?” Food stamps helped lift the US economy out of the Great Recession I'm always taking suggestions for food-related articles, projects, thought experiments to feature. Send them to @AusterityKitchn, and let me know how you would like to be credited. Read More...

Coweye Burgers and Plastic Malts

Do hemorrhoids dream of deceptive meat?
"So to sum up, there is a small bit of the macrocosm inside us, inside the microcosm; and this small bit equals the whole universal mind. The microcosm contains the macrocosm, another concept not thinkable in formal logic. God within me sees God outside; the two commune with each other. The two link up through the mediating flesh or body. So he or it, whatever, is made visible here on this world, at this time. Meanwhile, Satan is up at the McDonald's stand, ordering coweye burgers and plastic malts, thinking to keep his power. A few more years of coweye burgers and plastic malts, and he'll have had it." --Philip K. Dick, Exegesis (2011) Read More...

Dinner with Caligula

The mind-boggling extravagance of feasts hosted by Roman emperors depended on an equally mind-boggling maldistribution of wealth
The mind-boggling extravagance of feasts hosted by Roman emperors depended on an equally mind-boggling maldistribution of wealth In the year 39 CE, Gaius Julius Caesar Augustus Germanicus, then just two years into his reign, built a bridge across the Bay of Baiae near Naples. (more…) Read More...

A Contrary Image of Steaming Excrement

Let it move you
"The ladies in hats glanced, ate, and spoke simultaneously. An unappetizing, much caricatured, yet innocent picture. In view of so much simultaneous and continuous gluttony, an outside observer, Scherbaum for instance with his preconceived opinion, was bound to infer a corresponding process: simultaneous and continuous bowel movements; for this obsessive abundance of apple strudel, almond crescents, cream kisses, and cheesecake could only be counterbalanced by contrary image, by steaming excrement. I rose to new heights. 'You're right, Phillip. Colossal priggishness ... Monumentally repulsive ... And yet, we mustn't forget, it's only a partial aspect.' "Scherbaum said: 'There they sit.' "I said: 'It's worry that makes them stuff.' "Scherbaum: 'I know. They paste cake over everything.' "I: 'As long as they eat cake, they're happy.' "We stared for awhile at the mechanism of the loading and unloading cake forks and registered… Read More...

Hunger as an Instrument of Social Control

Under conditions of capitalism, it may be that you are what you don't eat
Under conditions of capitalism, it may be that you are what you don't eat This month will see more than half a million adults lose their Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits. Lower jobless numbers have prompted the federal government to discontinue waivers that states need in order to extend this aid to long-term unemployed. In Pennsylvania and Arizona, for example, childless, able-bodied people aged 18 to 49 will now get a mere three months’ assistance. In Alabama and elsewhere in the South, hard-luck cases may expect three weeks’ help every three years. After that, nothing. The idea is, apparently, that if you can't lock down one of the part-time, low-wage jobs the current economic "recovery" has created, you'd do well simply to starve. (more…) Read More...

Bread and Marginalism

Without a political revolution, you're toast
"Without food, clothing and shelter, man would most certainly die; no shadow of doubt about it. And since no service can be rendered to man that is more valuable than to prevent him from dying, is it possible, as a matter of actual fact, for any kind of labor to be worthy of greater compensation than that which is devoted to the production of food, clothing and shelter? If you were without all these things and had been without them even two weeks, is there any thing on this earth for which you would give more, even if you had all the wealth of Wall street, than something to eat, something to wear and a place to sleep?" --From Socialism Made Plain: Why the Few are Rich and the Many Poor (1904) Read More...

Cooperative Kitchens of Yesteryear

Socialism in one country may be a difficult undertaking, but socialism in many American country towns was as easy as pie -- and just as appetizing
Socialism in one country may be a difficult undertaking, but socialism in many American country towns was as easy as pie — and just as appetizing My schedule having become busier, making dinner is now a chore. Before, I’d found a certain serenity in chopping carrots and slicing tomatoes after a day of brainwork. Now, vegetables oppress me, especially as my CSA share has been unusually full of late. Against them I mobilize food processor and pressure cooker. Yet these implements must be hauled from the cupboard, assembled, disassembled, and cleaned. Then there’s the cooking, eating, and cleaning up. (more…) Read More...

Belly Up

Advice you can stomach
"It is very strange, this domination of our intellect by our digestive organs. We cannot work, we cannot think, unless our stomach wills so. It dictates to us our emotions, our passions. After eggs and bacon, it says, 'Work!' After beefsteak and porter, it says, 'Sleep!' After a cups of tea (two spoonfuls for each cup, and don't let it stand more than three minutes), it says to the brain, 'Now, rise, and show your strength. Be eloquent, and deep, and tender; see, with a clear eye, into Nature and into life; spread out your white wings of quivering thought, and soar, a god-like spirit, over the whirling world beneath you, up through long lanes of flaming stars to the gates of eternity!' "After hot muffins, it says, 'Be dull and soulless, like a beast of the field -- a… Read More...

How Early Cookbooks Sparked a Lifestyle Revolution

The discreet charms of the bourgeoisie owe something to the attractions of life as conjured by cookbook authors
The discreet charms of the bourgeoisie owe something to the attractions of life as conjured by cookbook authors Each year I vow to buy fewer books, especially cookbooks. And yet each week I find myself bringing home two or three new ones. I find them -- or rather they find me -- in the usual places: yard sales, flea markets, used bookstores, Goodwill. Earlier this summer I had to stop myself from saving some volumes of Time Life's Foods of the World series, which I already own, from a “free pile” outside the Peaks Island branch of the Portland public library. They were eventually pulped, no doubt. What is it about cookbooks that makes them so irresistible? (more…) Read More...

Il n’y a pas de hors d’oeuvre

Dinner parties, deconstructed
"23 November 2004 A digression ('I need not apologize for the digression -- it has been my plan throughout this work'). Plutarch could never forgive Herodotus, the father of history, for suggesting that the Egyptians could be better hosts than the Greeks. 'The host must hurry [l'hote doit se hater],' Derrida says on 17 January 1996 in his lectures on hospitality ... Hospitality is always a matter of urgency, always a question of speeds. The unexpected guests arrive and there is always a rush of activity: a hurried welcoming at the door, a quick cleaning up, a surreptitious rearranging or putting back into order, a preparing of food and drink. But even when the guest is expected, has been expected for a long time, there is a sense of urgency. The guests arrive -- always too early or too late,… Read More...

It Ought to Be Called Vice Cream

The scoop on how a familiar frozen treat once got respectable folk all hot under the collar
The scoop on how a familiar frozen treat once got respectable folk all hot under the collar Summer has arrived in Maine and I've dug out my ice cream maker. This ice cream maker was a gift. And like many gifts, it's also somewhat of a curse. It coaxes me into making ice cream every two or three days. This means I must also eat a pint of ice cream every two or three days. I try to make my ice cream healthier than usual, using stevia instead of sugar and coconut milk instead of cream. Still, it feels like an almost criminal indulgence. (more…) Read More...