July 2nd, 2013
02:45 PM ET
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Details.com editor James Oliver Cury tackles controversial food-and-drink-themed etiquette issues every week.

Think cookouts are all about freedom - cook what you want, how you want, when you want? Yeah, sure, if you’re cooking for one. But if you’re hosting or attending any cookouts this season, and hope to see these people again in the future, you are bound by a surprising number of codes of conduct. Ironically, these issues come to the fore as Independence Day approaches.

Now’s the time to stare down any hot topics so you know where you stand on each. Below are the ten key questions you will inevitably need to ask your host, or answer for your guests, before a single coal or burner is lit.
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March 28th, 2013
07:00 PM ET
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The new season of Game of Thrones premieres on April 6. Whet your appetite.

Black swan. Unborn puppies. A hundred live doves “baked into a great pie” and prepared to “burst forth in a swirl of white feathers.”

Those are some of the dishes I decided not to attempt for my Game of Thrones-themed dinner party.

George R.R. Martin’s “Song of Ice and Fire” books are famously long (1,040 pages for the latest installment), and roughly 50% of the word count is devoted to describing what the characters are eating. One wedding feast features an ode to most of its seventy-seven courses; even a rundown of frozen defense outpost’s dwindling supplies is good for a three-page litany about storerooms filled with “potted hare, haunch of deer in honey, pickled cabbage, pickled beets, pickled onions, pickled eggs and pickled herring.”

The HBO series embraces the books’ gluttonous spirit: The producers got a castle banquet into the very first episode.

For food fans, this is clearly a challenge. A thrown gauntlet. One week ahead of Game of Thrones season 3 premiere, I rounded up a few of my geeky friends - and some novices we hoped to convert - for our own recreation of a Westerosi feast.
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Filed under: Books • Cookbooks • Entertaining • Make • Television


New Year's Eve bubbles for budgets from billionaire to broke
December 28th, 2012
12:30 PM ET
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Ray Isle (@islewine on Twitter) is Food & Wine's executive wine editor. We trust his every cork pop and decant – and the man can sniff out a bargain to boot. Take it away, Ray.

Though there are plenty of drinks that have had New Year’s connotations over the years—mead, beer, mulled wine, you name it—the bubbly stuff, i.e. Champagne or sparkling wine, is really the spot-on gift if you happen to be headed out to a party or three.

The thing is, wine with bubbles ranges wildly in price; a bottle of 1998 Krug Clos d’Ambonnay will set you back about $2,000, whereas a bottle of André Cold Duck (no vintage on that one, strangely enough) will damage your finances to the tune of $4.50 or so. So, to make life easier, especially in this last-minute-what-do-I-do moment, here are some suggestions.
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Filed under: Bubbly • Content Partner • Entertaining • Food and Wine • Holidays • HolidayShopping • New Year's • New Year's • Sip


A vegetarian may show up at your cookout. Do not be alarmed.
September 3rd, 2012
02:15 PM ET
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Vegetarians are (mostly) not here just to ruin your good time. Really. I swear. I was one, myself for seven years and all I wanted at a cookout was to hang out with my friends, and not have to worry that the omnivores would gobble up all the meat-free sides before I got to the table.

These days, while I'm likely to smoke up a brisket, a rack of ribs or some animal innards when company comes over, the non-meat options surely don't get short shrift.

Here are a few of my favorite ways to celebrate the bounty of the season and make sure all my guests leave full and satisfied - no matter how they choose to chow down.
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Filed under: Corn • Entertaining • Grilling • Grilling • Labor Day • Okra • Potatoes • Squash • Techniques & Tips • Tomatoes • Vegan • Vegetables • Vegetarian


Keeping peace at the Thanksgiving table
November 22nd, 2011
03:30 PM ET
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To help keep the peace with her in-laws during holidays, Julia Smith adopted a rule several years ago about talking politics: Don't do it, and don't take the bait if anyone starts in.

Her relationship with her father-in-law in particular had always been fraught with tension, said Smith, who asked that her name be changed to preserve family relations. She was the "screaming liberal from New York" who'd corrupted his Texas-bred son into moving to "Taxachusetts" and voting Democrat. As far as she was concerned, he was a good ol' boy who didn't like to talk politics as much as preach his views.

Her resolve was put to the test three years ago at Thanksgiving dinner, right after Barack Obama was elected president. She was picking at her turkey when, she says, her father-in-law suggested an act of violence toward Obama.

She attempted to keep cool by gathering her children and leaving the table. But then he repeated it at dessert.

Read – Etiquette 101: Talking politics over Thanksgiving dinner

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Filed under: Bite • Culture • Entertaining • Etiquette • Holidays • Thanksgiving


Stocking up for the big day
November 3rd, 2011
09:05 AM ET
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With Thanksgiving approaching, you've still got a tad of time on your side. Use it to wrangle your guest list into place (leaving room for a few day-of tag-alongs), stock up, and keep from getting your feathers all ruffled in a last-second scramble for plates, drinks, turkey and places to sit.

The Bird

If you've got a rough idea of how many meat-eating guests will be on hand, go with around one pound per person - one and a half if you'd like to ensure a stash of leftovers. A huge bird can be comically unwieldy, so consider sacrificing the Big Platter Presentation for the sake of sanity and back strain. Opt for two (or three or more if you have the oven space) smaller birds - and just remember to make sure you've got enough roasting pans, foil and other poultry paraphernalia on hand.
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5@5 - How to assemble a cheese plate
August 2nd, 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.

Don’t know goat cheese from gouda? Or Comté from Camembert? Well, you certainly don’t have to have a culinary degree to put together a simple yet tasteful cheese plate. After all, the extent of the kitchen aptitude required is how well you can unwrap and place things on a platter.

But if you're still worried about making an asiago of yourself at your next gathering, Cathy Strange, the global cheese buyer for Whole Foods Market, has some tips to get you on your way to cheese pairing success.

A Beginners' Guide to Assembling a Cheese Plate: Cathy Strange
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Filed under: 5@5 • Bite • Cheese • Dishes • Entertaining • Think


5@5 - Sunny Anderson
February 1st, 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.

So - you've decided against the idea of lodging yourself into a crowded bar of foam cheese hats, terrible towels and reverting fraternity brothers this Super Bowl Sunday and opted to catch the big game at home? Nice defensive block.

But, where's your offense? Sunny Anderson, the host of Food Network's "Cooking For Real," has got the game-winning strategy.

Hut, hut, bite!

Super Bowl Entertaining Tips: Sunny Anderson
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Filed under: 5@5 • Entertaining • Think


5@5 - David Alan Bernahl II
December 16th, 2010
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.

Newsflash: It's party season! (Don't act so surprised.) So until the ball, and subsequently Snooki, drops in Times Square on New Year's, we're getting our holly and jolly on until we start seeing sugar plum fairies dancing up in the ol' noggin. Capeesh?

And if you're one of the brave souls hosting the likes of  such festive friends, some words of wisdom might come in handy - that's where Dave Bernahl comes in.

Bernahl is the co-founder and director of Pebble Beach Food & Wine festival, and owner of the recently opened Cannery Row Brewing Company in Monterey, California. His party might be a teensy bit bigger than yours (roughly 4,000 attendees), so if he can handle hosting duties, you can too.

Five Secrets to Holiday Hospitality: David Alan Bernahl II
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Filed under: 5@5 • Bite • Entertaining • Think


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