Lifting the lid on a family tradition
February 23rd, 2011
05:45 PM ET
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Cara Reedy is an Executive Assistant at CNN. She previously wrote for Eatocracy on being a small cook in a big kitchen.

I grew up in St. Louis, MO which is considered the Midwest, but has some clear southern leanings. Barbecue and fried chicken were always around. One of my favorite meals as a child was a one-pot meal consisting of potatoes, green beans, carrots and cabbage boiled with a ham hock. My parents served it with a fresh batch of corn bread to soak up the juices - often called pot liquor or potlikker.

I never really thought anything about this meal other than I liked it. When you're a kid, you generally don't analyze your food that deeply. It’s either like or can’t stand. Flash forward to adulthood, when I started doing some personal research on the African American slave diet. I suddenly realized that what my parents were serving was the original soul food.

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Filed under: Black History Month • Cuisines • Culture • Food History • Holidays • Soul

5@5 (Live!) - Hair of the dog with Lu Brow
February 23rd, 2011
05:00 PM ET
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5@5 is a daily, food-related list from chefs, writers, political pundits, musicians, actors, and all manner of opinionated people from around the globe.

We're having a two-night stand with Lu Brow.

Our favorite New Orleans bar chef is back from yesterday's happy hour to offer a few words of wisdom for your upcoming Mardi Gras revelry - no matter the number of Sazeracs you've swigged.

Get ready to laissez les bons temps rouler - just don't let them rouler you right into the NOPD's possession.

What NOT to Do During Mardi Gras: Lu Brow


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Filed under: 5@5 • Bite • Events • Mardi Gras • New Orleans • New Orleans • News • Think • Travel

February 23rd, 2011
01:30 PM ET
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Box lunch
February 23rd, 2011
12:00 PM ET
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Sink your teeth into today's top stories from around the globe.

  • I can sue cheezburger? In fact, no ... no, you may not. Minnesota's "Cheeseburger Bill" will prevent obese consumers from suing fast-food chains for their weight. - CBS News

  • Why Eddie Huang is still going strong. (Editors' Note: We've tasted his food multiple times, and the boy can cook something vicious.) - TIME

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Filed under: Box Lunch • News

Frank discussion over an interfaith meal
February 23rd, 2011
10:15 AM ET
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It was the hot dogs that broke down religious barriers.

Megachurch pastor Phil Hotsenpiller and his wife, Tammy, invited their Muslim, Jewish and Buddhist neighbors over to their Southern California home for an interfaith, multicultural meal.

But not just any meal: This one was being filmed as a pilot for a reality TV show based on Tammy Hotsenpiller’s book, “Taste of Humanity" – which she described as an attempt to “bring cultures together through cuisine.”

“I had everyone bring something from their country,” Tammy Hotsenpiller recalled, “and I thought, ‘Well what is America known for? I mean, apple pie and hot dogs.’ So I brought apple pie and hot dogs. We did a hot dog bar with all the condiments and everything else."

Their neighbors hadn’t gotten together in 20 years.

“And the first thing [our guests] asked was, ‘Was it kosher? Are they beef? Are they pork?’

"So it gave us an opportunity to talk about their conviction and why they don’t eat pork and what that means, and it really opened up some great opportunities of dialogue and conversation – just really over cuisine – all of us sitting down and talking about what our beliefs are."

Read Pastor's reality food show pitch: Christians and Jews bonding over hotdogs

Previously - Vintage Cookbook Vault: Franks a lot!

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Filed under: Dietary Restrictions • Religion

February 23rd, 2011
09:30 AM ET
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When Earl Stinson started receiving radiation treatments for prostate cancer, he knew where to go for advice. He turned to Lindy Atkins, a cancer survivor and fellow "ROMEO."

"ROMEO (retired old men eating out) groups spring up all over the United States," Stinson tells CNN. "They have no organization, no members, no requirements, no dues and no officers, and if you try to organize it, you have a riot on your hands."

Across the country, men like Stinson and Atkins are joining the commitment-free club. These ROMEOS vacation in Florida, play golf during the week, and when they come together, they're just looking for fun. What it takes to become a real ROMEO is all in the name.

"No requirements," says Stinson. "Nothing required of us other than coming in and eating breakfast and talking about whatever you want to talk about."

Read Hanging out with the ROMEOs

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Filed under: Culture • Eating Clubs

Breakfast buffet
February 23rd, 2011
09:00 AM ET
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While you're frying up some eggs and bacon, we're cooking up something else: a way to celebrate today's food holiday and the most delicious finds on TV.

It’s okay to go a little bananas: February 23 is National Banana Bread Day.

Chewy, comforting and slightly sticky, banana bread is enjoyed best with a cold glass of milk (for when it gets a little stuck on the way down). And yes, it is acceptable to use your fingers for extracting the rogue crumbs left on your plate.

Orange you glad we said banana?

What's on TV?

Coffee klatsch
February 23rd, 2011
05:00 AM ET
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Pssst! Got a sec to chat?

We are utterly thrilled when readers want to hang out and talk – whether it's amongst themselves or in response to pieces we've posted. We want Eatocracy to be a cozy, spirited online home for those who find their way here.

Consider the daily Coffee klatsch post as your VIP lounge – the primary comments thread for readers who'd like to chat about topics not related to the articles we're running. That way, everyone knows where to find each other, and each post's comments section remains on topic.

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Filed under: Buzz • Coffee Klatsch

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