Make it a double: June 14 is National Bourbon Day
June 14th, 2012
11:30 AM ET
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As it turns out, today is National Bourbon Day as well. June 14 is the 223rd anniversary of the day that the Rev. Elijah Craig first distilled whiskey from corn in Bourbon County, Kentucky. (Elijah Craig’s name lives on as a premium bourbon brand from Heaven Hill.) In 1964, Congress declared that “bourbon whiskey is a distinctive product of the United States.” Any day is worth celebrating America’s native spirit.

To be sold in the US, bourbon has to be, by law, made up of at least 51% corn in the “mash bill” or recipe - it’s often much higher, and the rest is made up of wheat, rye, and/or malted barley. Mash bills tend to be closely guarded secrets, and they have to be aged in new charred American oak barrels.

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Filed under: Food Holidays • News • Sip • Spirits

June 7th, 2012
05:00 PM ET
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Jesse Friedman and Laura Hadden are cooking their way around the world.

The Brooklyn couple has set out on a multi-year project to throw a dinner party featuring the cuisine of each of the 193 United Nations member countries - in alphabetical order, no less. They document the experience, complete with pictures and recipes, on their blog, United Noshes.

Thus far, they’ve cooked 36 meals - starting with Afghanistan and ending with China.

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Filed under: Bite • Cuisines • Cultural Identity • Culture • Eating Clubs

National mint julep day
May 30th, 2012
09:00 AM ET
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While you're frying up some eggs and bacon, we're cooking up something else: a way to celebrate today's food holiday.

“Then comes the zenith of man’s pleasure. Then comes the julep - the mint julep. Who has not tasted one has lived in is the very dream of drinks, the vision of sweet quaffings.”

May 30 is National Mint Julep Day, so let’s celebrate by deploying this appreciation of the julep published in the Lexington Herald in the late 1800s by Kentucky colonel Joshua Soule Smith.

A julep - from the Persian word julâb, meaning “rosewater” - is a drink in which liquor and syrup are poured over crushed ice, often with mint. There are so many ways to make your mint julep, and entire books have been written about julep lore and variations. (People fight duels over this stuff. Careful how you proclaim your preferred recipe.)

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Filed under: Breakfast Buffet • Cocktail Recipes • Food Holidays • News • Sip • Spirits

August 5th, 2011
10:00 AM ET
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When Captain John Smith explored the Chesapeake Bay in 1608, he wrote that the oysters "lay as thick as stones." But hundreds of years of harvesting every oyster in sight have brought the bivalve population in the bay to record lows. Fewer oysters means murkier water, as a single oyster can filter 50 to 60 gallons a day. Dredge harvesting didn’t help either, as scooping up wild oysters flattens the bottom and ruins their habitat.

Cousins Ryan and Travis Croxton of Rappahannock River Oysters are trying to turn the tide. Their great-grandfather founded the company in 1899 when he leased five acres of river bottom on the Rappahannock River near Bowlers Wharf, VA. Their grandfather advised their father not to get into the family business, as it’s a lot of hard work with uncertain return; Hurricane Hazel wiped out their entire season’s efforts in 1954.

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Filed under: Aquaculture • Business and Farming News • News • Oysters • Sustainability

July 11th, 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.

On maps, New York’s 7 train links Midtown Manhattan with Flushing in Queens, but it really connects New Yorkers from all over the world: so much so that the city has dubbed it the “International Express.” In 2000, it was named a National Millennium Trail, in recognition of its serving as “a metaphor for the migration of all the world’s people to America’s shores.”

Most of its stops are in Queens, which is one of the most diverse counties in the United States. 47 percent of the population was born outside the United States. This migration has brought with it a huge number of excellent restaurants, and the 7 train is a passport to eating all the way around the world.

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Filed under: 100 Places to Eat • America • Cultural Identity • Culture • New York • Travel

May 5th, 2011
05:30 PM ET
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Chef Gabrielle Hamilton was going a million miles a minute when I met her for an interview at her wildly popular Prune restaurant in Manhattan's East Village.

Fresh from an interview uptown, she ran in, her assistant ran out and waited in Hamilton's idling car double parked outside while we talked.

As soon as we were through, she jumped back into the car, started chatting on her cell phone and waited for a spot to open up.

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Filed under: Books • Celebrity Chefs • Gabrielle Hamilton • News • Think • Video

January 13th, 2011
11:00 AM ET
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Sam Meyer is an editor at CNN and blogs about cocktails at

In line with Eatocracy’s New Year’s resolution to eat better and make better use of the resources we have - and because my freezer is getting uncomfortably full - I decided to make chicken stock the other day. I’m kind of an evangelist for good stock; a surprising number of very good cooks I know don’t mess with it, saying that it’s not worth the trouble, or that the store-bought stuff is just as good. But really, the grocery-store stuff doesn’t compare to real stock in the intensity of flavor, and a batch of stock requires less than an hour’s work spread over a couple of days. Plus, I always feel virtuous when I make stock. I’m taking something that I’d ordinarily throw away and turning it into an awesome, versatile base for soups, sauces and all sorts of good things.

There are tons of ways to make stock; however, stock is incredibly forgiving and you can get a pretty good result fairly easily, with lots of chicken-y oomph - far superior to store-bought, which tends to either be metallic or over-salted to my palate. I roast a chicken every week or two in the wintertime, which means that I have lots of bones on hand. The carcasses go in the freezer, and when I run out of space, here’s what I do:

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Filed under: Make • Recipes • Soup

Agog over eggnog
December 16th, 2010
07:00 PM ET
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Sam Meyer is an editor at CNN and blogs about cocktails at The boy knows his 'nog. December 24 is National Eggnog Day.

The holiday season is far too often a contentious time: which set of relatives to visit, who to host, how to navigate schlepping to all the parties, white or colored lights, whether you put a star or an angel on top of the tree. For my money, one of the most divisive issues is that of eggnog.

Yes, eggnog. It can vary wildly in textures and flavors. Everyone’s familiar with the annato-colored, too-thick, pasteurized sludge sold in cartons in the grocery store. When I bought that stuff, I would cut it with milk, as I kept envisioning that goo going straight into my arteries, exactly the same consistency as it came out of the carton. It didn’t actually make it any healthier, but it wasn’t quite as gooey. We’ve heard about the history of eggnog, but what’s the best recipe for making your own as well as all the equally tasty variations?

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Filed under: Bite • Chilled Out and Cheery • Christmas • Christmas • Cocktail Recipes • Feature • Holiday • Holidays • Homemade Gifts • Make • Recipes • Sip • Spirits

Starve a fever, drink a toddy?
December 6th, 2010
11:30 AM ET
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Sam Meyer is an editor at CNN and blogs about cocktails at He's not a licensed medical professional, but he makes one heck of a soothing toddy. Recipe below.

So the weather has finally turned downright chilly in New York City, and I've come down with a head cold. Not a nasty one, fortunately; I'm not flat on my back, whining as I watch daytime television and count my muscle aches. The symptoms - runny nose, slight headache, sore and scratchy throat, general congestion - are more irritating than debilitating. But what to do about it?

Other than the standard approaches of rest, fluids, and over-the-counter medication, what's the food angle? Everyone seems to have their own approaches - my girlfriend firmly believes that you should stay away from dairy when you have a cold, on the theory that milk makes your nose run more - so what's yours?

Should you starve a fever and feed a cold? Or is it the other way around? WebMD, bless their hearts, says that "starving is never the correct answer" and recommends eating foods rich in antioxidants, bioflavonoids, and phytochemicals.

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Filed under: Cocktail Recipes • Health News • Sip • Spirits

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