Kate Krader (@kkrader on Twitter) is Food & Wine's restaurant editor. When she tells us where to find our culinary heart's desire, we listen up.
Maybe this is a good year to celebrate Cinco de Mayo according to a theme. You could a) practice your Spanish and say, “Feliz dia de la Batalla de Puebla,” or “Happy day of the Battle of Puebla,” to everyone you see. You could b) practice your history lessons and note that Cinco de Mayo is not Mexican Independence Day; it’s the day in 1862 that the underdog Mexican army defeated the invading French army. Or you could c) practice your drinking and see how many crazy margaritas you can find and consume. Let’s go with the third option:
Chefs with Issues is a platform for chefs and farmers we love, fired up for causes about which they're passionate. Patricia Jinich is chef at the Mexican Cultural Institute. She also hosts "Pati’s Mexican Table" on National Public Television and blogs at Pati's Mexican Table. This story originally ran in May 2012, but we're sharing it again in celebration of Mexico's Independence Day.
I was born and raised in Mexico City, in a family where every taco happens to be, as my dad boasts, “the best taco you’ve ever had in your entire life." That is, until you eat the next one.
Living in the US, I am often dismayed at how my home country is portrayed in the media. For some, it’s easy to just write off the entire country as dangerous and riddled with cartel violence. As a former political analyst, I am not in denial about the hurdles my country faces, but the Mexico illustrated in some news reports is certainly not the Mexico I know and love - nor is it the Mexico experienced by the 22.67 million international tourists that visited last year.
Cooking, eating and sharing Mexican food has helped me and my Mexican-American boys connect with our heritage. Plus, I truly believe that its warm, generous, colorful cuisine has the power to make Americans fall in love with Mexico - one bite at a time.
Foie gras: it's French for ‘fatty liver,’ and it's produced by deliberately overfeeding ducks or geese. The birds' livers become enlarged up to ten times their normal size and the result is many a chef’s delight: a rich, creamy delicacy enjoyed the world over. Foie gras can be seared like a steak or smoothed into a pâté, and it's at the center of a major legal flap between California chefs and animal rights activists.
The process of feeding the birds to enlarge their livers is called gavage. The ducks or geese are force-fed more food than they would usually eat, and therein lies the controversy. Opponents claim that the process of force-feeding the fowl is detrimental to their health and well-being. Foie gras enthusiasts argue that ducks and geese, which don't have a gag reflex, are used to swallowing fish whole and putting on weight for migratory flights.
In California, the practice of force-feeding was banned more than 7 years ago, but producers of the delicacy were given a grace period during which they could come up with a more humane way to feed the birds. In fact, the sole producer of foie gras in California endorsed the bill. The grace period is up on June 30. On July 1, it will be illegal in California to sell products that are made as a result of force-feeding animals.
While you're frying up some eggs and bacon, we're cooking up something else: a way to celebrate today's food holiday.
Raise your glass - May 4 is National Home Brew Day!
Sometimes, daring fans of beer, wine, cider and other alcoholic beverages surpass their passion and turn to small-scale fermenting at home - either for themselves, competitions or to share among friends.
Although there have been various legalities and bans concerning home brewing, especially across other countries, the ban was lifted here in 1978. However, it's up to individual states to let you brew to your heart's content or shut down your basement business.
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