February 19th, 2014
01:45 PM ET
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In cooking, the process of clarification entails straining out extraneous muck from liquids so that they might be pure, clear and ideal for consumption. With this series on food terminology and issues we're attempting to do the same.

If it seems food safety issues are on the rise, that's because they are. About 48 million people contract some form of food poisoning each year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

At any given time the FDA is responsible for watching over some 167,000 domestic food facilities or farms, and another 421,000 facilities or farms outside the United States, according to FDA officials. But there are only about 1,100 inspectors to oversee these facilities, officials told CNN in 2012.

There is a third party audit system, where farms or facilities hire auditors to inspect their premises and provide scores. But some say the audit system is full of conflicts of interest. For instance, shortly before Jensen Farms in Colorado caused a listeria outbreak that killed 30 people, a private inspection company’s auditor gave them a “superior” grade, even after noting that they had no anti-microbial solution in place to clean their cantaloupes.

Sometimes, food slips through the cracks and makes it to the consumer marketplace, as in the recent case of the 8.7 million pounds of meat from Rancho Feeding Corporation (and their associated products like Hot Pockets) that were recalled due to "adulteration." Here's what that means.
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Considering beer as a gift from God
February 10th, 2014
03:15 PM ET
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Something is brewing among American Protestants, and it has a decidedly hoppy flavor.

For much of the last century in the United States, Protestant Christianity’s relationship with beer was cold or even hostile at times. Protestant organizations such as the Woman’s Christian Temperance Union and the Anti-Saloon League led the campaign to make alcohol illegal.

Even after Prohibition ended, many evangelicals defined themselves by their abstention from alcohol, called “the beloved enemy” by televangelist Jack Van Impe.
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January 31st, 2014
08:00 PM ET
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Editor's note: Cindy Y. Rodriguez is CNN's editor for Latino audiences. February 24 is National Tortilla Chip Day.

As a non-sports aficionado, my attraction to game day festivities has been solely food focused. So naturally, I noticed how potato chips have taken less and less space on the snack table to make room for tortilla chips and guacamole.

Although potato chips continue to be the top-selling salted snack in terms of pounds sold, tortilla chips have been increasing in sales at a faster pace than potato chips, especially during this time of year, according to Tom Dempsey, CEO of the Snack Food Association.

And, it's not just tortilla chips selling at such high rates either.

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Filed under: History • Junk • Mexican • Mexico • Super Bowl • Tailgating


January 31st, 2014
12:05 AM ET
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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.

2014 is the 50th anniversary of the first Buffalo wings at the iconic Anchor Bar in Buffalo, New York. So, as we do every year at Super Bowl time, let’s go to the National Chicken Council for some amazing stats:

1.25 billion wings will be consumed during this Super Bowl – that’s 20 million more wings than last year.

There's enough to put 572 wings on every seat in each of the 32 NFL stadiums.

There will be no chicken wing shortage this year; in fact, chicken wings will be about 5% cheaper than they were last year.
 
To celebrate the all-important Buffalo wing anniversary, let’s honor some great wing spots, as well as places to stock up on stellar nachos and chili.
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January 30th, 2014
12:00 PM ET
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This snack is on fire. As team rivalries heat up, make sure your game-day spread keeps pace.

This spicy snack stacks all the flavor of Buffalo wings into a cheesy jalapeño pepper filling.

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Slow cooker chile con queso is the best possible party food
January 29th, 2014
12:45 PM ET
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America's Test Kitchen is a real 2,500 square foot test kitchen located just outside of Boston that is home to more than three dozen full-time cooks and product testers. Our mission is simple: to develop the absolute best recipes for all of your favorite foods. To do this, we test each recipe 30, 40, sometimes as many as 70 times, until we arrive at the combination of ingredients, technique, temperature, cooking time, and equipment that yields the best, most-foolproof recipe. America’s Test Kitchen's online cooking school is based on nearly 20 years of test kitchen work in our own facility, on the recipes created for Cook's Illustrated magazine, and on our two public television cooking shows.

Chile con queso has fallen on hard times; often it’s just Ro‐tel diced tomatoes and chiles mixed with Velveeta, microwaved, and stirred. We wanted to keep the simplicity but ditch the plasticky flavor and waxy texture.

We started with a base of chicken broth, cream cheese, and cornstarch to help stabilize the cheese and prevent it from breaking. For the cheeses, we chose Monterey Jack for its great flavor and American cheese for its superior meltability. We kept the classic Ro‐tel tomatoes but bumped up their flavor even more with garlic and canned chipotle chile.
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Filed under: America's Test Kitchen • Content Partner • Dip • Staples • Super Bowl • Tailgating


January 24th, 2014
03:15 PM ET
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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.

I don’t want to freak anyone out before the big game. But there’s a potential situation at hand. I’m referring, of course, to the rumored Velveeta shortage

According to a Kraft spokeswoman, Jody Moore, “Given the incredible popularity of Velveeta this time of year, it is possible consumers may not be able to find their favorite product on store shelves over the next couple of weeks ... We expect it to be a short-term issue.”

In the worst case—if there’s already been a run on Velveeta at your store, and you can’t score any on the black market—you might want to make alternate arrangements for your Super Bowl food fest. Here, some good options from exceptional hot dogs to a charity New Mexican Souper Bowl.
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January 23rd, 2014
04:00 PM ET
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America's Test Kitchen is a real 2,500 square foot test kitchen located just outside of Boston that is home to more than three dozen full-time cooks and product testers. Our mission is simple: to develop the absolute best recipes for all of your favorite foods. To do this, we test each recipe 30, 40, sometimes as many as 70 times, until we arrive at the combination of ingredients, technique, temperature, cooking time, and equipment that yields the best, most-foolproof recipe. America’s Test Kitchen's online cooking school is based on nearly 20 years of test kitchen work in our own facility, on the recipes created for Cook's Illustrated magazine, and on our two public television cooking shows.

All the world loves a sausage, so whether you grew up in Brooklyn or Bologna, you probably have a favorite. Here are some of ours:

Frankfurter: Top Dog

The genuine article, the Frankfurter, hails from Germany. But America adopted it and made it the most famous sausage in the world. Hot dogs are made from beef (sometimes combined with pork), which is cured, smoked, cooked, and seasoned with coriander, garlic, ground mustard, nutmeg, salt, sugar, and white pepper. Although hot dogs are fully cooked, warm them by steaming, boiling, sautéing, or grilling (we prefer the last two, which make for crisp skins). All-beef dogs with little or no sugar taste meaty and real. The test kitchen favorite is Nathan’s Famous Beef Franks.
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7 greatest fats - ranked!
January 20th, 2014
08:00 AM ET
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Josh Ozersky has written on his carnivorous exploits for Time, Esquire and now Food & Wine; he has authored several books, including The Hamburger: A History; and he is the founder of the Meatopia food festival. Follow him on Twitter @OzerskyTV.

Fat is what matters in your food. That’s the key thing to remember about fat. The lean mean tastes like whatever; you couldn’t tell a thin slice of chicken breast from a carpaccio if your life depended on it. No, “The fat is the meat, and the meat is the vegetable,” as the saying goes, and this is especially true of real fat, the kind that comes from animals.

I should clarify here - so to speak - that I am not talking about the revolting white fat that sits congealing on the plate when they slice open the prime rib. No, I mean hot fat, crispy fat and most of all liquid fat, the kind you can roast or sauté things in. Most herbs and spices, as volatile organic compounds, are fat-soluble, so it’s not hard to give the fat you use deep flavor - deeper than you ever get by just seasoning the food. I use Aleppo pepper, rosemary, chiles, sage and whatever else I can think of to put into it.

But are all fats created equal? I don’t think they are. I think there is a eternal hierarchy of Seven Great Greases, as I have come to think of them. They are as follows.
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