5@5 - Mint juleps, five ways for Derby Day
May 1st, 2012
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.

Editor's Note: Kyle Ford is Rémy Cointreau's corporate mixologist, co-founder of Ford Mixology Lab and the mixologist at Siro's of Manhattan.

Ah, the mint julep. One of the oldest, most revered and hotly debated fixtures of the drinking world. The name originates from the Arab word "julab," which was likely a medicinal rose water concoction. The modern-day mint julep, however, came about in the early 1800s. Frederick Marryat captured the mint julep best in 1839's A Diary in America:

"I once overheard two ladies talking in the room next to me, and one of them said, 'Well, if I have a weakness for any one thing, it is for a mint julep' - a very amiable weakness, and proving her good sense and good taste. They are, in fact, like American ladies, irresistible."

So, what is a mint julep? Simply: a drink of cognac, whiskey, or rum; sweetened with sugar, iced and flavored with fresh spearmint. A highly ritualistic tipple, I'll leave you to judge which is best.

For each, follow these basic julep preparation guidelines:

In a pre-chilled glass or julep cup, add the syrup and mint leaves. Muddle lightly, just to release the oils. Discard the bruised mint, half pack the glass with crushed ice, pour on the base spirit, stir to chill and top with more crushed ice. Garnish with a bunch of fresh spearmint, stems cut up to the leaves.

That said, I present you with a collection of five juleps, from the contemporary to the classic.

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Filed under: 5@5 • Events • Kentucky Derby • Think

All the fixings for a festive fiesta
May 1st, 2012
12:00 PM ET
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The fifth of May is once again upon us; crunch time is on the horizon.

Contrary to what some people think, Cinco de Mayo is not Mexican Independence Day. It, instead, celebrates when a much smaller Mexican army defeated the French at the Battle of Puebla on May 5, 1862.

Since then, Americans have loosely translated said victory into a celebration of Mexican culture - and an excuse to stuff themselves like a piñata with molcajetes of guacamole and pitcher after pitcher of ice-cold margaritas.

We're not going to argue with that translation - and are here to help.

Shake up your fiesta with a little help from our experts:

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Filed under: Bite • Cinco de Mayo • Cuisines • Holidays • Mexican

May 1st, 2012
10:00 AM ET
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Oregon truffles fare well in blind tastings against their European counterparts. Meet Jack Czarnecki, a mushroom forager, oil maker and restaurateur who's making it his mission to raise the profile of his native treasure.

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Filed under: Foraging • Oregon • Travel

May 1st, 2012
09:30 AM ET
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Felipa Fabon waits outside a local fried chicken restaurant in Manila. Crouching near to feral cats and rubbish bins, she isn't there to meet friends for dinner but to search through the diner's trash bags.

"I'm sorting the garbage, looking for 'pagpag'," she says.

In Tagalog "pagpag" means the dust you shake off your clothing or carpet, but in Fabon's poverty- stricken world, it means chicken pulled from the trash.

Pagpag is the product of a hidden food system for the urban poor that exists on the leftovers of the city's middle class.

Read - 'Garbage chicken' a grim staple for Manila's poor

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Filed under: Food Politics • Hunger

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