This is the eighteenth installment of "Eat This List" - a regularly recurring list of things chefs, farmers, writers and other food experts think you ought to know about.
You should cook. Yes, you. Even if you don't want to.
This isn't like saying that you should learn Ovid in the original Latin for the enrichment of your soul, or requiring that you hunker and hone your julienne and demi-glace skills until you emerge victorious in a battle overseen by Alton Brown or Anthony Bourdain. This is about getting yourself fed and taking a modicum of responsibility for it.
You eat, right? Maybe even more than once a day? (Or even if you ingest some combination of nutrients solely through methods that don't require chewing, smoothies have to taste like something, don't they?) And I'm going to go ahead and assume that you'd like to continue living in your body for the next while. Assembling foodstuffs for intake without the intermediary of a drive-thru speaker, menu, or segmented tray and microwave is the ideal way to facilitate that.
Yet people object, throw their hands in the air and simply refuse. Here's why they're wrong.
For most veterans of the Korean War, "SOS" has nothing to do with saving a ship.
I've heard the stories from my grandparents about eating "S*** On a Shingle" during their military service. I don't recall whether my Grandma Mouton, an Air Force veteran, ever made it for me as a kid. If she did, I've blocked it out with fond memories of snickerdoodles, fried egg sandwiches, and late-night french toast.
I don't think my Grandpa Mouton can do the same. As a Korean War Army vet, SOS probably haunts him in his dreams.
Fall holds two certainties in the realm of food - pumpkin-flavored everything and chili. One spoonful of the spicy stew can warm the body from the inside out.
Perhaps it’s the recollections of your grandmother’s dish on a crisp fall day. Or maybe it’s enjoying a heaping bowl while tailgating before a football game. Whatever the reason, chili is a must-have cold-weather dish, enjoyed equally at a cook-out or dinner party - and especially as leftovers.
“The one great thing about chili is the recipes are really kind of guidelines,” said Stephanie Anderson Witmer, author of Killer Chili: Savory Recipes from North America’s Favorite Restaurants. “People can change it depending on their tastes.”
Though many families have hand-me-down recipes, Anderson said there are a few things to remember when concocting your stew. Namely, chili can be as unique as the chef stirring the pot.
As September wanes, I start my annual autumn affair with my ice cream maker. When cooler weather sets in, we get cozy and churn, baby, churn.
Honestly, I never quite appreciated the irony of heavy cream-based desserts abounding during bikini season. The ice cream truck jingle ends up turning into jiggle and while that's okay if you're a bowl of Jell-O, the beach isn't quite so forgiving. So, I flip fall the proverbial bird by making ice cream during sweater weather.
But since the weather is experiencing a tad of an identity crisis at the moment with record-breaking heat in various parts of the country, this weekend is the ideal time to whip up a cool taste of fall's fruitage.
A whole harvest of divine flavors come with autumn - apple cider, maple, cranberry, candied pecans - that you can, nay, should infuse into your frozen treats. Plus, the time is ripe to top a bowl of otherwise ordinary vanilla ice cream with end-of-season blueberries, peaches, plums, blackberries and a drizzle of honey.
It's the summer bounty's encore before the final curtain.
Down South, it's not breakfast without flaky, fluffy lard biscuits born of a cast-iron skillet. They are more than just morning fare; they're time machines that transport some of us back to years far leaner.
My old man was a Baptist preacher's kid, during the Great Depression. He grew up poor.
He had an enormous appetite, and enjoyed all kind of new and exotic foods. I like to think of him as a sort of proto-foodie. He would always clean his plate and proudly slap me on the back when I was able to inhale everything served to me and still ask for seconds. It wasn't until I was older that I understood that when you go to bed hungry as a kid, you grow up making sure you eat every single morsel presented to you. Because you never know when it's not going to be there.
Gulf Coast chefs and fishing advocates claim, "Come on in; the water's fine!" but find themselves facing a public awash in apprehension over potentially oil-tainted seafood.
When New Orleans, Louisiana, chef John Besh recently urged people to choose U.S. shrimp over imports during an interview about the state of seafood in the wake of the Gulf of Mexico spill, commenters responded negatively, writing, "What's a little tar or mercury in your system anyways?!" and "I hope you enjoy the petrol in your fish."
Another commented, "You eat the fish from down there, don't complain to anyone when you get cancer in 10-15 years. I can't even believe a responsible human being would advocate for eating seafood slathered in oil first."
A tweet in their response to CNN's query about diners' feelings on New Orleans seafood declared all post-spill offerings "a no-geaux." Similar sentiments abound online, despite authorities' assurances as to the safety of seafood currently on the market.
The James Beard Foundation Awards are often referred to as the "Oscars of the food world," but the honorees are more frequently photographed in chefs' whites and clogs than tuxes and red carpet couture, and they're hounded for hot dish from diners rather than the staff of TMZ.
The awards - established in 1990 by the nonprofit that bears the name of one of America's founding food writers and cooks - honor chefs, food journalists, restaurateurs, cookbook authors, restaurant designers and architects who have achieved excellence in the food and beverage field.
While the journalism, media and cookbook categories call for self-nomination (and an entry fee), anyone can suggest a chef or restaurant via the foundation's Web site, jamesbeard.org, during an open call in the fall.