A 'Second City' secret supper – miracle berries, flavor tripping and food with a message
November 16th, 2011
07:40 PM ET
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Eatocracy is officially wheels down in Chicago with the fifth edition of our Secret Supper series.

Tonight and for the next two weeks, Eatocracy invites you to dig in and discover the rich, ever-evolving taste of America in 2011. After all, food says so much about where you’ve come from, where you’ve decided to go, and the lessons you’ve learned. It’s geography, politics, tradition, belief and so much more.

We've got chef Homaro Cantu acting as host at iNG Restaurant, tucked among the loading docks of Chicago's meatpacking district. Cantu is a well-known "molecular gastronomist" and host of Planet Green's "Future Food." He's devoted to changing the way people think about eating by melding food and science.
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My first Thanksgiving with white people
November 16th, 2011
09:05 AM ET
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LZ Granderson, who writes a weekly column for CNN.com, was named journalist of the year by the National Lesbian and Gay Journalists Association and is a 2011 Online Journalism Award finalist for commentary. He is a senior writer and columnist for ESPN the Magazine and ESPN.com and the 2009 winner of the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation award for online journalism. Follow him on Twitter at @locs_n_laughs

I was told the substance in the glass casserole dish in front of me was potato salad - but I wasn’t buying it.

Why was it white?

Why was it smooth?

And where was the red stuff that goes on top?

It was 1998, and I was having my first Thanksgiving dinner with white people.
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The kid with the stinky lunch
November 15th, 2011
12:15 PM ET
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Food says so much about where you’ve come from, where you’ve decided to go, and the lessons you’ve learned. It’s geography, politics, tradition, belief and so much more and these next two weeks, we invite you to dig in and discover the rich, ever-evolving taste of America in 2011. Catch up on past coverage and stay tuned for the live blog from our Secret Supper in Chicago on Wednesday night starting at 6:00 CT.

When you're all grown up and on your own and have lived a bit of life, it's easier to find peace with your weirdness. All those little and large things that set you apart as a child - your goofy-looking nose, talent for playing bassoon or obsession with the insides of small electronic devices - are what make you the gorgeous, fascinating, resilient adult you are today.

Back then, though, kids may not have been so kind. Conformity is key in formative years - it teaches us all to walk on the right, chew with our mouths closed and remain reasonably clothed in public places. But it can have a cruel edge if wielded by the callow.

Enter the elementary school lunchroom, where a break from the regimen of the day can often descend into food-flinging anarchy. PB&J or bologna sandwiches are the brown bag standard, and anything other than that is regarded as plain old freaky.
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July 17th, 2011
02:00 AM ET
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Food says so much about where you’ve come from, where you’ve decided to go, and the lessons you’ve learned. It’s geography, politics, tradition, belief and so much more.

Last week, Eatocracy invited readers to dig in and discover the rich, ever-evolving taste of America in 2011 - ultimately culminating in the fourth edition of our Secret Supper in New York City.
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Live from New York, it's a secret supper
July 11th, 2011
06:30 PM ET
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Food says so much about where you’ve come from, where you’ve decided to go, and the lessons you’ve learned. It’s geography, politics, tradition, belief and so much more.

All week, Eatocracy has invited you to dig in and discover the rich, ever-evolving taste of America in 2011 - ultimately culminating in the fourth edition of our Secret Supper in New York City.

Tonight, Eatocracy has gathered together some of New York's most dynamic and vocal residents at Red Rooster to not only stuff them with a multi-course meal crafted by Marcus Samuelsson, Suvir Saran and George Mendes, but also to talk about the inextricable bond between food and cultural identity.

After a week reminiscing on the flavors of home, it's time to finally dip into the cultural melting pot and pull up a chair to our virtual table.
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Cultural identity and an invitation to supper (shhhhhh!)
July 8th, 2011
06:30 PM ET
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Filed under: Cultural Identity • Culture • Secret Suppers


Sweet flavors of home feed expats' souls
July 8th, 2011
08:00 AM ET
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Food says so much about where you’ve come from, where you’ve decided to go, and the lessons you’ve learned. It’s geography, politics, tradition, belief and so much more and this week, we invite you to dig in and discover the rich, ever-evolving taste of America in 2011. The week will culminate with a Secret Supper in New York City, and Eatocracy invites you to participate online starting Monday July 11th at 6:30 p.m. E.T.

The world tastes good ‘cause the candy man – or in this case, Stefan Ernberg - thinks it should.

Swedish-born Stefan Ernberg and his wife, Florence Baras, own Sockerbit in New York City. It’s a store with the tagline “Sweet and Sweedish” because it only sells candy - Swedish candy at that.
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Filed under: Bite • Candy • Cultural Identity • Culture • Dishes • Favorites • Secret Suppers • Think


Missing home cooking? Borrow a grandma
July 7th, 2011
09:15 AM ET
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Food says so much about where you’ve come from, where you’ve decided to go, and the lessons you’ve learned. It’s geography, politics, tradition, belief and so much more and this week, we invite you to dig in and discover the rich, ever-evolving taste of America in 2011. The week will culminate with a Secret Supper in New York City, and Eatocracy invites you to participate online starting Monday July 11th at 6:30 p.m. E.T.

“If you have a choice between a three-star Michelin chef and Grandma’s, where you going?” Joe Scaravella asked.

“Well, I’m going to Grandma’s. I’m going to the source."

Scaravella is the owner of Enoteca Maria – a restaurant where, by design, there is no resident three-star Michelin chef. Instead, the kitchen is fueled exactly as Joe said: by an arsenal of local, authentic Italian grandmothers who cook up the specialties of their respective native regions.
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Filed under: Bite • Cuisines • Cultural Identity • Culture • Favorites • Italian • Secret Suppers • Think


April 29th, 2011
09:19 PM ET
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New Orleans residents, and the millions of people who pour into the city each year for Mardi Gras, Saints games and the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival (a.k.a. "Jazz Fest") know that the city is fueled by a fierce passion for life, art, music and perhaps most of all - its food. In the face of almost unimaginable tragedy, the city's signature cuisine sustained the bodies, spirits and souls of its people and inspired them to fight ever-mounting odds to keep the culture they love alive for future generations.

Eatocracy gathered together some of Louisiana most vibrant, vocal and knowledgeable residents, fed them a multi-course meal crafted by celebrated chef John Besh, and asked them what they think makes New Orleans cuisine such a vital part of the culture.

And when people like CNN's James Carville and Mary Matalin, chef and civil rights activist Leah Chase, Mad Men star Bryan Batt, food scholar Poppy Tooker, Treme writer Lolis Eric Elie, CNN Hero Derick Tabb and fisherman Lance Nacio sit together at a table, they're going to talk with their mouths and their hearts full.

Watch the video and share your fondest New Orleans memories and your favorite restaurant tips in the comments below.
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