There are some foods that are so tied to their region, eating them is like a hug from home. Expats seek creative ways to get them shipped or find the closest equivalent in their new city. In the first installment of Hungry for Home, contributor Cara Reedy pines for St. Louis' Provel cheese.
When I moved to New York eleven years ago, I got a lot of blank stares when I told people I was from St. Louis. Some people would say genius things like “Oh right, you have that arch,” or my favorite, “I’ve been in the airport, is there anything in the city?”
People went out of their way to tell me I spoke weirdly. Cab drivers consistently tried to take me on long rides around the city, thinking I was a tourist. I got really homesick after six months.
To cheer myself up I decided to make a St. Louis-style, crisp-crust, square-sliced pizza. I went to my local grocery store to buy supplies. They had everything I needed except the most important ingredient, Provel cheese.
Provel is a little hard to describe. It’s processed, gooey, a little smoky and when heated is takes on the qualities of molten lava. It’s really just delicious and it tastes like home.
When students trade their high school diplomas for college dorm rooms, friends and family wish them luck and tell them to enjoy their new-found freedom by “going nuts.” But while most students blow off steam by partying until the wee hours of the morning, some students at Columbia University seem to have taken the “go nuts” advice a little too literally.
According to the Columbia Spectator,the Ivy League institution introduced Nutella to its campus dining halls last month, hoping to give its students a taste of luxury living (because living on the Upper West Side of New York City is clearly "roughing it").
To the administration’s surprise, students’ demand for Nutella quickly exploded to the tune of 100 pounds consumed per day. But consuming the “breakfast food” in the dining room wasn’t enough for some of the sticky-fingered undergrads, who ultimately decided to abscond with the buttery, chocolaty, hazelnut spread by the jar.
Remember back in May of 2011 when we gave away all our stuff and road-tripped down to Florida in a Judgment Day caravan to warn people about the impending Rapture? How about 153 days after that when the world similarly failed to go kaplooey?
Shockingly enough, we used those opportunities to ask people how they'd chow down if they knew it was going to be their last meal on Earth. Seeing as we're up against Armageddon (again), according to the Mayan calendar (sort of), here's a little inspiration for a final feast.
Out of 378 responses, the most frequently mentioned foodstuffs were:
Here in the cold, dark, horrible nub end months of the year, I jam clementines into my mouth like it's my job. Two, four, six at a sitting, I'll dig the edge of my least-ragged nail into the rind and claw away the loose skin to reveal the dewy, seedless segments inside. Rinds pile up in pungent heaps on every flat surface around me - exoskeletons shed by sweet-blooded alien insects that have come to Earth to lift me from my seasonal funk.
I'd stop and take them to a trash bin, but that would mean precious seconds not spent stuffing oranges into my face in the manner of a crazed bonobo. I will set upon a cheap, plywood crate or red net sack full of clementines and dispatch quarters, thirds, halves at a time until there is nothing left but a fine mist of citrus oil coating all nearby surfaces like a cheery arterial spray.
I am certain it is horrifying to watch, and it is in the best interest of all my personal and professional relationships that these little fruits are only available for a brief period each winter.
Do you remember your favorite school lunchbox? It may have featured an image of your favorite cartoon character, band, movie or TV show. (Mine was a 1978 "Muppet Show" lunchbox with a Kermit the Frog thermos inside it.)
The lunchbox has been a key accessory for American schoolkids for more than 60 years, according to Peter Liebhold, a curator with the National Museum of American History. It's an American status symbol, too. "Today, if you travel to Target, Walmart or other back-to-school retailers, you will see kids and parents constructing their identity through lunchboxes (as well as clothes, backpacks and binders)," Liebhold noted in an e-mail.
The lunchbox as we know it can be traced back to 1935 when Geuder, Paeschke & Frey produced the first licensed character lunchbox with Mickey Mouse on it. But it wasn't until after World War II when the lunchbox entered its prime.
Read the full story: America's fascination with the school lunchbox
I have a problem. It's called pagophagia. I'm a compulsive ice eater.
While some people may crave chocolate and others can't function without coffee, my vice is ice. I'm not alone.
Recently, I was in the CNN cafeteria filling four (count 'em, four) 32-ounce cups chock full of ice (my morning ice run). A woman approached me and said, "Ah! Someone else who's crazy about ice!" She then pointed to a co-worker at the salad bar and said, "We meet up here each day to get our ice together."
Kumbaya! I had found more of my people, and we bonded over the ice machine.
The home of New Orleans's beloved Hubig's Pies was destroyed by a fire early Friday morning in a "total loss," according to the New Orleans Fire Department.
The five-alarm fire at the historic bakery began around 4:28 a.m. in the Faubourg Marigny neighborhood, CNN affiliate WWL-TV reported.
An employee noticed smoke coming out of the fryer room, where the fire is assumed to have started.
In New Zealand, it's being called "Marmageddon."
The island nation is facing a dwindling stock of the beloved Marmite spread after recent earthquakes in Christchurch forced the manufacturer to shut down the only factory producing the stuff.
A spokesman for Sanitarium, the maker of the salty breakfast spread, says it has now run out of Marmite and it can't make any more until July at the earliest. That's caused a run on Marmite at markets all around New Zealand - and reports of panic among customers who love the spread.
Sanitarium general manager Pierre van Heerden said people should face the hard fact that they'll need to conserve their Marmite and could try spreading it on toast rather than slices of bread out of the bag to make it last.
Matt Sloane is a CNN Medical producer. He seeks to rid the world of sub-par cheesesteaks.
As a Philly-area native, nothing offends me more than a bad cheesesteak - and there are a lot of bad cheesesteaks out there. So, having been a connoisseur for almost 30 years, I've learned a thing or two about what makes them amazing.
Let me be clear about something: there are steak and cheese sandwiches, and there are cheesesteaks. They are not the same thing.
Restaurants, take notice. If you call it a cheesesteak, it had better be greasy, cheesy, and chopped up. If there are chunks of steak, brie, or horseradish sauce, it's a steak and cheese sandwich.
So, what's the magic recipe for a perfect Philly cheesesteak? In this case, less is more. A good cheesesteak should consist of only three main components: the bread, the steak and the cheese. If you want to put fried onions on it, I'll give you a pass, but I personally am a purist.
If at some point my rapidly advancing decrepitude becomes just too much for me to bear, I'm not too fussed. I have a plan. I'm going to quit my job, my home, my life up North and seek employment at the first outpost of the K&W Cafeteria chain that will have me. By all reputable accounts, no one who works there has ever aged so much as a day since they opened in 1937.
I have no empirical proof that this is true. I've only been aware of the existence of the K&W for the past seven years, but I've been privy to enough anecdotal accounts to suggest that the "congeal" molecule in a K&W tomato aspic is the key to life eternal. This was, in fact, a discovery made by the owners - members of an alien race who came to Earth many decades ago to study us and keep us in their sway via the power of luscious gravy, sweet tea and reasonable prices on classic Southern cafeteria-style food. And, I'm cool with it.