The Picnic Poll – and the winners are...
July 4th, 2010
12:00 AM ET
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You voted. We tallied. The USA is a beer-drinkin', medium burger-chomping, watermelon-munching kind of country on July 4th, and we're totally cool with that.

Grab expert burger and steak grilling tips from our editors and readers and have a delicious Independence Day!

(Oh – and we learned we were dopes for not offering brats and brownies as main dish and dessert option. Apologies. What the heck were we thinking? We'll make it up to you by next Memorial Day.)

Favorite Picnic Main Dish:

Burgers 43%
Ribs 23%
Steak 12%
Hot dogs 10%
Chicken 7%
Veggies 3%
Other 2%

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Filed under: Bite • Buzz • History • Picnic Poll

Culinary Curiosities: That plastic leaf in sushi
June 21st, 2010
10:30 AM ET
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Steven Stern, a former fact checker and a full time food fiend, is here to complicate things help.

Q: What's up with that green plastic leaf thing that comes with my sushi? Am I supposed to do something with it?

A: You mean you don't eat yours?

Just kidding. Those leaves are definitely not edible. They're called baran (sometimes spelled haran), and they're mostly used for decoration. Presentation is really important in Japanese food, even when you're dealing with cheap supermarket sushi. The plastic leaves also serve as dividers in a bento box (a single-portion lunch combo container), keeping your eel nigiri away from your tuna rolls.


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Filed under: Bite • Columns • Culture • Etiquette • History • Restaurants • Serving

Local Heroes: Beef on weck
June 18th, 2010
02:00 PM ET
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Celebrating America's regional sandwiches, one bite at a time.

Hometown: Buffalo, New York, and surrounding area

Specs: Freshly sliced roast beef on salt and caraway-covered roll. The top of the roll is dipped in the beef jus, and a pot of strong horseradish is served alongside.

Backstory: The soul of Buffalo's favorite sandwich is the bread: a round Kaiser-style roll with caraway seeds and coarse pretzel salt baked onto the top. The roll, called a kümmelweck, is the source of the sandwich's name, was brought to western New York state by German immigrants, probably at the beginning of the 20th century. The origin story gets a little murky after that, but the most accepted version is that a bar owner was hoping to sell more beer and added the salty, thirst-inducing sandwich to his lunchtime buffet table.

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