For most people, a barbecue emergency would entail running out of buns or over-charring the chicken wings. For the men and women of Operation BBQ Relief, that means it's time to drive into a disaster zone, fire up their smokers and serve hot meals to people on worst day of their lives.
There is something about barbecue that brings out the best in humankind. It's an inherently generous undertaking. No one makes just enough for a couple of plates; the time and effort just wouldn't be worth it. A giant hunk of meat - a shoulder, brisket, slab or ribs or even a whole, delicious beast - is cause for celebration and camaraderie.
It also presents a built-in invitation in the form of a smoky, meaty scent that acts as a homing beacon to your backyard. If you 'cue it up, they will come.
But after tornadoes laid waste to the town of Moore, Oklahoma, earlier this week, many residents were left without a backyard to call their own - let alone a smoker, tongs or even a plate from which to eat. That's when Operation BBQ Relief rolled in.
This is the thirteenth installment of "Eat This List" - a regularly recurring list of things chefs, farmers, writers and other food experts think you ought to know about.
Everybody eats. We may all come from different places, belief systems, political affiliations and football divisions, but at least once a day, every last one of us puts food into our bodies to fuel us for the road ahead.
We also all suffer loss, both on a global scale and in the gut. At times like these, eating might seem like the least important, most impossible task on the planet, but it can feed so much more than the stomach.
A shared meal, a dropped-off plate of cookies or a raised glass can add a much-needed note of normalcy in an overwhelming time. As groups like Operation BBQ Relief and Team Rubicon speed toward Moore, Oklahoma to feed and assist tornado victims, here are eight stories of times when food helped people find a little bit of respite in a world turned upside town.
I ate bugs for lunch. This time it was on purpose.
By some experts' estimates, the average person inadvertently downs about one pound of insect parts a year, in foods as varied as chocolate (which can contain 60 insect components per 100 grams by law in the United States), peanut butter (30 insect parts per 100 grams) and fruit juice (up to five fruitfly eggs and one to two larvae for every 250 milliliters).
In light of the United Nations' recent plea for increased insect consumption, I decided to take the insects by the antennae and join the 2 billion people worldwide who deliberately make creepy, crawly creatures a part of their regular or special occasion diet.
While you're frying up some eggs and bacon, we're cooking up something else: a way to celebrate today's food holiday.
Bust out the butter, scoop up the lard – May 14 is National Buttermilk Biscuit!
We've had a thing or two to say about this sumptous Southern treat in the past, so we'll pretty much let that do the talking.
The first time Meyer Wolfsheim met Jimmy Gatz, the young man hadn't eaten in days. Freshly released from Army duty and on the hunt for a job, the major wore his medal-decked uniform around town not to tout his valor or value - but rather because he couldn't afford civilian clothes.
For the princely sum of just over $4, Wolfsheim stuffed the starving kid full of food and locked in his loyalty for life.
World-renowned chef, author and Emmy winning television personality Anthony Bourdain visits Colombia in the next episode of "Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown," airing Sunday, April 28, at 9 p.m. ET. Follow the show on Twitter and Facebook.
Come to Colombia for the coffee, tropical climate and charming people; stay for the arepas, fresh fruit, abundant seafood, breakfast soups and powerful liquor.
This week, Anthony Bourdain touches down in a country best known to outsiders in recent decades as a nexus for drug trade and the accompanying violence. Instead, he finds a diverse, thoughtful, welcoming community, eager to move past the stereotypes and usher in a more positive and accurate image of the land they love.
In addition to its much-beloved canon of dishes, and evolving restaurant scene, chefs like Tomás Rueda of Bogota's Tabula and Donostia restaurants see the bounty of Colombia's wide-ranging terrain as one of its greatest assets. He tells Bourdain that the region, which includes mountains, valleys and the sea is "like a big farm, to send produce to the world."
"I believe more in a beautiful carrot than a great recipe," Rueda explained. But in Colombia, neither is in short supply.
Explore Anthony Bourdain's favorite places to eat and drink in Colombia:
World-renowned chef, author and Emmy winning television personality Anthony Bourdain visits Los Angeles' Koreatown in the next episode of "Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown," airing Sunday, April 21, at 9 p.m. ET. Follow the show on Twitter and Facebook.
Roy Choi created a brave new world of gastronomy almost single-handedly with his Los Angeles-based Kogi BBQ taco truck.
A Korean-American who grew up on the fringes of Mexican and hip hop culture, Choi's food reflects a new American idea of natural fusion - culinary influences that grew up next to and with each other.
In this episode of "Parts Unknown," Anthony Bourdain examines the meeting point of Asian, Latino, Mexican and even Bangladeshi culture in modern L.A. Koreatown.
Things are not always as they appear to be. Our recent story "The waitress, the autistic girl and the broken hamburger" shared the experiences of Anna Kaye MacLean, a young woman who was deeply touched by the kindness of a Chili's server to her seven-year-old sister Arianna, who has autism.
While many people interpret Arianna's behavior - sometimes involving violent tantrums and grunting - as uncontrolled brattiness, her older sister will take the time to explain the condition if asked. Occasionally, fellow restaurant patrons will ask to be moved to other tables, give dirty looks, or criticize MacLean's handling of the situation. While the family has never been asked to leave a restaurant, they're keenly aware of other patrons' comfort and will leave of their own accord.
Scenes like this play out in public every day, as evidenced by the over 650 comments that poured in when we posted the story. In observance of National Autism Awareness Month and April 2, World Autism Awareness Day, we're sharing insight from some of our commenters who have experience weathering the minefield that is a restaurant meal.
Is the United States closer to allowing horse meat production? On Friday, Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin signed the Oklahoma Meat Inspection Act, ending the prohibition on horse meat processing for export in Oklahoma. House Bill 1999, sponsored by state legislators Rep. Skye McNeil and Sen. Eddie Fields, passed 82-14 in the House and 32-14 in the Senate.
While the sale of horse meat for human consumption would still be off the table in Oklahoma, on November 1, 2013, the state will join the 46 others that allow equine slaughter. However, no states have processed horse meat since federal action in 2007, and bills pending in Congress would prohibit horse slaughter.
Advocates for the Oklahoma legislation said it's in the best interest of animals that would otherwise be abused, neglected, starved or sent to Canada and Mexico to meet a painful end in an unregulated plant.