Black swan. Unborn puppies. A hundred live doves “baked into a great pie” and prepared to “burst forth in a swirl of white feathers.”
Those are some of the dishes I decided not to attempt for my Game of Thrones-themed dinner party.
George R.R. Martin’s “Song of Ice and Fire” books are famously long (1,040 pages for the latest installment), and roughly 50% of the word count is devoted to describing what the characters are eating. One wedding feast features an ode to most of its seventy-seven courses; even a rundown of frozen defense outpost’s dwindling supplies is good for a three-page litany about storerooms filled with “potted hare, haunch of deer in honey, pickled cabbage, pickled beets, pickled onions, pickled eggs and pickled herring.”
The HBO series embraces the books’ gluttonous spirit: The producers got a castle banquet into the very first episode.
For food fans, this is clearly a challenge. A thrown gauntlet. One week ahead of Game of Thrones season 3 premier, I rounded up a few of my geeky friends - and some novices we hoped to convert - for our own recreation of a Westerosi feast.
Stacy Cowley is CNNMoney's tech editor. She's in a complicated relationship with her CSA and explores the odd vegetables that show up in her haul in CSI: CSA. Previously, she fended off a stampeding herd of zucchini.
The vegetables I've been writing about this season - the invasive purslane weed, inscrutable kohlrabi and endless bushes of leafy greens - all came from Added Value, an urban farm located on the edge of Brooklyn's Red Hook waterfront neighborhood.
By Monday night, the farm was buried under almost three feet of water. Sandy's storm surge sent a flood of river water, mud and industrial sludge cascading through Red Hook, drowning hundreds of homes and local businesses. The farm lost its fall crops, some of its physical structures, and an estimated $10,000 to $40,000 in equipment.
Stacy Cowley is CNNMoney's tech editor. She's in a complicated relationship with her CSA and explores the odd vegetables that show up in her haul in CSI: CSA. Previously, she fell in love with the weirdness of kohlrabi.
I have a zucchini the size of a baseball bat lurking on my fridge’s bottom shelf. It has a pack of cousins jammed into the veggie drawer, and my freezer is stuffed with roughly seventeen zillion pounds of squash creations.
It’s the problem every CSA subscriber or veggie gardener faces all summer long: The zucchini explosion.
These things are the rabbits of the plant world. During a long, dry July stretch when practically nothing else was coming up at my CSA’s farm, the zucchini merrily ran rampant. We got massive hauls of it each week; the leftover squash took to leaping off the vines and accosting those who wandered past. I’ve known home gardeners who become like drug pushers: “Oh, you have to take some of my zucchini home with you! No really, take some damn zucchini.”
Stacy Cowley is CNNMoney's tech editor. She's in a complicated relationship with her CSA and explores the odd vegetables that show up in her haul in CSI: CSA. Previously, she discovered the weedy joys of purslane.
If you’ve got kohlrabi in your fridge, you’re probably in a CSA. I’ve never met a single person who has procured a kohlrabi in the wild*.
I’d certainly never run across one until my CSA started sticking them in its shares. With most new produce, I can at least take a guess at its likely texture and taste. With kohlrabi, I had absolutely no clue. Its appearance has famously been described by nutritionist Jonny Bowden as “a cross between an octopus and a space capsule."
Lacking any idea where to start, I hit the Internets. First step: Figuring out what to make. Kohlrabi turns out to be obscure but incredibly versatile - you can use it in pretty much anything that works well with root vegetables, but it will also stretch in unusual directions.
“I’m not going to eat the purslane,” my friend Amy announced as we collected our CSA shares. “I grew up weeding that ^%$#.”
My CSA often coughs up veggies and greens you don’t usually see in the supermarket, but until Amy foisted her purslane share on me, I hadn’t realized the haul would include actual weeds.
Amy, who comes from rural Colorado, says she used to spend hours each week as a kid hunting down purslane shoots and fighting their attempts to take over her family’s vegetable patch. The USDA classifies it as “invasive and noxious.” Google its official name, “portulaca oleracea,” and you’ll get a long list of advice on killing it; Google “purslane” and you get tips for cooking it.
Stacy Cowley is CNNMoney's tech editor. She's in a complicated relationship with her CSA and explores the odd vegetables that show up in her haul in CSI: CSA. This is the first installment
It’s CSA season. That means that like thousands of other community supported agriculture subscribers, I’m locked in a five-month death battle with my fridge’s veggie drawer.
It’s week three of my CSA, and right now, the fridge is winning. I’ve got the inevitable kohlrabi lurking in the crisper, plotting a coup with the half-dozen turnips I’ve had lingering in there since April. The leafy greens are forming factions. I’ve been adding “spring salad mix” to every meal I possibly can, since it turns to sludge after a week, but that means neglecting the kale, arugula and mizuna. I’m pretty sure they’re spawning. Every time I open the drawer, the mizuna supply has tripled.
It’s not all grim, of course. I actually love CSA season and look forward to our first mid-June delivery the way six-year-old me anticipated Christmas morning: Finally, after months and months of waiting, the goodies arrive!
From $15.95 for an all-you-can eat Champagne Dinner Buffet to $150 for a multi-course feast from a Michelin-starred chef, few places pack as much culinary diversity into a four-mile stretch as the Las Vegas Strip.
Starting at the north end in the shadow of the Stratosphere, I set out for a low-to-high tour of what's on the T-Day menu.
First stop: Frankie's Tiki Bar, a 24-hour spot with a parking lot that was almost deserted when I stopped in a bit after noon. Seems Thanksgiving doesn't put people in the tiki mood: "I had literally like five people all day long last year," bartender Tawnya commented.
But she'd already beaten that tally by midday this time around, and she was expecting a pickup in the evening: "After people are done dealing with their families, they're ready for a cocktail."
Today, CNN Money's Laurie Segall reports on 4food, a new New York City restaurant that's fueling its customer base with the use of social media. The restaurateurs claim to offer 96 billion burger combos available as orders. Stacy Cowley crunches the numbers.
New Manhattan burger joint 4food lets eaters customize their creations with an extensive ingredient menu, and news reports have put the range of options at anywhere from "more than a million" to "140 million" burger combinations.
"There can't possibly be 140 million combinations," I said to my statistician spouse.
"Let's find out," he said, firing up Excel.