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Ultimate Resource For Cooks, Chefs And The Latest Food Trends

Cheese Without Cows Via Precision Fermentation. Ultimate Resource For Cooks, Chefs And The Latest Food Trends

An emerging technology promises vegan cheese as gooey and pungent as the real thing.

A decade ago, Jaap Korteweg founded a company called the Vegetarian Butcher, which made faux meat close enough to the real thing to be featured on Burger King’s menu. But for anyone wanting a cheeseburger, Korteweg couldn’t find an acceptable substitute for the other half of the recipe.


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So last year the Dutch entrepreneur plowed the proceeds from selling the company to Unilever Plc into another venture, Those Vegan Cowboys, aiming to concoct dairy products sans cows. On the way to a plant-based diet, “cheese was the last thing that disappeared from my plate,” Korteweg says. “There are no good vegan cheeses.”

Most of today’s cheese substitutes are based on soy, cashew, or other foods, and they generally lack the real thing’s rich aromatics, luxurious texture, and gooey quality when melted. Nut- and grain-based milk substitutes are getting better every year, but they don’t have caseins, which account for 80% of the proteins in dairy milk and give cheese its texture.

Those Vegan Cowboys is one of dozens of startups seeking to create caseins with precision fermentation, a technology long used to make synthetic insulin. That, these companies say, will soon enable them to produce cheeses that are virtually indistinguishable from the real thing, without the environmental and animal welfare problems.

The process combines fermentation—which humans have been doing for thousands of years to make everything from beer and wine to kimchi and sauerkraut—with gene-splicing techniques developed in recent decades.

Technicians modify fungus or yeast by inserting a digital copy of cow DNA. This substance is put into steel tanks, where it reacts with organic materials to produce caseins, which are mixed with fats to produce a milk-like liquid that’s the starting material for cheese.

“The cow is the processor between grass and cheese,” Korteweg says. “So the fungi are the cow in our line.”

Investors are betting alternative cheese will be the next big thing as growth in demand for milk substitutes starts to slow. Blue Horizon, a venture capital company in Zurich focused on making food more sustainable, predicts vegan cheese consumption will increase more than fivefold by 2025.

About $1.4 billion has been invested globally in dairy substitute startups this year, up 70% from 2020, according to researcher Dealroom.

And investment in companies using precision fermentation doubled last year from 2019, to almost $600 million, the Good Food Institute reports. “What you’re trying to do is move from a product that may initially just appeal to vegetarians or vegans and bring it more mainstream,” says Mark Lynch, a partner at Oghma Partners, a corporate finance advisory company in London.

Although it may be possible to create a substitute milk that’s indistinguishable from the real thing using precision fermentation, the increasing quality of beverages made from oats, soy, almonds, or rice has spurred newcomers to focus on higher-margin dairy products.

Formo, a startup in Berlin, has gotten $50 million in funding to develop its mozzarella and ricotta offerings and plans to add mature and ripened cheeses such as cheddar and Gruyère. Starbucks Corp. has tested ice cream from Perfect Day Inc. And Nobell, a startup in San Francisco backed by Bill Gates, genetically modifies soybean plants to make dairy proteins instead of soy proteins.

“If we create products that compete on taste and on price and eventually are cheaper than buying it from an animal source, people are going to make more of these choices,” says Nobell founder Magi Richani.

Nobell expects to introduce its first products in 2023, and Perfect Day plans to add cream cheese in the coming months, but it will likely be years before the technology is truly competitive with traditional cheeses.

And in Europe, regulators may be slower to approve such foods over concerns about the genetically modified cells the method requires—though the modifications are needed only to get the process going, and there will be no such cells in the final products.

In the meantime, companies are working on less complicated alternatives. In California, Miyoko’s Creamery recently introduced a cashew-based vegan mozzarella for pizza. Sweden’s Stockeld Dreamery makes a feta substitute from fermented peas and fava beans.

And Motif FoodWorks in Boston is developing a corn-based cheese while it works on precision fermentation. “You can actually get a plant-based cheese to melt and stretch and bubble and have the gooey texture consumers expect,” says Mike Leonard, Motif’s chief technology officer.

One question is what to call the stuff made using precision fermentation, with some suggesting “lab-grown cheese” and others leaning toward “cultured” or “cultivated.” Dairy groups in various countries have objected to soy- and oat-milk producers labeling their products “milk,” so they’d probably have a similar problem with cheeses made with precision fermentation.

And because a copy of cows’ milk DNA is used to get the ball rolling, some vegans may reject the products. “These companies are potentially using the cow DNA,” says Chantelle Adkins of the U.K. Vegan Society. “We would have to consider where that came from.”

Korteweg, too, is hedging his bets with a plant-based offering—a spread he makes together with the producer of Old Amsterdam cheese—to keep the company going until his precision fermentation work starts to pay off.

He says he’s in frequent talks with companies around the world and that, as a self-professed cheese lover, he’s eager to sample vegan versions of varieties from asiago to zwitser. “If you have the identical casein, you can make all kinds of cheese,” he says. “It’s our goal to copy them all.”

BOTTOM LINE – With sales of vegan cheese substitutes on track to increase more than fivefold by 2025, investment in precision fermentation startups doubled last year, to almost $600 million.

Smart Air Fryers To Boost Your Cooking Game

These handy appliances make it easy to create healthy meals without sacrificing taste.

The pandemic has turned many into accidental chefs.

With so many of us still cooking at home instead of dining out, we’re continually having to brush up on culinary techniques. An air fryer offers one of the easiest kitchen shortcuts for preparing a huge range of foods. The appliance also brings a bonus of healthful cooking.

As the name implies, an air fryer uses fast-circulating hot air instead of oil to cook the outside of food and (hopefully) leave the inside moist and juicy. Luckily, a new generation of air fryers is wifi-enabled, which means you can tap a recipe on your phone, send it to the cooker, say something like “Alexa, get cooking,” and watch your meat, fish, fries, or even cake cook to perfection.

Here Are Our Top Picks For Smart Air Fryers On The Market:

Proscenic T21 Air Fryer
Ultimate Resource For Cooks, Chefs And The Latest Food Trends


Sleek and versatile, the T21 works at the touch of a button on its well-designed control panel— or with a tap of your phone. Proscenic’s app lets you control and adjust the air fryer from anywhere. A recipe library lets you customize your own fryer favorites, and remembers those time and temperature settings for next time.

Create a schedule on the app, and the T21 will start to cook at the appointed time, up to 12 hours ahead. And if your hands are occupied with other meal-prep tasks, you can control and schedule cooking with Alexa voice (the skill name on Alexa is “Proscenic Air Fryer”). The T21 also comes with eight preset menus–Fries, Cake, and Bacon among them– to do your culinary bidding.

The Proscenic T21 Air Fryer is available for $129.99


Gourmia GRA2800

Ultimate Resource For Cooks, Chefs And The Latest Food Trends


Gourmia’s high-end fryer is also energy-efficient; it’s halogen-powered, which generates more heat using half the power of conventional ovens. This little appliance tops out at a potent 450 degrees Fahrenheit. Using Gourmia’s app, it’s also Wi-Fi-enabled (“Phone not included,” Gourmia’s site helpfully notes).

More than 20 settings cover your cooking French fries, kebabs, rotisserie chicken, pizza, cake, wings, steak and even popcorn, sans oil. The GRA2800 costs a bit more, but comes with a thoughtful accessory kit, including fry basket, steak/fish cage, kebab rack and even a cookbook. Bonus: The fryer’s clear lid and internal light allow for easy monitoring.

The Gourmia GRA2800 is available for $279.99


Kyvol Epichef AF600


Ultimate Resource For Cooks, Chefs And The Latest Food Trends


It’s not just Wi-Fi features that make the AF600 sexy. An attractive kitchen addition in black and gray, the fryer provides a sleek control panel and a handy see-through viewing window. With the Kyvol app, you can remotely customize the time and temperature during your cooking with smart functions like original recipes, cooking time delay, and a real-time cooking history.

You’ll also find more than a hundred pre-programmed recipes— good for those nights when you don’t want to think too much about how to make dinner happen. The AF600 also boasts a larger capacity than some fryers; its 6-quart space means you won’t always have to break food into pieces to get it cooking.

The Kyvol Epichef AF600 is available for $129.99.


Cosori VeSync Pro II Smart Air Fryer


Ultimate Resource For Cooks, Chefs And The Latest Food Trends


“Alexa, time to fry!” Cook hands-free by connecting this smart-looking black-on-black fryer to Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant. With remote control options through VeSync’s app, you can monitor meals without staying chained to the kitchen.

More than 100 in-app recipes, all with simple, step-by-step instructions, make cooking with Cosori (almost) idiot-proof. Customize and save your own presets to keep repeating your most memorable meals. The Pro II reaches a maximum temperature of 400 degrees Fahrenheit.

The Cosori VeSync Pro Smart Air Fryer is available for $149.99.


Updated: 1-7-2020

How To Build A Dream Kitchen—For Your Toddler (Complete With A Fake Wolf Range)

Ultimate Resource For Cooks, Chefs And The Latest Food Trends

Parents renovate toy cooking spaces; a child-size replica of a Smeg fridge, subway tiles.

Linda Ly knew from the minute she clicked “buy,” the kitchen was going to be a bit of a fixer upper.

The colors were too dark and the graphics and decals too juvenile. While it had good bones, it simply didn’t match her design sensibilities—or the décor in her family room—so she spent a weekend remodeling it.

The play kitchen, which she bought on sale for $90 at, got a new subway-tile backsplash and a countertop made to look like concrete.

She spray painted the cabinets white and the fixtures matte black and added bright-red stove knobs, the same color as the expensive Wolf range she has long coveted.

About $40 in materials later, Ms. Ly had created her dream kitchen—for her 2-year-old daughter.

“She’ll never know the significance,” said Ms. Ly, a blogger and cookbook author living in Bend, Ore. “But when I look at it, it makes me smile every day.”

Ultimate Resource For Cooks, Chefs And The Latest Food Trends

The home-renovation craze that has hit households across America in recent years is now being taken to a new extreme: DIY-minded parents are buying stock play kitchens for their toddlers and overhauling them with new paint, fixtures and materials to look more like the real thing.

Across the internet, photos, blogs and even instruction videos have popped up dedicated to the topic of play-kitchen makeovers, many with parents posting before-and-after images of their transformations and tips on how they did it.

There is even a Facebook group, called Play Kitchens & Toy Makeovers,” where people can swap kitchen-overhaul pointers and show off results, and shops selling fake backsplash tiles and other accessories.

Gold knobs and handles are popular, as are trendy paint colors like navy and dark green for the cabinets and marble-looking countertops.

The IKEA Duktig—an $89 play kitchen made mostly out of birch plywood—is by far a fan favorite because as one mom explained: Its minimalist design offers the blankest slate. (Duktig means “clever” in Swedish.)

Parents also gravitate to KidKraft Inc. and other play-set brands, and the question of which toy-kitchen models are the best for overhauls is often a discussion point online.

Some like Ms. Ly buy their kitchens new intending to renovate; others are merely trying to spruce up hand-me-downs or garage-sale purchases. Most agree: The real beneficiary isn’t necessarily the kids themselves.

“It’s an opportunity to make your dream kitchen without spending your dream dollars,” said Natalie Drummond, a stay-at-home mom of two in Louisville, Colo., who two years ago decided she would redo her daughter’s IKEA play kitchen.

Ultimate Resource For Cooks, Chefs And The Latest Food Trends

In working on the project, she made several faux-backsplashes printed on foam board, and later, having some leftovers, got the idea of selling them online.

Now, her Etsy shop, Eggs For Breakfast, has 22 different backsplash options and also microwave and refrigerator decals. On average, Ms. Drummond says she fills about 40 orders a month, but between Thanksgiving and Christmas, sales were nearly triple that figure.

Brittany Poll, a part-time nurse from Columbus, Ohio, said her kids’ kitchen redo was as much for her own sanity as it was a creative outlet.

“You’ve got kids’ crap all over the place” and much of it is bright colors and plastic, she said. “I wanted something I could look at every day,” she added.

Ms. Poll spent about three weeks, working between nap times and evenings, on her remodel. She spray painted the IKEA kitchen white and blue-gray, replaced the plastic handles with metal drawer pulls in gold and added plastic-white knobs to the stove for a more realistic effect. Then, her husband built a toddler-size replica of a Smeg refrigerator to go with it.

When she gave it to her 1-year-old son at Christmas, he seemed thrilled but it is unclear if he appreciated all the work, she said. After all, he wasn’t talking yet.

She is now considering updating the play kitchen again for her younger daughter—this time painting it hunter green and adding leather pulls for the cabinets.

An IKEA representative said the company is aware of the trend but doesn’t support it for its own products. Rather, it advises customers not to alter or “hack” any of its children’s items, including the play kitchens.

“Safety is the bottom line, and we know our products are safe,” said Kaci Malloy, senior sales leader for the children’s business.

KidKraft also wants parents to be safe but embraces the makeovers, even looking to them for inspiration for their own toy-kitchen line, said Kiyomi Haverly, vice president for creative.

She said HGTV and other design shows have sparked a real interest in crafting and DIY projects among millennials, many of whom are now parents.

“It’s the maker movement now moving into toys and kids’ furniture,” Ms. Haverly said.

Daira Moffett, a mother of three living in Morgan City, La., decided to start the Facebook group “Play Kitchens & Toy Makeovers” about a year ago, while embarking on her own KidKraft kitchen remodel for her daughter.

To her surprise, the group has grown to more than 8,700 members. Discussion topics range from what’s the best spray paint to use to where to buy mini-pots, plates and utensils. “I wasn’t expecting this thing to get that big,” Ms. Moffett said.

In recent weeks, the page has been crowded with photos and commentary from parents showing off their latest makeovers-turned-Christmas presents.

Jonathan Warshauer, of Patchogue, N.Y., said it wasn’t easy to let go of his creation. He’d spent weeks on Pinterest and Google looking for inspiration, and then another couple of weeks on the remodel, giving it to his daughter for her second birthday. It even had under-cabinet lights and IKEA plants on the shelves.

For the first three months, he was diligent about keeping it clean and free of the typical toddler destruction. But that only lasted so long.

“It’s definitely taken a beating,” Mr. Warshauer said. “Now, she just has it in her play area, and I don’t even look at it,” he said.

Updated: 9-18-2021

The Accidental Chef

Mistakes are an essential part of cooking. Without them, we might not have brownies, oyster sauce or hummus that’s as light as a cloud.

Lee Kum Sheung invented oyster sauce, a salty brown condiment that is now a staple in millions of homes, in 1888, when he was a 26-year-old street-food vendor in Hong Kong.

He’d left a pot of oysters to simmer for too long, then tasted the brown sticky mess and found, to his surprise, that it was delicious. He began making the burned oyster sauce deliberately and selling it in ceramic jars under the Lee Kum Kee brand.

His brilliant mistake would make his family richer than he ever could have imagined: In July, when Lee’s grandson (Lee Man Tat) died at age 91, the family’s wealth was valued at more than $17 billion. And although the Lee Kum Kee brand now sells numerous other sauces, from soy sauce to chili bean paste, oyster sauce remains its most famous product.

I love stories about iconic dishes invented by accident because they make me feel less despairing about the mishaps that happen in my own kitchen every day.

This week alone I have: burned some pine nuts, dropped pieces of egg shell in a cake mix and added too much water to a plum compote (it ended up like plum soup). Sadly, none of these mistakes led to any delicious new inventions (unlike burned oysters, burned pine nuts just taste plain bad).

But it is comforting to think that just sometimes, culinary triumph can be snatched from the jaws of a muddle. When I fail to add the baking powder in a cake, I remind myself that at the turn of the century, exactly the same mistake may have given us the brownie, when a cook in Bangor, Maine, forgot the baking powder and discovered that she liked the dense texture that resulted.

When I let a pan of food burn, I think of the Tatin sisters—creators of the tarte Tatin—who thought they had burned the filling for an apple pie at their hotel in France in the 1880s, only to realize they could rescue the caramelized filling by baking the pastry base on top of the dish of apples instead of underneath and then turning the pie filling-side up on the plate.

Even if not every accidental food-creation story is true, such “eureka” moments do happen.

The internet is full of lists celebrating these “accidental food inventions.” Without fail, such lists will mention chocolate chip cookies, Popsicles and potato chips, three of the most iconic American snacks.

Popsicles supposedly came about in 1905, when Frank Epperson left some sugary soda on his porch overnight with a stirring stick stuck in it, and it froze solid.

Potato chips are supposed to have come about at Moon’s Lake House in Saratoga Springs in 1853, when a wealthy and demanding customer kept sending back his fried potatoes, asking chef George Crum to make them crisper.

In 1930, Ruth Wakefield ran out of baking chocolate for cookies and added a chopped up a bar of chocolate instead.

She was amazed to discover that the little pieces of chocolate didn’t melt throughout the dough but remained studded at intervals in the cookies. Behold, the chocolate chip cookie!

Sadly, not all of these culinary legends hold water. Take the potato chip. As Dick Burhans recounts in “Crunch! A History of the Great American Potato Chip,” if chef George Crum really did invent chips by accident, it is odd that Mr. Crum’s obituary in 1914 made no mention of it. The Crum story didn’t start to circulate until the 1930s.

A likelier inventor of the potato chip is Katie Wicks, another chef at Moon’s Lake House. Ms. Wicks’s obituary in 1917 credited her as the creator of the potato chip.

It is possible that, far from being an accident, Ms. Wicks learned how to make these chips from her brother-in-law, who was a chef at another hotel in Saratoga Springs.

But even if not every accidental food-creation story is true, such “eureka” moments do happen. Food writer Hetty McKinnon—author of “To Asia, With Love: Everyday Asian Recipes and Stories from the Heart”—recently forgot to drain a can of chickpeas and ended up making her best-ever hummus. “It came about purely by accident,” Ms. McKinnon told me by email.

By the time she noticed that she had tipped in the whole can of chickpeas, water and all, it was too late. She pressed ahead, adding the tahini, lemon and garlic.

When she turned on her blender, she found that far from being a watery mess, this hummus was “light, airy, cloudlike.” The reason is that chickpea water—also known as aquafaba—has amazing emulsifying properties (vegans sometimes use it in place of egg whites).

“Nowadays, even though it isn’t traditional, it is the only way I make hummus,” Ms. McKinnon said. I can confirm that her accidental (and very easy) recipe produces a hummus that is astonishingly whippy and light.

I am ever more convinced that mistakes in the kitchen should not be seen as anomalies but as an essential part of the cooking process. Most of the delicious things we eat every day came about through someone else’s trial and error many years ago.

Almost everything fermented, including bread and cheese, must once have been a mistake-turned-good. What is yogurt but rescued spoiled milk?

One of the greatest advocates of mistakes in the kitchen was the food writer Julia Child. She once tried to cook hamburgers on the David Letterman show, but the burners wouldn’t work, and the meat remained stubbornly raw. Unfazed, Ms. Child repurposed the burgers as steak tartare.

Ms. Child once argued that the art of cooking was really “one failure after another.” This was no cause for despair, she said, because making mistakes is “how you finally learn.” Not every kitchen accident will make it into the history books, as oyster sauce has done. But learning how to take the burned bits in your stride makes you a better cook.


Updated: 9-24-2021

Forget Pumpkin Spice: This Peach Cake Recipe Is The Dish Of The Moment

When the legendary pastry chef Gina DePalma died, she left behind one of the greatest cookbooks never published. It includes this simple, stunning cake.

Yes, pumpkin spice season arrived early this year (as it seems to do every year). But that isn’t stopping peaches, which are still kicking around after a strong summer. There’s time to grab them from market stalls before they disappear with fall’s arrival.

That’s what Gina DePalma would do. The legendary pastry chef ruled the kitchen at Babbo in downtown New York in its heyday before she passed away in 2015 at the age of 49, with a second cookbook unpublished.

She created singular desserts that leaned Italian, such as maple mascarpone cheesecake and a mesmerizing saffron panna cotta.

This was an intoxicating version of Italian-American cooking that has since been popularized by the Carbone crew; along with the savory menu, it was a sensation in late ‘90’s New York.

“When Babbo opened, it really was a change in restaurants, high-end places didn’t serve dishes like brain ravioli,” says Ruth Reichl, who gave the place three stars as the restaurant critic for the New York Times.

“In those days, when you went to Italian restaurants it was tiramisu, tiramisu, tiramisu. Gina’s desserts pushed the envelope. I’m not a huge sweets eater—but her desserts, I wanted.”

Now a former colleague is working to bring DePalma’s shelved book to the public. Food writer Adam Reiner, author of the Restaurant Manifesto blog, calls “My Sweet Italy” “the greatest cookbook never published.” The manuscript includes more than 100 recipes, almost all desserts, and chronicles trips to Italy in a style that the late Anthony Bourdain, a DePalma fan, would have admired.

“Very few people made Babbo more special than Gina,” says Reiner, who worked there with her for about 10 years as a server.

“She came up in the time of emerging rock star-chef culture, where women weren’t invited to participate,” so she didn’t get the attention she deserved, he notes.

Still, Babbo regulars and dessert fans knew and appreciated DePalma beyond her popular cookbook, Dolce Italiano: Desserts from the Babbo Kitchen (W.W. Norton; 2007).

What makes her unpublished cookbook important is that it demonstrates what the chef could create beyond the constraints of restaurant desserts. Reiner points out that many of DePalma’s bestselling sweets were conceived without on-the-ground research.

“She was the premier Italian pastry chef in America, and hadn’t been to Italy,” says Reiner. (DePalma didn’t make her first trip there until 2004.) “This book shows what she could really do.”

My Sweet Italy” includes such treats as a fresh fig budino and pistachio-studded honey semifreddo. These are evocative, uncomplicated desserts that make you want to run to the kitchen and start measuring. One of the simplest recipes is Mom’s peach cake.

While most of the focus is on regional cakes, tarts, and cookies, DePalma included a “Tradizione” section stocked with her most personal baking endeavors.

“Traditional recipes represent important and cherished beliefs,” DePalma wrote in the chapter heading, “contained in the form of a family favorite or local delicacy that may seem insignificant to outsiders but are rich in symbolism and meaning.”

DePalma’s cake is fully that—and a late summer blast: The tender cake practically melts in your mouth. The soft peaches bake into the batter, perfuming the top with fruitiness.

DePalma added a little cornstarch to the fruit to hold onto the juices, giving the peaches an appealing, pie-like quality.

For those who were big fans of DePalma, it feels like a lovely and unexpected connection. In season, she served her saffron panna cotta with poached peaches. It was my favorite dessert in all of New York.

The following recipe is adapted from the unpublished manuscript, “My Sweet Italy,” by Gina DePalma.

Mom’s Peach Cake

Makes 6 To 8 servings

1 ¼ Cups Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
½ tsp. Kosher Salt
½ tsp. Baking Powder
¼ T tsp. Freshly Grated Nutmeg
½ Cup Unsalted Butter, Softened
¾ Cup Plus 1 Additional Tbsp Granulated Sugar
1 Large Egg
1 Large Egg Yolk
½ tsp. Pure Vanilla Extract
Freshly Grated Zest Of 1 Small Lemon
½ Cup Whole Milk
4 Small Ripe Juicy Peaches
2 tsp. Fresh Lemon Juice
½ tsp. Cornstarch
1 tbsp Turbinado Sugar (Optional)
Vanilla Gelato Or Ice Cream, For Serving

Preheat the oven to 350F. Butter and flour a 9-inch round cake pan.

In a medium bowl, stir together the flour, salt, baking powder, and nutmeg.

In a large bowl, beat the softened butter and ¾ cup of sugar together until light. Add egg and egg yolk and vanilla and lemon zest, and beat until combined, scraping down the sides of the bowl as necessary.

Beat in the flour mixture on low speed just until incorporated, then add the milk and beat on medium speed until the batter is creamy and emulsified. Spread the batter evenly into the prepared pan.

Scrub the peaches under running water to remove any fuzz, then halve and pit them. Cut each peach into eight slices. Place the slices in a bowl and toss with the lemon juice, cornstarch and remaining 1 tbsp sugar.

Arrange the peaches in a circular pattern on top of the cake batter, spooning any accumulated juice over the top. If desired, sprinkle with the turbinado sugar.

Bake the cake for about 40 minutes or until puffed—firm to the touch and golden and pulling away from the sides of the pan.

Let the cake cool in the pan for 15 minutes. Run a knife around the edges and then carefully invert it onto a large plate. Set another large plate on top and invert, so it ends with the peach side up. Let cool. (Alternatively, you can serve the cooled cake from the pan.) Cut into wedges, and serve with vanilla gelato or ice cream.


Updated: 9-29-2021

Easy Eggplant Parmesan Recipe: Lighter, Crisper, Never Soggy

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It’s the comfort-food classic we love, only re-engineered so that the different components cook separately. The result is both satisfying and surprising.

A Fresh Perspective on classic dishes has earned chef Joe Papach rave reviews at the Harvey House in Madison, Wis. Here, in his second Slow Food Fast recipe, Mr. Papach re-engineers eggplant Parmesan so that each component cooks separately. No soggy texture, no muddled flavors.

Planks of fried eggplant sit atop a sauce made with fruity Sungold tomatoes. Rather than melting mozzarella on top, Mr. Papach tears off shreds of room-temperature cheese and scatters them over the dish to soften in the residual heat from the other elements. Finished with lemon zest and torn basil, it’s the comfort food we love, only lighter and brighter.

Fried Eggplant With Sungold Tomatoes, Basil And Mozzarella

Planks of fried eggplant sit atop a sauce made with fruity Sungold tomatoes. Rather than melting mozzarella on top, tear off shreds of room-temperature cheese and scatter them over the dish to soften in the residual heat from the other elements. Finished with lemon zest and torn basil, it’s the comfort food we love, only lighter and brighter.

Ultimate Resource For Cooks, Chefs And The Latest Food Trends

Total Time: 45 Minutes
Serves: 4


2 Italian Eggplants, Sliced Lengthwise Into ½-Inch Planks Kosher Salt And Freshly Ground Black Pepper
2 Tablespoons Olive Oil Plus More To Fry And Finish
2 Cloves Garlic, Thinly Sliced
½ Teaspoon Chile Flakes
1 Pint Sungold Tomatoes, Halved
¼ Cup Dry White Wine
3 Tablespoons Butter, Chilled Sherry Vinegar
1 Cup Flour
3 Eggs, Beaten
2 Cups Panko
1 (12-Ounce) Ball Fresh Mozzarella, At Room Temperature, Torn Into Bite-Size Shreds Zest Of 1 Lemon
½ Cup Torn Basil Leaves


1. Season eggplant liberally with salt and place on a cooling rack set over a baking sheet. Let drain at 5 minutes. Pat dry with paper towels.

2. Make the tomato sauce: Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a medium pan over medium-low heat. Add garlic and cook until translucent, about 1 minute. Season with chile flakes and salt, and increase heat to medium. Stir in tomatoes and cook until they release liquid, 3 minutes. Add wine and cook until sauce tightens, about 3 minutes more. Stir in butter and, once sauce is creamy, season with vinegar and salt to taste. Cover to keep warm.

3. Place flour, eggs and panko into three large separate bowls. Fill a large, deep pan with at least 1/2 inch of oil and set over medium-high heat.

4. Dredge each eggplant plank through flour to cover. Shake off excess and dip eggplant into eggs to completely coat. Let excess run off and then dredge eggplant through panko, pressing to make crumbs adhere evenly. Set breaded eggplant on rack.

5. Once oil is hot but not smoking, working in batches, lay breaded eggplant into oil and fry until crisp and golden brown on one side, 2-3 minutes. Control heat so oil bubbles steadily. Use tongs to carefully flip eggplant and fry until golden and crisp on reverse side and fully tender, about 2 minutes more. Transfer fried eggplant to paper-towel-lined plates to cool. Season with salt.

6. To serve, spoon warm tomato sauce into shallow bowls. Place fried eggplant on top. Scatter torn mozzarella over top. Season with salt, pepper and zest. Garnish with basil and a drizzle of oil.

Updated: 9-29-2021

Want Your Toddlers To Make Their Own Breakfast? Get Them A Working Kitchen

Grown-ups are adding functional faucets, mini-fridges and kid-friendly utensils to play kitchens, encouraging toddlers to prepare food; ‘He’s able to pour a flawless bowl of cereal now’.

When Alex Kim wanted to teach his toddler how to prepare meals, he tried everything including the kitchen sink.

Mr. Kim, a 33-year-old program manager at a defense aerospace company, decided to upgrade his son’s play kitchen and installed a working faucet and drain. He also purchased a mini-fridge and stocked it with snacks and milk.

“We try to incorporate him in everything we’re doing,” Mr. Kim said.

Children’s play kitchens have been given makeovers before, dolled up to look like fancy real ones. Now some grown-ups are taking little steps further, digging out their credit cards and drills to re-work play kitchens to make them functional and encouraging their toddlers to prepare food with minimal parental interference.

The goal, parents say, is to allow toddlers to see how things really work, and gain independence. It can get messy.

Warren Kim, 2 years old, had a choice for breakfast: pancakes or cereal. He chose cereal. His dad poured the cereal for him, and let little Warren pour the milk. His tiny kitchen was drenched. The bowl stayed mostly dry. The TikTok video of the incident posted by his father racked up 25 million views.

After the spill, the video shows a silence of a few seconds, and Mr. Kim, who was filming, responds, “Good job Warren, good try, OK.”

Mr. Kim acknowledged that it was Warren’s first time pouring milk and that the container was too big. In the latter half of the video, Warren is seen practicing his pouring skills with a much smaller cup of water.

“Obviously it was an epic fail but we definitely try to encourage the process,” Mr. Kim said. He’s proud that Warren got the milk himself and poured “the little bit he did into the cereal bowl.”

In January, Mr. Kim reworked a play kitchen for Warren that came with a fake backsplash that mirrors the herringbone in their adult-sized kitchen. He replaced the faucet with a working water dispenser, drilled holes to add draining, and added cutting boards to replace the tiny stove ranges, to create more toddler-level surface to prep and cut food, steps which even non-DIY savvy parents can accomplish, said Mr. Kim.

With this set up, toddlers are free to chop a banana with a butter knife, arrange cheese and crackers on a plate, or even wash their own dishes.

After months of practicing with smaller cups of liquid, 2-year-old Warren Kim has seen improvements.

“He’s able to pour a flawless bowl of cereal now,” his father said, pouring the milk in the cereal by himself.

Friends Raye Parris and India Tate each modified their children’s own play kitchen setups. Together, they started Melanin Moms Montessori, a blog designed to bring together Black parents following the Montessori educational approach of giving children more independence and choices.

“I don’t consider myself as someone who is really good at DIY,” said Ms. Parris, 28, who followed online blogs showing how to modify a play kitchen into a more functional one.

“I have a Mason jar with a spout on it and that flows right into the little sink part of the play kitchen,” said Ms. Parris, who lives in Georgia with her three-year-old son, King. “I didn’t drill holes so that the water could drain through simply because I would have lost that storage space underneath there and that’s where I keep his little utensils, trays, plates, and bowls. I do have to dump the water out when he’s done or help him dump it out but it’s not that much of a hassle or a mess for me.”

When it comes to the occasional spills or messes, Ms. Tate, a 31-year-old mother of two young children, Malachi and Roman, said cleaning up is almost always a shared task at their California home.

“For Roman in the beginning, he was like ‘Oh, I made a mess and I’m not going to clean it up,’ ” Ms. Tate said. “Eventually he caught on and was like, ‘Oh, I spilled it,’ and he would go and get his own towel and clean up to the best of his ability.”

Little Chef and Me, an online store, has seen demand for its tiny stainless-steel and beech-wood-handled kitchen utensils, each designed with a little smiley face. The utensils are meant to function as real ones.

“We’ve grown way faster than I anticipated,” said store owner Zoe Kelly, 29, a chef based in South Florida who also has competed as a finalist on Food Network’s All-Star Academy. She is mom to Raiden, who is 21 months old. He doesn’t have a working play kitchen, but helps out in their actual kitchen, she said.

Mrs. Kelly stresses parental supervision while using her products while also letting go of expectations.

“If parents can have accidents, so can kids. I will always step in 100% if my child is going to be in danger in any kind of way, that is something I’m very strong about,” Mrs. Kelly said. “Messes are temporary, memories are forever.”


Updated: 10-1-2021

Rapper RZA Champions These Vegan Stuffed Peppers For Tailgate Season

The famed Wu Tang Clan star is helping a Black-owned Texas pizza place promote plant-based cooking.

Amidst all the noise around the $7 billion vegan food industry, there’s one segment that doesn’t get much attention: Black-owned restaurants.

Its an issue Robert Diggs takes to heart. In mid-September, the legendary Wu Tang Clan rapper and producer better known as RZA teamed up with vegan cheesemaker Violife to launch Plant Grants, a multiyear program that will award $20,000 each to five Black-owned places across the country.

“My question was, how do we help Black-owned restaurants that were struck so hard during the pandemic,” says RZA, via Zoom. “Whether they were vegan or not, we were not discriminating. You could be a rib shack. You just had to have some plant-based items to your menu.”

RZA, a vocal supporter of the vegan movement for two decades, emphasized the multitiered benefits of the award. “It helps the community economically—a restaurant can keep their doors open,” he says. “It also introduces a healthier way to eat.” There’s also a mentorship program, linking together other successful vegan businesses.

Over 200 businesses applied to the program. Among the grantees, which include Seasoned Vegan in New York’s Harlem and Plant Power Café & Juice Bar in Chattanooga, Tenn., is Meek’s Vegan Pizza in Houston. Founder Demetrius Walker opened the spot in early June after perfecting plant-based pizza as a way to entice his son, Hunter, now 9, to give up meat:

“I decided that if I can make a vegan pizza that’s delicious enough for him to enjoy, maybe he’ll give veganism a shot.”

“We get lots of college students, who are increasingly becoming vegan and don’t have a lot of options in this town,” says Walker of his decision to open in the Third Ward area, an historic Black community close to the University of Houston and Texas Southern University.

One of the bestsellers at Meeks is stuffed peppers, reflecting customer demand for something besides pies. “I looked at what was on hand: We had pizza toppings, Impossible burgers, Beyond sausage, mushrooms. My first employee, Kayla Lubecki, said, ‘You should make stuffed peppers.’”

She was right. They’re a savory snack that people will crave and happily grab, whether or no their diet includes meat. The very simple combination of plant-based burgers and sausage, mixed with the mushrooms, gives the sweet peppers a hearty, juicy heft with a savory melted-“cheese” umbrella on top.

At the restaurant, Walker gives the stuffed peppers an additional, pungent kick with a secret spicy garlic seasoning, which you can approximate at home with store-bought Cajun seasoning and garlic powder.

The stuffed peppers are a great snack for a crowd—tailgate season is back, after all—especially if you don’t know every guest’s dietary status and especially now, with bell peppers at their seasonal peak.

Walker says Meek’s has been much more successful than he anticipated, especially in a meat-focused city like Houston. “It’s not known as bastion of veganism here in the U.S. I didn’t know if I would sell a couple dozen pizzas,” he says. “I’m selling hundreds a week. I’m doing Year 3 projections already, and it’s only the fourth month [in business].”

Still, the $20,000 Plant Grants award is timely. “I’m a big fish in a small pond; it’s tough for me to meet demand. I can upgrade my small pizza oven, get orders out faster.” He’s also looking an expanding to Portland, Ore., which has been called the best pizza city in the country. “There’s room for Meek’s there,” says Walker.

The following recipe is adapted from Meek’s Vegan Pizza.

Testers Note: For the peppers, it’s helpful to use round ones that will form cups when you cut them into wedges. The recipe calls for an air fryer, although a convection toaster oven works, too.

You can even hack the recipe with a conventional oven, though you’ll want to sear the plant-based meat first.

Meek’s Stuffed Bell Peppers

Serves 2 To 4

2 Medium Red, Yellow, And/Or Orange Bell Peppers
10 Oz Plant-Based Burger Meat
1 Spicy Plant-Based Italian Sausage Link, Sliced Or Torn Into 10 Pieces
¼ Lb Baby Portobello Mushrooms, Chopped
¼ Lb Vegan Mozzarella, Shredded
2 Tsp Cajun Seasoning, Mixed With 1 Tsp Garlic Powder And ¼ Tsp Freshly Ground Pepper
2 Tsp Vegetable Oil (See Note)
Vegan Hot Sauce, Optional

Remove the seeds and ribs from the peppers and cut each into five wedges. Mix the burger and sausage meat with the mushrooms. Mound the filling in the pepper wedges. Top with the cheese and sprinkle with the seasoning.

In an air fryer or convection toaster oven, cook the stuffed bell peppers for 10 minutes at 450F, or until the filling is heated through and the peppers are just tender. Let cool a minute, and then serve with hot sauce, if desired.

Note: If you’re using a conventional oven, preheat to 450F, preferably on a convection setting. Heat the vegetable oil in a skillet and cook the burger meat until it’s browned. Then proceed as directed with stuffing. Bake the assembled peppers in a perforated pan, if you have one, with a baking sheet set on the bottom of the oven to catch drips, for about 10 minutes.


Updated: 10-19-2021

Secrets To Cooking Pro Pizza At Home: The Best Gear, Recipes And Tricks

Ultimate Resource For Cooks, Chefs And The Latest Food Trends

Pizza-making at home is the new pandemic craze, but it can seem intimidating. Here’s the ultimate guide to get you going: from party-friendly backyard pizza ovens to insider recipes, topping tips and much more.

The Story: How Mastering Pizza Became An Obsession

It was as good a reason as any to make pizza: “During the pandemic, I needed to have some sort of passion,” said Frédéric della Faille, a product designer in New York City.

He found the intervals between hydrating his dough and adding salt, the kneading and the observations of the dough’s fermentation over a few days in his refrigerator “a great meditative process.”

It added structure to weeks that could otherwise seem formless. The process was, for him, as important as the product. “I didn’t even eat a tenth of the dough I made.”

Plenty got eaten, of course. Mr. della Faille set up a portable pizza oven made by Ooni on the patio of his SoHo apartment. When he has friends over to sit outside, feast on pizza and drink wine among his tomato and basil plants, he said, “It kind of feels like we’re in Italy.” Like Mr. della Faille, Jordan Commissiong, a financial adviser in Bermuda, got an Ooni during the pandemic.

“Basically the entire island tried its hand at sourdough,” he said. “So I got into it, and my breads were OK, but I really started using it for pizza dough.”

Ultimate Resource For Cooks, Chefs And The Latest Food Trends

Homemade pizza is, as they say, having a moment. Aspiring pizzaiolos and pizzaiolas finally have both the tools and the time to make restaurant-grade pies in their own kitchens and backyards.

The cookbook “The Joy of Pizza,” out next month, is an ideal starting point. (See “Pizza Page by Page,” at left.) Written by Dan Richer, owner of Razza Pizza Artigianale in Jersey City, N.J., with food writer Katie Parla, it offers recipes ranging from traditional Margherita pizza to pies with more esoteric ingredients, such as the filberts that anchor the Project Hazelnut pizza.

A rubric for evaluating the quality of a pie covers 11 aspects of the dough’s fermentation and runs to 56 items in total. There are also rubrics for judging olive oil, canned tomatoes and mozzarella.

Obsessive as that sounds, consider “Modernist Pizza,” the latest several-volume-set from former Microsoft CTO Nathan Myhrvold and chef Francisco Migoya: Over the nearly four years it took to research the 1,708-page tome, its authors, their staff and contributors put in more than 200,000 hours making more than 12,000 pizzas, creating 1,016 recipes in the process.

More than a cookbook, “Modernist Pizza” examines the food from historical and scientific perspectives and can even serve as a travel guide. Its authors collectively traveled more than 100,000 miles and visited at least 250 pizzerias, which led Mr. Migoya to a controversial realization: “There is such thing as too much pizza.”

And yet, in a harrowing year and a half for the restaurant industry, the number of independent pizzerias has actually grown, according to PMQ Pizza Magazine’s 2022 Pizza Power Report. But the leap from eating to making can be daunting.

“The world of pizza was—still is—full of myths and mysticism and just general bullshit,” said Mr. Myhrvold. “You know, ‘You can’t make that pizza without having the water of Naples or New York,’ or ‘You have to have that special flour.’ No you don’t.”

Like Mssrs. Migoya and Myhrvold, Deborah Cummings and her husband, Don, of Clarkston, Mich., have logged thousands of miles traveling to taste regional pizza styles. But when the pandemic kept them at home, Ms. Cummings’s pizza-making efforts kicked into high gear.

She bought Breville’s Pizzaiolo oven, and dove deeply into Philadelphia chef Joe Beddia’s book “Pizza Camp” and, more recently, into Anthony Falco’s “Pizza Czar,” published in May.

Along with those books, she, like Mr. della Faille and Mr. Commissiong, found inspiration, community and amusement online.

After browsing Ooni’s message boards she came away thinking that “those guys are a little intense.

She, instead spends much of her time on Facebook, “where the guys are very fixated on the dough hydration,” but good-natured all the same. “No one talks down to me. I post pictures.

I get lots of great compliments.” Despite 30 years of pizza making, cooking more frequently at home over the last six months has made a difference. “I’ve changed quite a bit,” Ms. Cummings said. “I’m not so worried about following that recipe.”

The Tech: Pizza Ovens To Cook Restaurant-Quality Pizza At Home

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Mike Riley First fired up his Gozney Roccbox pizza oven last year at an outdoor gathering for his kids and grandchildren. Odd thing: They were more excited about loading their pies into the wood-fired oven and watching them bake than about eating them.

“People were oohing and ahhing, saying ‘this is so simple but so much fun,’” said the Bristol, Va., financial professional. “It’s well designed and easy to operate…and lets us be in charge of making one of the iconic dishes in America [at home].”

Mr. Riley is part of a growing crowd of home cooks experimenting with specialty pizza ovens. “The pandemic has given a boost to [the home pizza-making] trend that was growing over the past five years,” said Antonio Pace, president of the True Neapolitan Pizza Association in Italy, which certifies pizzerias as authentically Naples-style.

According to pizza oven maker Ooni, online searches for “outdoor pizza oven” clocked in at 253,000 in 2019. In 2020, the number topped 595,000.

To see if the new ovens could yield pies as good as pro-made faves, we fashioned classic margherita versions and started cooking.

The Chef’s Oven: Ooni Karu 16 Multi-Fuel Pizza Oven

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Claim To Fame: This is the first and only home oven endorsed by the nonprofit True Neapolitan Pizza Association in Italy, the international authority. You can variously fuel it with charcoal, wood or gas (a burner is sold separately for $100).

Watch the flames do their work through a clear, hinged door and wait for the temperature on the mounted digital thermometer to reach a chef-recommended 950 degrees.

The oven is expansive enough to hold extra large pies of up to 16 inches, and can also be used to roast meat, sear vegetables and even bake fresh bread.

Test Results: As advertised, this oven took less than 20 minutes to heat up, cooking our pizza in about a minute with a tender, char-blistered thin crust and appealingly molten toppings. “One of the most important elements of true Neapolitan pizza is the cooking, which needs to be very fast and at high temperature,” Mr. Pace said.

Best For: Purists. If you’re obsessed with creating an authentic Neapolitan pie at home, this handsome, multifunctional unit can safely be considered the gold standard. $799 (available for preorder with delivery in 4-6 weeks),

The Grill Add On
: KettlePizza Pizza Oven Kit

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Claim To Fame: Affordable and portable, this kit transforms a standard circular charcoal grill into a proper pizza oven.

Test Results: After we placed the stainless steel attachment on top of our grill grate, it took less than 10 minutes for the built-in thermometer to hit the recommended 600 degrees. Once our pie cooked for four minutes—after two, we rotated it 180-degrees using tongs and a heat-resistant glove to ensure even cooking—it rivaled a fancy pizzeria’s.

(That said, some users report that 500 degrees is the ideal temperature for ideally melty toppings and a crisp crust.)

Best For: Nomads. At just 7 pounds, this super portable attachment lets you achieve a mouthwatering pie wherever you can find a circular grill. From $139,

The Backyard Warrior
: Gozney Roccbox

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Claim To Fame: Developed with the exacting standards of restaurant chefs in mind, this oven heats up to a blistering 950 degrees. Made for the outdoors, it works with propane or wood fuel, has a silicone coating that keeps the exterior cool, and sturdy, foldable legs for compact storage.

Test Results: We used the wood-burning attachment, fueling it for 20 minutes with a few sticks of the brand’s kiln-dried hardwood ($29 per box). Because this oven heats from the back with a rolling flame, it’s necessary to rotate the pizza for even cooking.

This requires a little finesse—which the streamlined Roccbox turning peel ($65) makes easier—yielding a gorgeous, leopard-spotted crust and oozy toppings.

Best For: Those who want options. Don’t feel like sourcing wood? Hook up propane instead. From $499,

The Petite Pie Maker: Breville Pizzaiolo

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Claim To Fame: About the size of a countertop toaster oven, the Pizzaiolo uses three types of heat (convective, conductive, and radiant) to mimic an old-fashioned brick oven. Dial-operated heat settings let you precisely cook your favorites, from New York-style to thin and frozen.

Test Results: This sleek silver unit was a breeze to set up: All we had to do was plug it in. After preheating for 15 minutes on the wood-fired setting, our dough came out crisp and char-spotted in all the right places on the outside and chewy on the inside with perfectly melted toppings.

“In terms of the crust, I can achieve a pretty similar result [as at my restaurant] because I can achieve similar temperatures,” said Luca Varuni, who owns a Neapolitan-style pizzeria in Atlanta and also uses the oven to make steak. (Really.)

Best For: Efficiency-loving city dwellers with a dearth of counter space. $1,000,

The Workout Machine:
Cru Oven Model 30

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Claim To Fame: Made in Portugal, this portable, stainless-steel outdoor oven weighs just 33 pounds but packs a punch with a vertical vent to funnel smoke away and a removable door to trap heat, fueled by your choice of wood or charcoal.

Test Results: The absence of a thermometer left us guessing when it was hot enough, but after 20 minutes of watching the wood-fueled flames fill the oven cavity, we used the included rake to push the embers to the back and placed the pizza on the refractory brick cooking base.

Our 12-inch pizza stuck a bit, but a slightly smaller pie was easier to manage, and yielded a beautifully blistered crust.

Best For: Aspiring experts. Get comfortable using the ember rake without breaking a sweat, and this shiny oven could become a favorite piece of gear. $450,

The Cookbooks
: Ready To Truly Master Pizza? Let These Chefs Guide You

For Gonzo Pizzaiolos: Pizza Czar: Recipes And Know-How From A World-Traveling Pizza Chef

After a stint at the influential Brooklyn restaurant Roberta’s, Anthony Falco struck out on his own to help open pizzerias from São Paulo to Tokyo. He bills himself as an International Pizza Consultant, a title only slightly less grandiose than the one on the cover of his book.

Its tone is loose and conversational. The more outré recipes—like the Buttercrust, a Pizza Hut homage, or the Brazilian Mashed Potato Pizza—set it apart. $35, Abrams Books

For Aspiring Artisans:
The Joy of Pizza: Everything You Need to Know

There are no shortcuts when it comes to developing the kind of discernment Dan Richer brings to his pizzas. Co-authored with Katie Parla and out Nov. 9, his book provides a survey course in evaluating ingredients.

QR codes throughout link to videos demonstrating how to stretch dough and other techniques—a useful addition to already thorough instruction. Recipes come in variations for standard home ovens and high-temperature models. $35, Voracious

For Pizza Geeks: Modernist Pizza

Trying to be all things to all people is usually a recipe for failure. But at 1,708 pages, this three-volume set from Nathan Myhrvold and Francisco Migoya manages to be encyclopedia, guidebook, science textbook and cookbook.

Nerding out with charts on flour particle size and explanations of the Effect of Sauce Reflectivity on Pizza is fascinating fun for both the professional pizza maker and the science-minded eater.

The survey of global pizzerias will make you want to pack your passport and your stretchy pants. $425, The Cooking Lab

The Toppings
: Pizzaiolos Share Their Favorite Combinations

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Giovanni Lanzo

Luigi’s Pizza, Brooklyn

+ Olive Oil

+ Cherry Peppers

+ Scallions

+ Sausage

+ Garlic

“My father used to grow scallions in the yard. Chop them up, sauté them in some garlic and oil with the sausage. And fresh cherry peppers on pizza? The smell and the taste is ridiculous.”


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John Hall

Post Office Pies, Birmingham, Ala.

+ Spinach

+ Fried Egg

+ Mornay Sauce

+ Sausage

+ Bacon

“The creamy mornay with the egg makes it feel like a perfect mack-daddy bacon, egg and cheese sandwich. It’s such a stoner pizza.”

Sarah Minnick

Lovely’s Fifty Fifty, Portland, Ore.

+ Grapes

+ Sausage

+ Aged Mozzarella

+ Reggiano Cheese

+ Lacinato Kale

“It’s like that classic ‘pine and swine’ combination—sweet and salty and savory. Find a variety where the grapes are smaller.”

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Ann Kim

Pizzeria Lola, Minneapolis

+ Scallions

+ Tomato Sauce

+ Kimchi

+ Korean Sausage

+ Serrano Pepper

“Cooking kimchi brings out the sweetness of the cabbage, tones down the funkiness and tempers the heat of Korean chile flake.”


The Recipes: From Foolproof Dough to Inspired Garnishes

Ultimate Resource For Cooks, Chefs And The Latest Food TrendsDan Richer’s ‘Everyday Dough’

This recipe makes enough dough for seven (12-inch) pizzas. It also will work well for pan pizzas, English muffins or even ciabatta bread if there isn’t a pizza party in your future.

The amounts here are given the way bakers tend to prefer: by weight, in grams, so it can easily be scaled up or down. Find videos demonstrating the different steps of this recipe at

Total Time: 3 Days

Serves: Seven 12-Inch Pizzas


* 1000 Grams All-Purpose Flour, Such As King Arthur Unbleached
* Extra Flour For Dusting A Work Surface
* 760 Grams Room-Temperature Water
* 20 Grams Fine Sea Salt
* 3 Grams Instant Yeast (Just Under Half Of A Typical Packet)
* Extra Virgin Olive Oil For Oiling Storage Containers


(1). Mix flour and yeast together in a large bowl. Add water and mix with your fingertips or a spoon until no dry bits remain. Cover bowl with a clean kitchen towel and set aside for at least 20 minutes and up to an hour to let flour hydrate.

(2). Sprinkle salt over dough and incorporate by squeezing dough with your hands. (This is called the scissor pinch method.)

(3). Knead dough using the Rubaud method (see until it comes together and tightens up, 5-7 minutes. To do this, hold bowl steady with your non-dominant hand and scoop your other hand under the far end of dough, lift slightly and drop. Turn bowl slightly every 4-5 scoops.

(4). Transfer dough to a clean bowl lightly oiled with olive oil. Bowl should be large enough for dough to double in volume. Cover bowl with a clean towel or plastic wrap and set aside at room temperature for 30 minutes.

(5).Place a small bowl of cold water next to the bowl with the dough. You’ll want to dip your hands in the water periodically during the next step to keep the dough from sticking to them.

(6). Starting at the 12 o’clock position, pull the quadrant of dough upward gently 6-12 inches (as much as the dough allows without tearing), then fold it on top of itself. Rotate bowl 180 degrees and repeat, then 90 degrees, then 180 degrees. (You’re folding from 12 o’clock, then 6 o’clock, then 3 o’clock, then 9 o’clock.)

The dough will tighten up and get stronger during this series of stretches and folds. Set aside, covered with plastic wrap or a clean kitchen towel, at room temperature for another 30 minutes.

(7). Repeat stretching each 30 minutes for the next 90 minutes. After the final stretch, you should be able to “pull a window,” stretching a small portion of dough to the point of light being able to pass through, without it tearing. The dough should have expanded by about 20%. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.

(8). The next morning (or at least 12 hours later), stretch and fold dough as explained in step 6. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and return it to the refrigerator for another 12 hours.

(9). Gently turn dough out onto a lightly floured work surface. If you are making pizzas, cut dough using a knife or a dough scraper into 7 (250-gram) pieces.

(10). Working with one piece of dough at a time, take 4 corners and pull and fold them one at a time into center of ball and gently press to attach. Do not flatten. Repeat with remaining 4 corners. Dough will tighten up and take on a round shape. Gently flip dough, seam-side down. Repeat process with remaining dough pieces.

(11). Place each ball into individual, very lightly oiled plastic pint deli containers large enough to allow each ball to double in volume. You can also place balls in a lightly floured dough tray or on a baking sheet, dust surface with flour and cover with plastic wrap. Refrigerate overnight (or for at least 12 hours).

—Adapted from The Joy of Pizza by Dan Richer with Katie Parla (Voracious)

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Project Hazelnut Pizza

This recipe is designed to work in a standard kitchen oven—no special equipment required beyond a Baking Steel or pizza stone and a scale. Find videos demonstrating the different steps of shaping the dough at

Total Time: 15 Minutes
Makes: 1 (12-Inch) Pizza



* 250 Gram (Approximately 9-Ounce) Ball Of Pizza Dough (See Recipe Below), At Room Temperature
* 4 Ounces Fresh Mozzarella, Torn Into 1-Inch Pieces
* ¼ Cup Hazelnuts
* ¼ Cup Ricotta
* A Pinch Of Coarse Sea Salt
* Rice Flour For Dusting Peel
* All-Purpose Flour For Dusting Work Surface
* Extra-Virgin Olive Oil
* 1 Teaspoon Honey


(1). With a Baking Steel or pizza stone about 6 inches from the top of the oven, preheat oven to 500 or 550 degrees (the hottest it will go) for at least 1 hour. 15 minutes before you put pizza in, set broiler to high.

(2). 30 minutes before making pizza, cover hazelnuts with hot water.

(3). Sprinkle peel with rice flour. Keep close at hand.

(4). Stretch the dough: Flour top of dough ball. If it is in a dough tray or resting on a half sheet, use a dough scraper to scoop it up, with your non-dominant hand resting gently on top of the floured dough ball. Invert it and gently land it on a generously floured surface. If it is in a container, turn dough out onto a generously floured surface.

(5). Use extremely gentle movements with flat fingertips spread to apply pressure on dough at 10 and 2 o’clock. Lift your hands and reposition on dough, closer to you. Move from top of dough toward you, pressing downward and outward. Leave an inch along the rim that you don’t touch at all.

(6). Flip dough over. Stretch dough to a diameter of 10-11 inches. You can do this by resting one hand lightly on the center of the dough, and with the other, stretching the dough 2-3 inches at intervals like the hours on a clock. (You can see videos of this and other methods at

(7). Gently transfer dough to well-floured peel and stretch until it is 12 inches in diameter.

(8). Distribute mozzarella and ricotta evenly on pizza, up to the 1-inch rim. Drain hazelnuts and add to pizza. Sprinkle with salt and drizzle with olive oil.

(9). Switch your oven from broil back to bake, at its hottest temperature. Give your peel a gentle shake to make sure pizza is not sticking.

(10). Open oven door. Touch leading edge of peel to Baking Steel or pizza stone, about 1 inch from back edge, with peel at a slight incline. Sharply withdraw peel so pizza is released onto the cooking surface, and close oven door. Pizza will need 6-7 minutes to cook. At the halfway mark, open door and check the pizza for dark spots. Spin the pizza 180 degrees to help it bake evenly.

(11). When pizza is done, use peel to remove it to a wire rack and drizzle with honey. Serve immediately.

—Adapted from ‘The Joy of Pizza” by Dan Richer with Katie Parla (Voracious)


Updated: 10-29-2021

A Julia Child Pumpkin Pie Recipe To Delight The TikTok Crowd

A new New York Times cookbook reintroduces the world to a legendary twist on a holiday classic.

Pumpkin pie always sweeps into the holiday season as a leading contender for top dessert.

What’s surprising is that its fan base goes beyond the old-fashioned crowd. On TikTok, pumpkin-based classics dominate the rankings, making up 50% of the site’s 10 most popular food and drink trends. The favorite hashtag, #pumpkinpie, has garnered more than 140 million views.

@cozy.halloweenchristmasdo you like pumpkin pie?? i love it :)) #halloweencountdown2021 #halloween #spooktober #spooky #pumpkinseason #fallaesthetic #fyp♬ original sound –

Favored activities among TikTok users include using molds to cut miniature pumpkin pies out of larger ones, and crafting pumpkin pie pancakes.

Which makes this a good time to reintroduce the world to a nontraditional pumpkin pie recipe from a cooking legend. It’s one of the dishes in The Essential New York Times Cookbook:

The Recipes of Record, 10th Anniversary Edition, by Amanda Hesser (W.W. Norton; $55). The book has more than 1,000 recipes packed into its pages; Hesser, a co-founder of the seminal cooking site Food52, says she has tried every one.

The new edition includes 120 new recipes that highlight the best and most popular ones since the launch of the New York Times cooking app, including Melissa Clark’s simple roast turkey and cheesy Hasselback potatoes from J. Kenji Lopez-Alt.

Over the past decade, says Hesser, the Times has worked hard to include “a much more exciting and inspiring mix of recipes—including everything from Tibetan dumplings to jollof rice to bulgogi.”

In the pies and tarts section, readers will find one particular recipe that stretches back further than many others: It’s one that Julia Child published in 1982 in Parade magazine.

In it, she introduced the public to a pumpkin pie that’s lightened up by folding a quickly made meringue into the custard filling.

“I love how delicate and light this pumpkin pie is, which to me is a much better way to punctuate a traditionally heavy holiday meal,” says Hesser.

That’s why Hesser included the recipe in the book: “It solves the problem that many pumpkin pies suffer from: density.” She adds: “It’s a fairly classic pumpkin pie recipe with a few twists—like folding whipped egg whites into the filling—that make the filling more cloudlike.” (You can watch Hesser’s entertaining pie-making demo, in which she calls the filling “diaphanous.”)

This pumpkin dessert is a welcome alternative to the classic pies you’re overwhelmed with at the holidays. It’s easy to make with a big payoff in flavor, from the heavy hit of spices and the warm, sweet molasses; the spoonfuls of bourbon you can add if you want to further animate the pie (and the company).

As Hesser promises, the whipped egg whites lighten up the filling enough that you should feel free to add a few spoonfuls of whipped cream to finish.

In short, it’s a dessert that you can imagine would delight Julia Child. If only we could see her make it on TikTok.

The following recipe is adapted from The Essential New York Times Cookbook: The Recipes of Record, from the New York Times Co. and Amanda Hesser.

Tester’s note: The texture of pumpkin purée differs according to brand. You might need to add a little more milk to denser purées. Although this pie can be served warm or at room temperature, it’s at its best—in texture and flavor—if you chill it first.

Julia Child’s Aunt Helen’s Fluffy Pumpkin Pie

Serves 10

One 15-Ounce Can Pumpkin Puree
1/2 Cup Plus 1 tbsp. Granulated Sugar
1/2 Cup Light Brown Sugar
Kosher Salt
1 1/2 tbsp Molasses
1 1/2 tbsp Bourbon Or Dark Rum (Optional)
1/2 tbsp Ground Cinnamon
½ tbsp Ground Ginger
1/8 tsp Freshly Grated Nutmeg
1/8 tsp Ground Cloves
2 Large Eggs, Separated
½ Cup Heavy Cream
1/4 Cup Milk, Plus More If Needed
1 Unbaked 9-Inch Pie Crust
Whipped Cream, For Serving (Optional)


Preheat the oven to 450F. Using a mixer or blender—or a wooden spoon and a large bowl—blend the pumpkin, 1/2 cup granulated sugar, the brown sugar, 1/2 teaspoon salt, the molasses, bourbon (if using), cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, cloves, egg yolks, cream, and milk, until smooth. If the mixture is stiff, add a tablespoon or two of milk.

Whip the egg whites until foaming in a large bowl. Whip in a pinch of salt, then gradually whip in the remaining 1 tablespoon sugar until shiny white peaks form. Beat one-quarter of the whites thoroughly into the pumpkin mixture; gently fold in the rest.

Immediately ladle the filling into the pie shell until it is just below the rim of the pan; discard any leftover filling. Bake in the oven for 10 to 15 minutes, just until the rims of the crusts begin to turn gold.

Reduce the heat to 375F and bake for an additional 25 to 30 minutes, until a tester inserted into the filling 2 inches from the rim comes out clean. (The center should still be a bit wet; the pie will continue to cook as it cools.) If the rim of the crust starts to get too brown, cover the edges with foil.

Immediately turn the oven off, prop the door ajar (stick in a wooden spoon to hold it open, if necessary), and let the pies sit for a further 20 to 30 minutes as the oven cools; this will prevent the filling from turning watery. Serve the pies warm—or let cool—cover tightly, and refrigerate for up to two days. Serve with whipped cream if desired.

Updated: 11-4-2021

To Stop Food Waste, Pick A ‘Use-Up Day

A behavioral economist answers questions about eating what’s in your fridge and resolving conflicts by text message.

With young children and two working parents, there is never a dull moment in our house. Unfortunately, our busy life and unpredictable schedules often make me forget what food is in the fridge, leaving me no choice but to throw away things that have expired or gone bad. Do you have any recommendations for how we can curb our food waste? —Helena

The bad news is that a busy lifestyle—and a lack of inspiration for dealing with seemingly random ingredients—can get in the way of our best intentions never to throw out perfectly good food. The good news is that picking just one day a week to create a meal using ingredients already in your kitchen can significantly reduce the amount of waste.

Researchers in Canada used an ingenious idea they called a “Use-Up Day’’ in one study they undertook with a consumer goods company in 2020. Over the course of five weeks, all participating households received tips on food management and were asked to complete a weekly survey about the amount of food wasted.

A randomly selected subgroup of households was asked to commit to one “Use-Up Day” each week on which they used leftover ingredients from their fridge and pantry to cook a meal. The participants who took part in the “Use-Up Day” not only reduced their food waste by a third, they also reported saving money.

So maybe instead of fighting food waste just a little bit every day, pick one day a week and, on that day, focus on using what you have.

Welcome To The Next Generation Of Sugar Replacements

The pandemic turbocharged interest in substitutes that taste like sugar while being healthier. But medical experts are sounding a note of caution.

We’ve entered a new era in our love-hate relationship with sugar. After decades of trying to make substitutes like Sweet’N Low, Splenda and Stevia work for consumers, the sugar-alternative industry is fielding contenders with a better chance at unseating that ubiquitous substance.

The timing seems to be right. According to a recent survey by market research firm Euromonitor, 37% of consumers globally are looking for products with no sugar, no added sugar or low sugar.

Overconsumption of sugar has long been connected to disease—it’s cited as a contributing factor to obesity, which has tripled globally since the 1970s, and cardiovascular disease, which is the leading cause of death globally. Obesity is also a factor in Type 2 diabetes, which afflicts hundreds of millions of people around the world.

In a 2021 nutrition survey on reasons to avoid sugar, more than 57% of respondents said doing so “makes them feel healthier.” An equally high percentage reported “it’s better for me to avoid these ingredients.”

The coronavirus pandemic has helped accelerate this trend, as some 79% of global consumers said they’re planning to eat and drink more healthily over the next year, according to a report by consumer research firm FMCG Gurus. Of those consumers, 56% plan to reduce sugar intake.

In most cases, the new crop of sweeteners are derived from natural substances—including traditional sugar itself, otherwise known as sucrose. In a consumer market increasingly focused on healthier eating, that may come in handy.

The mountain, however, is high. Despite decades of medical admonitions, sugar is still pretty much everywhere. It’s currently found in 60% of packaged foods sold in the U.S., which has one of the highest sugar intakes of any nation.

One reason for this is clear to anyone who has tried traditional sugar substitutes. Few come close to matching the taste of sucrose in consumer taste tests or have the range in formulation for moisture, flavor and texture suitable for use in packaged foods.

Indeed, Rabobank analyst Pablo Sherwell said 85% of all sweeteners consumed are still traditional sugar. All told, it’s a $100 billion market. “The industry isn’t concerned,” he said.

But that may not be entirely the case. One industry trade group is already pushing back on how substitutes are presented to consumers. The Sugar Association, which says it represents 142,000 growers, processers and refiners of sugar, said it has asked the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to change labeling requirements so as to make it clearer when products contain alternative sweeteners.

According to makers of sugar substitutes, Big Sugar has good reason to worry. But among the would-be challengers, taste isn’t the only problem to solve: price is an issue, too.


Most prominent among alternative sweeteners is a rare type of sugar called allulose. First discovered in wheat in the 1940s, it’s one-third less sweet than sugar, but it also has one-tenth the calories.

In 2019, the FDA said allulose could be removed from the “added sugar” line on “nutrition facts” labels because, unlike sucrose, which is quickly broken down by enzymes and turned into glucose, most allulose is excreted in urine, meaning it doesn’t significantly impact blood sugar levels. Another benefit is that it doesn’t promote bacteria growth, which can cause cavities.

Tate & Lyle, a $3 billion food and beverage ingredient supplier, makes a version of allulose that’s “non-GMO Project verified” so as to appeal to food brands marketing themselves to health and environmentally conscious consumers.

The sweetener is already found in a wide range of packaged foods, such as cake mixes and cookies. It’s also used in candies such as Smart Sweets’ popular gummy bears and low-carb bread sold by the SOLA Company.

“Consumers are now actually looking at sugar and added sugar with as much importance as total calories,” said Abigail Storms, global head of specialty sweeteners at Tate & Lyle. Demand has swelled of late, she said, because of a pandemic proclivity for snack foods and ice cream, and due to interest in the “keto” diet—which prescribes an extremely low carbohydrate count.

However, the expense of production may be an obstacle to mass adoption. Though found naturally in some plants, making allulose in bulk requires it be produced mostly from corn in a complex chemical reaction. It’s a hurdle other types of sweeteners must overcome as well.


Made by Tel Aviv, Israel-based DouxMatok, Incredo is a reengineered version of sucrose touted as sweeter than the original. Though it still has the same potential health problems that flow from sucrose, less of it is needed to sweeten foods the same way.

About 80% of what humans consider sweetness in sugar is lost on them. Sugar molecules are tightly bound—most fail to interact with taste buds during chewing. DouxMatok said it’s managed to insert tiny silica granules (a common food additive used in baking) into sucrose, which enables more sugar to spread out and be tasted before swallowing.

Two years ago, DouxMatok sent a sample to Lior Lev Sercarz, owner of La Boîte, a spice shop in Manhattan. Sercarz said he had already been on the hunt for a sugar substitute that didn’t sacrifice flavor, and DouxMatok seemed to fit the bill. “We didn’t have to add anything else to compensate,” he said.

David Tsivion, DouxMatok’s chief technology officer, said the company is hoping to land contracts with U.S. food manufacturers that produce cookies and spreads. But first, the company needs to reach price parity with sugar. Wholesale refined beet sugar averages .37 cents per pound in America. DouxMatok won’t share what the pricing for his product is, but said it’s definitely higher.


Supplant is on the other end of the spectrum—it’s less sweet, according to company founder Tom Simmons.

His goal isn’t to replace table sugar—he wants to replace it in everyday food products.

Cambridge, England-based Supplant grinds leftover fiber from plant waste, such as corn cobs, oat fibers and wheat bran, and then applies an enzymatic process to break it down into a dry white powder. The resulting product has similarities to sucrose but is lower in calories and slower to raise blood sugar levels, Simmons said.

Like sucrose, it includes small chains called disaccharides which allow it to bake and taste like sugar.

And because it’s made from plant waste, it includes prebiotic fiber, which helps slow the body’s absorption of carbohydrates.

“Sugar reduction in drinks was solved 40 years ago with diet soda. But for food products it was an unsolved problem,” he said. “What we want to push back on is extensive use of white refined [sugar] that’s flooding the food system.”

But to do that, you need something that outperforms traditional sugar in bulk, browning and caramelization. Chef Thomas Keller, owner of Per Se in New York City and The French Laundry in Yountville, California, said he’s been testing Supplant for the past year and a half. “These things are very intriguing for chefs,” he said. “We’re constantly looking for ways to make [food] more nutritious.”

When he first tried to entirely swap traditional sugar for Supplant, he said it was a “real struggle.”

His test vehicle was a shortbread cookie he’s been making for 27 years. The version he sells today at Bouchon Bakery in Yountville, uses a 50-50 blend of Supplant and sugar. But Keller still views it as a success: “If everyone was eating half the sugar they eat today…that changes the world.”

Another baker testing Supplant is Angela Diaz, owner of You’re a Cookie, a direct-to-consumer bakery out of Chicago. At first, she was skeptical. “I’m not a big fan of replacement sugars because they leave an aftertaste,” she said.

Supplant however “leaves no aftertaste,” she said, adding that it worked well in melted fats or oils. But when baking her cookies, she also needed to mix it with regular white or brown sugar.

Supplant and Incredo are both racing to win over customers, but neither is close to allulose when it comes to market penetration. During the pandemic, London-based Tate & Lyle ran into production difficulties because of high demand, a situation that could repeat itself if a potential U.S. customer approves its use.

The quality standards team at Amazon-owned Whole Foods is currently evaluating whether to allow the sale of products containing allulose, a Whole Foods Market spokesperson said.

Allulose is “Generally Recognized as Safe” (GRAS) by the FDA, a status based on submissions by the manufacturer and outside experts—not formal government studies. DouxMatok, a combination of traditional sugar and silica, already has GRAS status, and Supplant said it plans to seek it from the government, too. In the European Union, however, allulose still awaits approval as a “novel ingredient,” which requires scientific review.

Comprehensive or independent medical studies of these sugar alternatives is largely lacking. DouxMatok hasn’t done any studies backing the safety of its ingredient and Supplant said it’s done one small clinical trial. Its data, the company said, showed that consumption of its product triggered an 85% lower glycemic response than sugar.

Dr. Michael Greger, a physician and author of nutrition books including “How Not to Diet,” said allulose may be the most promising candidate to replace sugar, but “we just don’t have a lot of good human studies that put it to the test.” As a result, he’s not ready to recommend it for human consumption.

Another medical expert said the entire debate may be a false one, since imitation sugar could end up being just as bad for you.

Dr. Robert Lustig, a pediatric endocrinologist at the University of California at San Francisco, said it’s still unknown whether putting anything sweet on a human tongue sends the same message to the brain. It’s possible, he said, that an insulin response is triggered regardless of it being sucrose or a substitute. The pancreas controls insulin response, and that controls weight gain, he explained.

“All of these companies are running around trying to figure out what to do to mitigate the negative effects,” said Lustig. “The right answer is to de-sweeten our lives.”


Updated: 11-6-2021

An Indigenous Chef Is Putting Her Heritage On The Menu With Landmark Restaurant


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Crystal Wahpepah wants you to ask yourself: what foods are native to the land that you’re on? The Indigenous chef from Oakland, Calif., is on a mission to bring the ingredients and dishes of her community to more people.

Wahpepah always had a love for cooking, having started when she was just a kid making meals with her grandmothers and aunties. She’s from Oklahoma — Kickapoo on her grandfather’s side, and Sac and Fox on her grandmother’s side.

When Wahpepah started catering 12 years ago, she realized there weren’t a lot of Indigenous chefs, or places to get Indigenous food. Over time, she catered lots of events, eventually growing her business to the point where she was preparing food for tech giants like Google, Facebook and Twitter.

But whether she was cooking for her native community or Silicon Valley, she would get questions about the food — about where it originated, or what tribe it was from. She realized she didn’t have all the answers.

“A lot had to do with a lot of historical trauma and displacement, especially of our foods,” she said.

So Wahpepah set off on a quest to get those answers, starting with Oklahoma.

She spoke with native farmers and seed keepers from all over the country, learning more about these native ingredients and their history. She joined Food Sovereignty Alliance and went to food summits where native chefs and farmers gathered.

“We all kind of met together and it was something … I was so missing [and] they were missing,” Wahpepah said.

Her favorite thing to learn about was seeds.

“We have so many different beautiful seeds that are from here … I wanted to know more,” she said. “How they’re carried, how they’re kept and where they’re kept. And you know, how they grow if they’re not from that area.”

After more than a decade of catering, Wahpepah is opening her own restaurant. Called Wahpepah’s Kitchen, it will be the newest Indigenous restaurant in Oakland. She hopes her food introduces people to her culture.

“At the end of the day, that’s what I want: to make people fully aware or people just to realize whose land they’re on,” she said.

“I feel that Native American communities, Native American people are so forgotten … and so that’s my job is to actually make everyone aware how good our foods are. Everybody has their job. My job is to cook beautiful native ingredients on the on the plate.”

On the menu you can find lots of squash, bison blueberry sausage with blue corn topped with huckleberries, venison meatballs with blueberry sauce, homemade chili and more. Her menu honors her childhood — and different tribes.

“My tribe, of course. And we’re sited on Ohlone land, and when it comes to that, we have the acorn,” Wahpepah said. “When we have the smoked salmon, it’s honoring the Pomo tribe, which is up north and my children are Pomo and I have family members that are Pomo. I’m honoring that.”

“I never try to dabble in something I never grew up with. This is something that made me who I am and what I embrace.”

Most of her ingredients are provided by Indigenous farmers from around the country who she has built relationships with over the years. And Wahpepah wants her restaurant to inspire other Indigenous chefs.

“I want them to know that if I can do it, you can do it too,” she said. “The more I waited, the more and more I had this vision of how much my community needs me, how much our community needs to see native foods on the front line in the community, not just from catering.

“And if they see a restaurant, maybe it can go from there. Somebody else will want to open a restaurant.”

Updated: 11-9-2021

Thanksgiving Dinner Staples Are Low In Stock Thanks To Supply-Chain Issues

Turkeys, yams and pies are low in supply, though aluminum foil to cover it all will be easier to find than last year

The supply-chain crunch is about to hit another part of American life: Thanksgiving dinner.

Supplies of food and household items are 4% to 11% lower than normal as of Oct. 31, according to data from market-research firm IRI. That figure isn’t far from the bare shelves of March 2020, when supplies were down 13%.

For grocery shoppers this holiday season, it means that someone with 20 items on their list would be out of luck on two of them.

Although U.S. supermarket operators started purchasing holiday items early, aiming to avoid shortages, many holiday essentials are already in short supply.

Here’s what’s in and out of stock right now, according to IRI data.

Turkeys Are Very Low In Stock

By the end of October turkeys were over 60% out of stock—lower than the same time last year by more than 30 percentage points. A spokesperson for Butterball LLC, one of the largest U.S. turkey processors, said the company has been experiencing similar labor and supply challenges as other organizations and industries.

Cranberry Sauce Is Low In Stock

Cans of cranberry sauce are 20% out of stock and in decline. A representative on behalf of Ocean Spray Cranberries Inc., which manufactures cranberry sauce and other fruit products, said it has been experiencing issues with materials and transportation that may result in reduced availability.

Yams And Sweet Potatoes Are Low In Stock

In recent weeks, supplies of sweet potatoes and yams have remained below last year’s levels. Currently, they are a quarter out of stock.

Boxes Of Stuffing Are Low In Stock, But Higher Than Last Year

Stuffing might be OK! In recent weeks, supplies of boxed stuffing have been increasing, though still remain below average levels. In anticipation of holiday demand, food giant Kraft Heinz Co. increased production of Stove Top Stuffing by 25% compared with last year, according to a spokesperson.

Refrigerated Pies Are Low In Stock

Supplies of refrigerated pie have been declining steadily over the past month. Besides turkey, this product will be among the most out-of-stock of essential Thanksgiving items. Frozen pies will be slightly easier to find.

Aluminum Foil Is Lowish In Stock, But Higher Than Last Year

One item that will be easier to find than last year is foil, so at least you can store your Thanksgiving leftovers—if you find those foods in the first place.

Overall, household items are slightly easier to find than last year whereas food products are slightly harder.

Essential ingredients might not be the only things absent from Thanksgiving dinner this year. Guests traveling will be faced with car rental and gas prices the highest they have been in seven years.

Rental-car fleets have experienced shortages for months, and are expected to continue into the holiday season.

Flight prices, while lower than pre-pandemic levels, are on the rise again, and travel advisers are recommending consumers buy those holiday tickets now. Thanksgiving-week bookings were 35.5% higher in early October than at the same point in 2019, according to analytics firm AirDNA.

As for gifts, stores are encouraging people to shop early and are running holiday sales much sooner than previous years.

How To Avoid The 7 Worst Holiday Table Decor Mistakes

Chic decorating ideas from designers and entertaining experts, who identified the Thanksgiving table gaffes they see most often, and what to do instead.

FOR MANY AMERICANS, Thanksgiving will mark the first time they are setting the table for a holiday dinner party in quite some time. So we won’t judge when a host positions the dessert fork where the butter knife should be.

But some decisions are key to guests’ comfort. A cornucopia that blocks sight lines across the table? A big no. Personal place cards to head off the confusion of seating arrangements? Absolutely.

Here, our panel of design and entertaining pros share the mistakes that can derail a holiday dinner party before the turkey even hits the table, plus recommendations for keeping your meal on track and your décor memorable.

1. Too Much Of A Good Theme

A table needn’t be covered in brown and orange linens, pilgrim figurines and gourds galore to make the evening feel special.

“We are eating the turkey,” said New York interior designer Elizabeth Gill. “We don’t need to see [plates] adorned with turkeys too.”

Instead: “To create a festive feeling, focus more on the season than the actual holiday,” said Vancouver interior designer Gillian Segal. She suggests incorporating underused fall colors like merlot, bringing in orange through citrus fruits instead of pumpkins and tucking a pheasant feather into each napkin ring.

2. Overcrowded Tables

A surplus of decorative objects will crowd both the victuals and the visitors. “Pumpkins, ornamental trees, cornucopias, flowers all take up space,” said Kendall Wilkinson, a San Francisco interior designer. “Don’t overwhelm the table, or your guests will be silently fighting for space.”

Instead: “Set out functional items you will need to accompany your meal first so you can see how much space you have to work with for centerpieces and candles,” said Atlanta interior designer Lauren E. Lowe.

3. Disposable Décor

A Thanksgiving feast deserves better than paper plates, says our design panel. “Going to the trouble of making such an important meal and then dishing it out on a flimsy plate is just sad! For the cook, the food and the guests,” said Joanna Buchanan, a home-décor designer based in Wilton, Conn.

Instead: You don’t need fine china to set a beautiful table, Ms. Buchanan argued. “Start with white china from Crate and Barrel, and then layer with mix-and-match thrifted plates for a super eclectic vibe.” Anne Rainey Rokahr, founder of Trouvaille Home, a shop in Winston-Salem, N.C., agreed: “A special tablecloth, candles and a single floral arrangement is far more special and doesn’t ravage the environment.”

4. Overly Precious Settings

While many of us have been waiting years to dust off Grandma’s wedding china, don’t feel the need to use every teacup and dessert spoon. “I hate tables that look too studied,” said Palm Beach, Fla., interior and textile designer Mally Skok. “All the plates and glasses don’t need to match. It shouldn’t feel like you are eating in a restaurant or a hotel.”

Instead: To knock back the preciousness of your china, Ms. Skok suggests colorful Italian water glasses, which can be affordably sourced from Etsy, and mismatched jugs and vases that homes accumulate over the years. If kids are in attendance, New York City home-goods designer Kim Seybert suggests parking little chocolate Thanksgiving figurines at children’s place settings.

“Make it fun and whimsical,” she said.

5. Sky-High Centerpieces

“Nothing is worse than a tablescape that is too tall for conversation,” said Ms. Segal. The Usual Culprit: Tall Floral Arrangements.

Instead: Many designers suggested setting a low, linear garland or a row of bud vases down the table’s center. “One of the most gracefully simple tablescapes I’ve had the pleasure of dining at was adorned with simple rosemary and persimmons,” said Los Angeles interior designer Maya Williams.

6. Seating Miscalculations

“A common mistake when hosting a meal is either trying to squeeze too many people around a table or spreading them too far apart,” said Caroline Downing Nadel, Founder of London home-décor company Wicklewood.

Instead: If all guests are vaccinated, the relative intimacy of a happy medium is best. Ms. Wilkinson suggests carving out 24 inches for each guest. “The placemats, decorative chargers, napkins and all utensils should fit within that footprint,” she said. Ms. Downing Nadel cautions that if you’re combining tables, be sure they are the same height. Then choose table linens that will cover the seams, and layer a table runner across the entire length to create a cohesive surface.

7. Extraneous Scents

The only aromas coming from your holiday table should make your guests’ mouths water. Pumpkin spice candles or cinnamon-scented pine cones create unappetizing olfactory confusion.

Instead: Save such potent accessories for another area of your home, said New York interior designer Michael Cox. Their fragrance “can be overpowering and distract from your holiday feast.” The best scents, he added “are those that emanate naturally from a great meal cooking in the kitchen or a freshly cut Christmas tree.”

Holiday-Table Horrors

Design Experts On Memorable Missteps

“A Thanksgiving host put a live turkey on the table as part of the décor. Not only did the turkey take up all of the space at the table, it left unwanted ‘gifts’ everywhere.” —Vero Torres, co-founder of Casa Felix, Miami

“All the guests were given pilgrim hats on their chairs to wear for the evening. Absurd.” —Carleton Varney, president of Dorothy Draper & Co., Palm Beach, Fla.

“A friend lamented his decision to display floral bouquets in hollowed-out pumpkins after they started oozing all over the table.” —Keith Meacham, co-founder of Reed Smythe & Co., Nashville, Tenn.

“Décor incorporating glitter or flocked pieces that flake off and stick to your guest’s favorite cashmere sweater leaves no one happy.”


British Food Firms Vow To Stop Soy Imports From Deforested Areas

More than two dozen companies, including British grocer J Sainsbury Plc, Swiss food giant Nestle SA and French yogurt maker Danone SA, are backing a U.K. initiative to stop soy shipments from deforested regions of the world.

A total 27 firms signed the UK Soy Manifesto, a new industry commitment to ensure physical soy shipments to the U.K. aren’t grown from areas where forests were cut down or native vegetation was converted into farmland after January 2020.

The initiative, launched Tuesday with secretarial support from British consultancy Efeca, follows similar efforts in Europe. Initial funding was provided by grocery chain Tesco Plc and the World Wildlife Fund.

The companies, which also include Pilgrim’s Pride Corp.’s U.K. unit, McDonald’s Corp. and KFC Corp., account for 60% of the U.K.’s soy imports, according to a statement on Efeca’s website. Annual soybean consumption in the U.K. is about 3.5 million tons. The signatories also agree to publicly disclose their progress and require their suppliers to adopt such commitments.

Deforestation and land-use change driven by agricultural expansion account for 23% of global greenhouse gas emissions, and commodities such as soy, beef, palm oil and timber are key global drivers, according to the initiative’s website.


Updated: 11-11-2021

‘Julia’ Review: Haute Cuisine, Honored Chef


Julie Cohen and Betsy West cook up a delightful documentary about Julia Child.

Julia Child finally gets the celebration she deserves in “Julia.” That’s no knock on Meryl Streep’s great-hearted and grandly comic portrayal of her in “Julie & Julia” more than a decade ago. This is a documentary, playing in select theaters.

It shows us the woman in full, a fearless, joyous eccentric committed to carrying the oriflamme of French cuisine to the Jell-O-scarfing masses. (A calumny on American cookery of the time, perhaps, but a producer who worked with Julia from the start makes the incendiary claim that no one in greater Boston had an omelet pan when “The French Chef” made its debut to immediate acclaim on WGBH, that city’s educational TV station, in 1963.)

The directors, Julie Cohen and Betsy West (they did the Ruth Bader Ginsburg doc “RBG” three years ago), begin the film with their statuesque star—at 6 foot 3 Julia towered above her cutting boards and stovetops—manhandling, or womanhandling, a particularly plump roasting chicken in the course of seasoning it, trussing it and giving it a deep-tissue butter massage before consigning the bird to the oven. Her devotion to butter was boundless, her sauces were legendarily rich.

So is this account of her journey from a life of privilege in Pasadena, Calif., where she was born in 1912, to Smith College, where young women were prepared for what she called “a leisurely butterfly life,” through her work during World War II as a top-secret researcher in the Office of Strategic Services, and then to postwar France, where she discovered her calling, though not yet the media—TV and cookbooks—that would make her improbably famous.

Art Buchwald, the American humorist who also lived in France after the war, once said he went to Paris because he’d heard the streets were paved with mattresses. Julia Child stayed in Paris because the streets were filled with restaurants serving the cuisine that she instantly loved—a chance encounter with a sole meunière did the trick—and that she began to master at the Cordon Bleu cooking school, where she was one of very few women in a world dominated by men.

“Julia” is about many things, the most stirring one—no hint of a pun intended—being an already confident and accomplished woman coming into the fullness of her powers.

In the early days of “The French Chef” at WGBH, the station struggled with primitive equipment, editing facilities were limited and teleprompters were unavailable, so the obligatory format was live on tape, with the tape continuing to run regardless of gaffes. Julia wasn’t just unfazed by these constraints, she flourished within them.

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A dauntless performer from the start, she didn’t give a damn about dropping an occasional poulet on the plancher or dripping sweat into her saucepot. Or slicing a substantial piece of flesh off one of her fingers 10 minutes before airtime, which explained the huge bandage she wore throughout the broadcast.

(Later, on “Saturday Night Live,” Dan Ackroyd did his deathless impersonation of Julia in extremis, her finger spouting blood like a firehose until she slumped, unconscious, over an uncooked chicken. She cherished the Ackroyd bit, a friend tells us, and showed a tape of it at parties.)

“Julia” is very much about performance—how the dry-as-dust medium of educational TV was electrified and transformed by its first pop-culture hit, a middle-aged cooking teacher who taught by entertaining, and who entertained by being true to her marvelously odd self.

Most of all, though, this terrific documentary is about Julia’s manifold loves—of food; of eating, since the one follows the other; of her husband, Paul Child, the scholarly diplomat she adored to the end of his days; of life. Her phenomenally full life fills the film to the brim.

DJ Khaled Is Backing The World’s Most Ambitious Restaurant Launch


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Another Wing will go into business at 150-plus locations worldwide, with delivery to boats by jet ski.

On Nov. 11, DJ Khaled became the co-founder of one of the largest restaurant launches in history.

The Emmy award-winning producer, record executive, and unlikely Snapchat evangelist has partnered with ghost kitchen operator Reef Technology Inc. to create Another Wing.

The delivery-only model is launching simultaneously with more than 150 kitchens in five countries: the U.S., the U.K., Canada, France, and the United Arab Emirates. In North America, it will operate in cities from Atlanta, Houston, and Los Angeles to Toronto and Vancouver.

“It’s the first restaurant concept to ever launch on three continents at the same time, with over 150 locations and growing,” said Khaled via email. He called it “making history in the world of food.”

“Reef and Khaled are both Miami-born and raised with global reach,” explains Alan Philips, Reef’s chief creative officer, about first proposing they team up. “Khaled is a creator—he has tens of millions of followers, billions of streams. We started talking about how we could bring something he loves to his fans.”

To create the concept, a team at Reef went over a list of Khaled’s favorite foods. Those dishes include jerk chicken, fried snapper, and the Middle Eastern rice dish lamb maqluba. “Wings stood out as something that’s universally loved and can be brought to many areas,” says Philips. The all-important branding includes hot pink bags emblazoned with Rolls Royces and palm trees; in Miami, the mode of delivery will also include jet ski.

Starting at $6.95 for a six-piece order, eight flavors will be offered initially, including Honey! Honey! Hot Honey Sriracha and Un Un Un Believable Buffalo. Khaled calls out his favorites as You Loyal! Lemon Pepper and They Don’t Want You to Win Truffalo, which mixes black truffles and spicy buffalo sauce.

The wings will be available bone-in and boneless and are cooked sous vide before being fried, with plant-based options coming in the next two months, says Philips. Sides include jalapeño cheese fries and onion rings plus chocolate chip cookies for dessert.

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Chicken wings are an attractive proposition for virtual brands. It’s Just Wings, the delivery-only concept of Chili’s, was scoring $3 million in weekly sales soon after launching in June 2020. In April, parent company Brinker’s International Inc. said the brand was scheduled to post $150 million in annual sales by the end of the year.

Reef, which runs over 5,000 tech-enhanced parking lots around North America and Europe, is the country’s largest operator of ghost kitchens. It has partnered with other high-profile entities, including MrBeast and Umami Burger; a new deal with Creating Culinary Communities (C3), the Sam Nazarian-backed food platform, will open and operate 800 virtual restaurants by 2025.

Philips declines to comment on details of the Khaled deal or revenue of the privately held company, although says the advantage for celebrities is obvious.

With kitchens located near dense, urban areas in which countless fans reside, Khaled “didn’t have to make a financial investment to get to 150 locations,” says Philips. “The cost to build one of our kitchens is less than the cost to build a full-on retail unit for a pro food brand. You’re not going to open a restaurant for less than half a million dollars, fast food for less than $1.5 to $2 million dollars.”

The celebrity halo is obvious for Reef as well, for many of the same reasons McDonald’s Corp. announced on Wednesday it’s partnering with Mariah Carey for the “Mariah Menu” in December.

“Reef lets creators share food experiences,” says Philips. “There hasn’t been a platform that allows creators in and outside the world of food to get to a lot of people at some sort of mass scale.”

He envisions a world of instant gratification for people who are headed to a DJ Khaled show or just streaming “I’m the One” to satisfy their hunger—and fan impulses—wherever they may be.

As Khaled laid out via email: “We’re going to do it different. Not only do we deliver by land, but we will be delivering by sea, with jet ski’s offering boatside delivery. We’re doing everything new.”

The Best Thanksgiving Pie Recipes And Other Holiday Desserts For 2021

Whether pumpkin or pecan or something other than pie entirely, a dessert for the Thanksgiving table has to truly deliver. From an ambitious caramel-apple pie élevée to a super-simple Key lime mousse you can whip up last-minute, these are recipes we need this year.

IN SOME WAYS, 2021 isn’t so different from 1621, the year of the fabled first Thanksgiving: We come to the table with a craving for some reassuring sweetness as well as a wish to meet the mere fact of persevering with an act of gratitude. As far as I know, no one has come up with a better way to satisfy both impulses than baking a pie.

We’ve rounded up some of our favorite recipes from the past few years, from a classic but impressive sweet-potato pie to a sweet-and-savory apple gouda one. There are ample options, too, for vegan and gluten-free bakers. And if you really want to keep things as easy as possible—with a 15-minute mince pie, for instance, or an elegantly simple French pumpkin custard—not a problem. We’ve got you covered.

Showstopper Recipes

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Some bakers approach Thanksgiving with the same sense of competition the Dallas Cowboys’ QB brings to the field that day.

For these ambitious types we offer recipes for a caramel-apple pie élevée with a magnificent basket-weave crust a full three inches high; a sweet potato pie dolloped with elegant whipped-cream quenelles; a striking chocolate-rye lattice filled with billows of snowy meringue; and a fragrant cranberry-sage pie topped with a starburst crust.

Though a lemon meringue pie is indisputably an American classic, to many it might not sound like the typical Thanksgiving choice, and in this case they’d be right: The recipe, from Angela Scott of Woodruff’s Cafe and Pie Shop in Monroe, Va., is a real standout, crowned with spectacular, perfectly toasted meringue peaks.

There are pumpkin partisans and apple advocates, the holiday’s die-hard classicists. But the Thanksgiving table has always made space for ingredients from a wide range of culinary traditions as well as flavor combinations that reflect the creativity of individual cooks. At Sister Pie, Lisa Ludwinski’s celebrated bakery in Detroit, the apple sage gouda pie boldly blurs the line between sweet and savory.

Bold is the right word, too, for the pop of color and tart flavor that this muhallabiyeh and hibiscus rose tart from chef Reem Kassis brings to a holiday spread. If you like that tangy flavor profile, you might want to try this Appalachian-style vinegar pie, which West Virginia chef Mike Costello garnishes with a salted maple whipped cream.

You’ll also find the irresistible combination of salty and sweet in mazurek, a nutty salted-caramel tart that puts a Slavic spin on the more-expected pecan pie. And this milk chocolate pudding pie with halvah whipped cream offers an elegant update on the crowd-pleasing chocolate-peanut butter combo, with a crust that’s effectively failproof.

And then there are those looking to keep the feast totally low-key and low-effort. The pledge of allegiance never mentions rolling out pie crust. Why not keep things easy and focus on the filling? Pumpkin flamusse, the custardy French dessert laced with dark rum, takes just 40 minutes and zero culinary skill to prepare.

A light, bright Key lime mousse might be all some of us want after several hours of feasting. If apple pie is your thing but, this year, stress and fuss are not, this apple custard crisp should do the trick.

And for those who still want pie but no pressure, these easiest-ever mini mince pies made with frozen puff pastry demand a mere 15-minute commitment from the cook.

Gorgeous Gluten-Free and Vegan Options

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Any gracious host will endeavor to accommodate different dietary restrictions, and we have plenty of recipes designed to take that into account without compromising on flavor or festivity.

This gluten-free warm hazelnut brown butter torte is enough to make anyone at the table weak in the knees, while plant-based eaters and omnivores alike will love these vegan recipes for a dark and stormy crumble, a cornmeal-molasses pudding, a coconut-parsnip tart and a chocolate-swirled pumpkin Bundt cake with molasses glaze.

Subway’s Tuna Isn’t Actually Tuna, Lawsuit Again Alleges

Amended suit claims tuna sampled from sandwich chain has trace amounts of chicken, pork and cattle DNA

Two Californians claim they’ve found something fishy with Subway’s tuna—it doesn’t actually contain tuna, but other fish species.

A new version of a lawsuit originally filed in January alleges that Subway misled the public about its tuna sandwiches and claims that the tuna sampled has trace amounts of chicken, pork and cattle DNA.

In their second amended proposed class-action complaint filed earlier this week in federal court in Northern California, Karen Dhanowa and Nilima Amin claim that out of 20 samples tested, 19 had no detectable tuna DNA sequences.

All 20, the complaint states, had detectable sequences of chicken DNA, 11 samples had detectable pork DNA and seven had detectable cattle DNA. The samples were tested at the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at the University of California, Los Angeles, the complaint says.

A Subway spokeswoman denied the claims, saying the sandwich shop’s tuna is “high-quality,” “ wild-caught” and “100% tuna.”

“The plaintiffs have filed three meritless complaints, changing their story each time,” the spokeswoman said. She added that the most recent amended complaint was filed only after the prior complaint was dismissed by the judge.

“The fact remains that Subway tuna is real and strictly regulated by the FDA in the U.S., and other government entities around the world,” the Subway spokeswoman said, referring to the Food and Drug Administration.

U.S. District Judge Jon Tigar in the Northern District of California granted Subway’s motion to dismiss the first amended complaint in early October, saying that the plaintiffs were unable to show that they bought the sandwiches due to reading or hearing Subway’s advertising or packaging about tuna.

“Subway cannot properly defend itself against a complaint that does not identify the misstatements it allegedly made,” Judge Tigar wrote in his ruling.

The new lawsuit says one of the plaintiffs, Ms. Amin, bought and ate over 100 tuna sandwiches from Subway between 2013 and 2019. “When reading a menu item identified as being ‘tuna,’ reasonable consumers, including Plaintiff Amin, reasonably believe that the product they are ordering and purchasing will contain only tuna and no other fish species, animal species, or miscellaneous products not otherwise identified in the menu item,” the lawsuit says.

Subway has made an effort to combat the plaintiff’s claims, launching the website, where the opening page says, “Subway tuna is real tuna.”

The original complaint said the sandwiches “lack tuna and are completely bereft of tuna as an ingredient.”

In October of last year, Ireland’s top court said bread at Subway sandwich shops doesn’t meet the legal definition of bread in the country. In response, Subway said that its bread “is, of course, bread.”

Recent lawsuits filed against Kellogg Co. , which makes Pop-Tarts, claim the brand’s strawberry-flavored varieties don’t contain enough actual strawberries relative to other, lesser-known fruit ingredients.

A representative for Kellogg wasn’t immediately available for comment. Kellogg has previously said the company doesn’t comment on pending litigation.


Updated: 11-12-2021

Thanksgiving’s Price Tag Packs On The Pounds

With turkey prices at record highs, the traditional holiday meal will cost you.

American households are about to eat their costliest Thanksgiving dinner ever. That is, if they can find the turkey.

As families tentatively plan to gather again after last season in lockdown, shoppers should expect to pay more for meat and all the trimmings.

Whole frozen turkey prices are up about 20% year on year to an all-time high, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, while retail prices for pie-staples like milk and sugar are at multi-year highs. Even alcohol costs, from beer to cocktails, are climbing as the kickoff to the U.S. holiday season approaches.

“Nothing on that Thanksgiving table is really going to be spared,” said Curt Covington, senior director of institution credit at AgAmerica Lending, which loans money to farmers.

He says families should brace for the meal to be as much as 15% higher than last year, with supermarkets possibly selling out of smaller turkeys and turkey breasts. “You’re already seeing that there’s not going to be the type of bargains that there were in the past.”

America’s Thanksgiving holiday, always the fourth Thursday in November, lands at a time when runaway inflation, mangled supply chains and heightened demand are converging. Food inflation, an issue the world over, has been worsening in the U.S. as a shortage of workers at meatpacking plants and transportation companies leaves grocery shelves looking sparse.

At the same time, costs for farmers including fertilizer, animal feed and fuel are soaring. Taken together, food prices continue to climb, helping to fuel in October the fastest annual growth in U.S. consumer prices since 1990.

Meanwhile, more people will be traveling this year after widespread vaccination efforts in the spring across America, increasing demand for the traditional foods from poultry to potatoes that normally grace Thanksgiving tables.

Throw in gasoline prices, around the highest since 2014, and households are going to feel Thanksgiving’s pinch. Some families, looking to stay within budget, are buying smaller birds, planning fewer side dishes, and doing the unthinkable for this time of year: trying to avoid leftovers.

“Without a doubt, due to the highest inflation in 30 years, the tab for this Thanksgiving dinner will be the highest consumers have seen,” said Daniel Roccato, a financial analyst at Credible, an online marketplace for loans. “It’s going to cost you more to host Thanksgiving and cost your family more to drive there this year.”

A family of four can expect to spend at least $26.57 to put the classic Thanksgiving dinner on the table, up about 10% from 2020, not counting the extra $18 a week drivers are spending at the pump, he calculates.

That estimate was crunched using last year’s American Farm Bureau Federation survey as a starting point, which includes a turkey, stuffing, sweet potatoes, rolls with butter, peas, cranberries, a veggie tray, pumpkin pie with whipped cream and after-dinner coffee for four at average U.S. prices. Additional sides, appetizers, multiple pies or alcohol — mainstays at many gatherings — are not included.

“Of course, if you’re hosting Thanksgiving in Manhattan, you’re probably going to spend double,” Roccato said. Then there’s the wine and beer. “That would be another $25 per person. And if you’re with your in-laws, it’s probably even more than that.”

With prices rising ahead of the iconic American holiday, some are politicizing the issue. “This will be the most expensive Thanksgiving in the history of the holiday,” Representative Elise Stefanik, a Republican from New York, wrote in a tweet Wednesday. “The American people don’t deserve Biden’s #ThanksgivingTax!”

One key factor behind the higher prices is the Thanksgiving centerpiece: the turkey. According to USDA data, wholesale frozen turkeys weighing 16 pounds or less cost on average $1.41 a pound currently, up 23% year on year. Bigger birds are up about 20% from last year to $1.39 a pound on average.

To be sure, some grocers will actually sell turkeys for less than they paid to attract customers. “That’s something they’re intentionally taking a loss on,” said Grace Grossen, an agricultural economist at the USDA. “They’ll make them really cheap to get people in the door to buy their canned goods and other items.”

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The rising prices are partially because there’s less turkey in cold storage than normal for this time of year, with turkey breast meat in especially low quantities. A lack of labor has made it harder to de-bone, pack and ship poultry at the same time some families are opting for smaller birds or cuts.

Nearly two-thirds of American adults said they would spend Thanksgiving with just their immediate family, according to a Morning Consult survey conducted in October, meaning they don’t need the 20-pounders common for this time of year.

Smaller birds, those in the 10- to 12-pound range, will be in hottest demand, said Bloomberg Intelligence analyst Jennifer Bartashus.

One of those shoppers opting not to buy a whole turkey is Ellen Sheehy, who’s celebrating with just two other people. The 66-year-old will gather with only her sister-in-law and nephew this year because of Covid-19 precautions.

She swapped a full bird for turkey breast in 2020 for the first time, and she’ll do it again this year, she said while shopping for groceries at Target in Manhattan’s Upper East Side neighborhood.

Worried about shortages, many Americans are shopping earlier than normal, stockpiling canned cranberry sauce and stashing birds in the freezer for weeks on end. According to data provider IRI, sales of Thanksgiving items in the three-week period ending Oct. 31 were up 63%, compared to a historical gain of 45% in prior years.

The pickup was mostly driven by turkeys, pie filling, stuffing and stock. Middle- and high-income shoppers are more likely to buy early, with low-income shoppers usually waiting until closer to Thanksgiving to purchase ingredients.

Thanksgiving used to be one of the less-expensive holidays for the average American family that’s on a budget, said AgAmerica’s Covington. “That’s no longer the case,” he said, noting that the problems along the food supply lines are unlikely to abate soon.

“This is going to drag through until Christmas, and possibly until the spring holidays like Easter. The supply chain is not going to get fixed anytime soon.”

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In Fredericksburg, Texas, regenerative farm Roam Ranch is facing rising feed, grain and labor costs for its pasture-raised turkeys. The farm is also having trouble securing enough frozen and refrigerated trucks for shipping as skyrocketing fuel prices and a driver shortage plague the industry.

“Turkey prices for the upcoming Thanksgiving will be significantly higher than previous years,” said Roam’s co-founder Taylor Collins, noting that the ranch is seeing “disturbances in supply chains.”

Not everyone can stomach the higher prices. At the West Alabama Food Bank near Tuscaloosa, families won’t be getting turkeys this year because of the rising cost of food, said Jean Rykaczewski, executive director. The food bank serves about 63,000 people across nine counties in Alabama, funded by donations, some government funding and grants.

“I’m not bringing in turkeys this year. If people want turkeys, they’re going to get whole chickens,” she said. That’s “because one, we can’t afford it. And two, we don’t have anywhere to store it because we’ve filled up everything we have anticipating not being able to get it.”

Yotam Ottolenghi Has Reinvented Mac And Cheese


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In his new cookbook, the culinary leader highlights what the classic “has been missing all along.”

Pasta is a food that makes most people look backward. The best-loved versions are ones made in the past, by someone’s grandmother or great aunt. No one likes to see the words “new” and “improved” in front of “mac and cheese.”

It’s a brave chef that decides to upgrade a classic pasta.

That’s where Yotam Ottolenghi comes in. The revered restaurateur and food writer has a singular way of picking up a treasured dish and seeing an opportunity to insert an unlikely flavor or two without disturbing the food’s integrity.

In his most recent cookbook, Ottolenghi Flavor, the Israeli-born cook and his test-kitchen assistant Ixta Belfrage redefined cacio e pepe by adding a hefty sprinkling of za’atar. The tangy mix of dried herbs and spices, invariably including thyme, oregano, sumac and sesame seeds (recipes vary around the Middle East) is one of the chef’s signature flavorings. The cheesy, buttery pasta instantly became livelier.

“It was a scary point, because it’s a recipe that already works,” said Ottolenghi at the time. “How do you change a perfect dish?”

The question arises again in his new book, Ottolenghi Test Kitchen: Shelf Love. Recipes to Unlock the Secrets of Your Pantry, Fridge and Freezer by Noor Murad and Ottolenghi (Clarkson Potter; $32). In it, the pair take on another classic (many would say perfect) pasta: mac and cheese.

The book, which highlights the behind-the-scenes work at the Ottolenghi Test Kitchen, came into focus during the pandemic.

“The first lockdown of 2020 is what sparked the narrative for Shelf Love, where we were all raiding our kitchens to create dishes using humble ingredients but with the wow-factor that we provide,” said Ottolenghi in an email.

The volume comes in soft cover, stocked like a trusty handbook with how-to pictures. It’s divided into the areas of the kitchen we’ve come to know far too well: pantry, refrigerator, and freezer. There are captivating recipes for confit tandoori chickpeas and sweet potato shakshuka with sriracha butter.

But for those of us who are drawn like a magnet to an Ottolenghi pasta recipe, the first order of business is his M.E. (Middle Eastern) mac and cheese with za’atar pesto.

The genius of the recipe starts in Step 1, when the pasta cooks in milk—which becomes the sauce. That trick obviates the need to drain the fusilli and add flour, which can render the dish bland.

The pasta’s starch thickens the milk, and the addition of feta and cheddar enrich it even further. But what really enhances the dish is a cilantro lemon pesto spiked with—you guessed it—za’atar. The spice mix does a heroic job of balancing the richness of the pasta.

Murad, who is half-English and half-Middle Eastern, says there’s always room for classic mac and cheese. But the Middle Eastern flair delivered by the za’atar, feta, cumin, and fried onions that garnish the dish are, for her, “what mac and cheese was missing all along.”

The following recipe is adapted from Ottolenghi Test Kitchen: Shelf Love by Noor Murad and Yotam Ottolenghi.

Testers Note From Ottolenghi: You can make the fried onion or shallot garnish by slicing the alliums, tossing them with cornstarch, and frying them in oil, or you can simply use store-bought fried onions. In addition, the best, most fragrant ground cumin is made by toasting seeds and then grinding them with a mortar, but you can substitute ground cumin.

M.E. Mac and Cheese with Za’atar Pesto

Serves 4–6

Mac and Cheese

10 1/2 oz (300 gm) dried cavatappi or fusilli pasta, or a comparably sized pasta shape
2 ½ cups whole milk, more if needed
5 tbsp unsalted butter, cut into roughly 1 1/4-inch cubes
3 garlic cloves, minced
⅛ tsp ground turmeric
1½ tsp ground cumin (see tester’s note, above)
5 tbsp heavy cream
1 1/3 cups coarsely grated mature cheddar
6 oz Greek feta, roughly crumbled
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1/2 cup crispy onions or shallots (see tester’s note, above)

Za’atar Pesto

1 large lemon
3 tbsp za’atar
1 cup chopped cilantro
1 garlic clove, chopped
1/3 cup pine nuts, lightly toasted
6 tbsp olive oil

In a large saucepan, combine the pasta, milk, butter, garlic, and turmeric. Add 1½ cups water, 1 teaspoon of salt, and a good grind of pepper. Bring to a simmer over medium-high heat, then turn the heat down to medium and cook, stirring occasionally, for 10–12 minutes, or until the pasta is just al dente and the sauce has thickened from the pasta starches.

(It will still be quite saucy.) If necessary, add a little more milk, depending on how thick you like your mac and cheese. Turn the heat down to low and stir in the cumin, cream, and both cheeses until the cheeses are nicely melted.

Meanwhile, make the pesto. Finely grate the lemon to get 1½ teaspoons of zest. Then use a small, sharp knife to peel the lemon and cut out the segments. Roughly chop the segments and set in a small bowl with the zest.

In a mini processor, combine the za’atar, cilantro, garlic, pine nuts, ⅛ teaspoon of salt, a good grind of pepper, and half the oil. Pulse a few times until you have a coarse paste. Add to the chopped lemon in the bowl and stir in the remaining oil.

Transfer the mac and cheese to a large serving platter with a lip or a shallow bowl, dot all over with the pesto, top with the crispy onions, and serve.


Updated: 11-13-2021

Mondelez Sees Online Snack-Shopping Boom Lasting Beyond Pandemic

Mondelez International Inc., which rode the pandemic snacking boom to boost online sales of cookies and candy, says the retail trend will continue to grow even after mobility restrictions are lifted as people have become accustomed to using their digital devices to shop for food.

Consumers who were stuck at home became more savvy at using e-commerce channels to satisfy their snack cravings, which were a source of comfort as well as a “lifeline during the pandemic,” said Maurizio Brusadelli, executive vice president and president of Asia Pacific, Middle East and Africa.

E-commerce sales for Mondelez — which produces Oreo cookies, Ritz crackers and Cadbury chocolate — jumped by about 30% so far this year in Asia, the Middle East and Africa, and even more in some places, he said in an interview. In China, e-commerce comprised 20% of total sales, helped by partnerships including with TikTok and Alibaba Group Holding Ltd., which gave consumers wider online access to its products.

Growth in digital sales is expected to continue at these levels even as the pandemic wanes, as customers have shifted toward at-home consumption, he said. In China, consumers are using e-commerce platforms to shop for biscuits and gum, Indian consumers sought out chocolate and Australians opted for healthier, low-sugar snacks, both online and in stores.

“People were forced to buy online during the pandemic, and then they continued to buy online,” Brusadelli said.

Pandan Chocolate

Chocolate sales in Asia, especially India and China, will see strong growth in the coming years as consumers become more affluent and average consumption remains “very low” compared to Europe and North America, Brusadelli said. Demand per capita is around 9 kilograms a year in Europe (20 lbs), compared with just 200 grams in India.

“Asia continues to offer significant potential and opportunity for growth. I see a lot of opportunities for chocolate,” he said. Mondelez has the biggest chocolate market share in India, Malaysia and Australia, company data show.

The snack food giant has an 11% share of the global confectionery market, including chocolate, gum and candy, trailing Mars Inc.’s 13.1%, according to Bloomberg Intelligence analyst Jennifer Bartashus.

Its greatest competitive strength is a leading 12% share of the $103 billion global market in sweet biscuits, snack bars and fruit snacks, she said in a report published in March.

Besides tailor-made snacks for Asian tastebuds, such as wasabi-flavored Oreos in China and pandan coconut chocolate in Malaysia, Mondelez is looking to roll out healthier snacking options to meet rising consumer demand, Brusadelli said. The company has already introduced snacks that are portion-controlled, low in calories, sugar-free or vegan.


Updated: 11-15-2021

Is That Kosher? Rabbis Debate Plant-Based ‘Pork’

Fake cheeseburgers are one thing, but ‘Impossible Pork’ was just too much to stomach for one authority.

It might look like pork, smell like pork, even taste like pork—just don’t call it pork.

The arrival of fake, plant-based meat expanded the culinary horizon for many observant Jews in recent years. Faux cheeseburgers were suddenly on the menu at kosher restaurants without breaking the ban on mixing dairy with meat. Chili cheese fries became an option.

Could Impossible Foods Inc.’S Fake Pork Also Get A Kosher Seal Of Approval?

Just the word “pork” was too much to stomach, said Rabbi Menachem Genack, chief executive of the world’s largest kosher certification group, OU Kosher. Its board voted early this year against the company’s kosher-certification request for Impossible Pork.

The prominence of OU Kosher, a division of the Orthodox Union, one of leading organizations of religious American Jewry, makes its rejection one that other kosher certifiers may find hard to ignore. The OU said it might itself revisit the decision in the future.

While many animals are considered not kosher—including many mammals, nearly all bugs, all reptiles, shellfish, and the list goes on—Jews have a particularly fraught relationship with pigs.

The Torah prohibits Jews from eating pigs because they don’t chew their cud, which affects how the animal digests and eats. Some Jewish scholars have surmised the ban is due to the habits of the animal, which will eat practically anything. Other ancient cultures in the Near East, including Islam, refrained from pork for the same reason, historians say.

At various points in history, persecutors ranging from the ancient Greeks and medieval Christians all the way up to the Nazis used pork as a test of sorts for Jews—would they break their law or face death? That’s a difficult association to break, Rabbi Genack said: “People react very strongly to the word ‘pork.’”

Chanie Apfelbaum, a New York kosher food blogger and cookbook author, said she had no problem eating Impossible cheeseburgers, but “I have a hard time getting past the idea of eating something that’s called ‘pork’ and is meant to taste like pork.”

The pork ban has long been a defining pillar for Jewish communities around the world, cementing social ties and fueling Kosher-based economies.

That means the growing popularity of faux meats presents a challenge, said David Zvi Kalman, a scholar in residence and director of new media at the Shalom Hartman Institute of North America in New York, which focuses on Jewish research and education.

“This is possibly the most important decision for Judaism in the 21st century,” Mr. Kalman said of the OU’s decision regarding Impossible Pork.

Competitor Beyond Meat Inc. said it has yet to seek kosher certification for its Beyond Pork, which it said was created for the Chinese market and is available only in China so far.

“We’ll have to see how that’s going to play out,” said Chaim Fogleman, communications director at OK Kosher, another U.S.-based kosher certification group, which approved Beyond Meat’s other products. OK Kosher hasn’t been asked to certify Impossible Pork, it said.

Michael Eisenberg, co-founder of the Tel Aviv-based venture-capital firm Aleph, said the faux pork question is an example of the challenge regulators face in using longstanding laws to keep up with technological advances.

Dennis Woodside, president of Impossible Foods, said the company would continue its dialogue with the groups that certify foods as kosher. Though its target market for Impossible Pork is people who already eat pork, he said, the company wants to be “everywhere, in every market globally.”

Rabbi Genack of OU Kosher says he suspects that doubters might one day come around and allow faux pork to be certified as kosher.

“It’s not a halachically based decision….We can review it again,” he said, using the Hebrew term to describe Jewish law. The decision was based on the emotional reaction some kosher eaters have had to kosher-certified pork-related products in the past that also had no actual pork in them.

Islam, too, prohibits pork consumption. Impossible Foods said it also tried to get Impossible Pork certified as halal, or permissible, by the Islamic Food and Nutrition Council of America, but it was rejected there, too. That organization and OU Kosher have both approved the company’s Impossible Burger and Impossible Sausage.

Timothy M. Hyatt, vice president of Islamic Services of America, a competing U.S. halal certifier, said his corporation made clear to Beyond Meat that nothing identified as pork would be approved as halal, even though that company hasn’t made a formal request.

“We know conceptually that the word ‘pork’ is not halal. ISA always recommends alternative description names such as ‘barbecue flavored’ when the original descriptions might imply something non-halal,” Mr. Hyatt said. ISA does certify Beyond Meat’s faux burgers, sausages and meatballs as halal.

The fake meats haven’t hit the same sensitivity buttons for Hindus, many of whom practice a religiously encouraged, but not obligatory, vegetarian lifestyle. Mat McDermott, senior director of communications at the Hindu American Foundation, said no one at his organization had come across any Hindu who wouldn’t eat these entirely plant-based products.

Rabbi Genack said rabbis are still grappling with how to apply the laws of kosher to lab-grown meat, with beef likely being accepted but pork rejected.

Mr. Hyatt of Islamic Services of America said his organization and other Halal certifiers are likely to reject halal certification for lab-grown meat of any kind. The reason, he said, is that most Islamic scholars view the process as “altering God’s creation at the DNA level.”

Israeli state Kosher authorities haven’t weighed in on the products of Impossible Foods or Beyond Pork, though the OU Kosher and OK Kosher certification would be recognized by the Israeli kosher authorities.

State-backed kosher regulators in Israel recently forced restaurants in Jerusalem to change the word “bacon” on menus to “facon,” for products made of meat but not pork.

Tzvi Maller, owner of Crave, a kosher-certified restaurant, said he had to change references of “lamb bacon” to facon. He said he told the rabbis that many products today made from beef, turkey, lamb and even mushrooms are called bacon, as long as they are thin strips that have undergone the curing and smoking process.

Mr. Maller said he was keen to point out that Merriam-Webster’s online dictionary supports this wider use of the term, but he was never allowed to present his case.

Jerusalem’s kosher authorities said at the time that they were responding to complaints from peeved customers that something called bacon was being served in restaurants certified as kosher.

Mr. Maller compared the issue to how the cheddar on his steakburgers is actually vegan cheese, and marked as such. “When it says lamb bacon, what would you assume it’s made out of?” he said.

The inspectors weren’t interested, Mr. Maller said.

“Everybody can say ‘no.’ But to be lenient on an opinion takes real wisdom,” he said, alluding to an expression from a Jewish religious text. “They took the easy way.”


Updated: 11-20-2021

Thanksgiving In New Orleans Follows Traditions All Its Own

The past year and half may not have actually been easy in the Big Easy, but the sense of community it reinforced—and the food that feeds it—gets to the heart of what the holiday is all about.

New Orleans locals refuse to let anything so much as supply chain snarls or a natural disaster ruin their good time. That’s because the city has always done its own thing on Thanksgiving. If residents follow rules, they are ones practiced by families for generations.

If ovens don’t work as a result of lingering damage from Hurricane Ida, mac and cheese gets cooked at a neighbors. If turkeys are hard to find, they roast a duck, or a chicken (although they probably want it all, in the shape of a turducken.) Dishes reflect family heritage more than national Turkey Day traditions.

“My Thanksgiving isn’t going to change,” says Titus Perkins, executive kitchen manager for Ralph Brennan’s Restaurant Group. His holiday tradition is to cook dinner for the 80-odd people in his vast restaurant family. “Things like a hurricane, they bring families closer together.”

Touré Folkes, founder of local nonprofit Turning Tables, admits that when he first moved to the city, “Thanksgiving is a holiday that I didn’t get.” Then, he discovered, “New Orleans is about community; it’s common to go to different people’s houses. It’s different than New York, where you go to one person’s house.”

Folkes starts Thanksgiving with one of the city’s time-honored customs, a trip to the Fair Grounds Race Course for opening day. There, dressed-up locals gather, nominally to watch the horses fly around the track.

They’re really there to socialize, cocktails in hand, before they go dancing around town to various house parties. “It’s a day you get a real sense of the New Orleans community at its finest. People get dressed up and eat together, they drink together. It’s an all-around vibe,” says Folkes.

“In New Orleans, we are rule breakers, and that’s not going to change,” adds chef Melissa Araujo, who runs the inviting Honduran restaurant, Alma. “We beat our own drum”—and deliciously so.

Read on for how Araujo and Folkes and other New Orleans locals in the restaurant world turn even the most sanctified of American holidays into a celebration with food and traditions all their own.

Dishes: Crusted Salmon And Oyster Dressing

“Growing up in New York, Thanksgiving was a family meal around the table—after we watched some football. Down here, people go to the racetrack, then there are a lot of pot luck meals where you bring a dish,” says Veney, who moved to New Orleans 25 years ago after graduating from Johnson & Wales in Providence, R.I. He now runs the kitchen at Muriel’s, a time-honored dining room that specializes in Creole cooking in the epicenter of the French Quarter.

“The tradition of family gathering is big, maybe even more so than up North,” he continues. But people have their own dishes, he says. “They aren’t tied down to classics. I’ve been to gumbo Thanksgivings.”

“One of the staples of my Thanksgiving dinner now is oyster dressing,” he says. “It’s a Louisiana thing. I did not grow up with it, but my daughters make a yearly request for it.”

Another dish, which he also serves at Muriel’s, started as a play on a green bean casserole: “It’s an onion-crusted salmon with roasted onion puree and panko bread crumbs (to up the onion flavor), on a wild mushroom cream sauce with sautéed baby green beans. I’m surprised at how well it sells.”

Dishes: Deconstructed Mac And Cheese, Martinis, Thai Curry Roast Pork, And Peach Cobbler

On the way to starting her business in late 2018—a pop-up pairing martinis with paninis, and now a line of salad dressings, pestos, and spice blends—Reese worked at the local Hancock Whitney Bank, joined the Army, and was a respiratory therapist. Thanksgiving feast maker came about after her mom “passed the baton.”

“Now me and my sisters cook while she directs us,” Reese laughs. “It’s a little old-school, a little new school. We always make peach cobbler—my mom’s trick is to pour boiling water to make it crispy—although it looks like you’re messing it up.”

“We do her take on things, and then I do mine,” Reese continues, “so there are two mac and cheeses, two roasts, and so on.”

In the new school category, along with a Thai curry pork, is a dish Reese concocted when her niece decided to become vegan.

Another New Tradition: The day after, when my sisters and I gather to finish cleaning, I make paninis with basil walnut pesto and mozzarella. It’s part of our twist on Thanksgiving.”

Dishes: Mojo-Fried Turkey, Coconut Braised Collards, And Jerk Sweet Potatoes

Born in St. Lucia, Nina Compton didn’t grow up celebrating Thanksgiving; Christmas was her big holiday. But she’s been experimenting with foods that are staples of many a Big Easy table, including fried turkey and sweet potatoes.

She puts her own spin on them, like adding jerk seasoning to the carbs and marinating the centerpiece turkey in a homemade Caribbean citrus mojo.

“The tangy cumin notes add something special to the fried bird, and it feels familiar to me,” she says, a little spicy with nice, crispy skin.

“I like to play with Thanksgiving dishes, make them fun, a little different,” continues Compton, who rose to fame on Top Chef and whose Warehouse District restaurant, Compère Lapin, has been a force in the local dining scene since it opened in 2015.

Even seminal New Orleans restaurant Dooky Chase has fallen under the spell of her collard greens, which are slowly cooked down in coconut milk with paprika and cayenne.

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As she tells it, having become close with “Ms. Leah” before she passed, Compton recently did a partnership with the restaurant.

“When I gave her grandson Edgar, who is now the chef, the recipe for the collard greens, he said, ‘I might steal this recipe,’” she recalls.

“I couldn’t believe it. These dishes, it’s bringing some of that Christmas celebration that we had in St. Lucia, bringing that sensibility here.”

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Dish: Stuffed Mirlitons

“Hands down, my favorite Thanksgiving dish is stuffed mirlitons. The taste of seafood with the sweet stuffing is just delicious,” declares Snead, who cooks elevated classics at the Hotel Fontenot’s Peacock Room.

The bright green, pear-shaped vegetable, also known as chayote, is renowned in New Orleans as the vehicle for a carby mix of celery, onions, breadcrumbs, Gulf shrimp, and lump crabmeat.

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Snead grew up watching her grandmother, Valerie Shelley, cooking the mirlitons as part of a spread that invariably includes seafood gumbo, macaroni and cheese, turkey, and ham. The gathering was usually at least 30 people: “It’s the only time my whole family is together at once.”

Now, Snead helps cook the meal—and the mirlitons—staying true to the family recipe. “Nobody dares change the stuffed mirliton recipe.”

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As beloved as the vegetables are in New Orleans, they can be difficult to find outside the city, as Snead discovered when her family had to leave after Hurricane Katrina.

“We went to Orlando. We tried to find them when we were there, but when we asked for them, people there looked at us like we were crazy. My dad came back to New Orleans to get them for our Thanksgiving.”

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Dishes: Pierna Asada (Cuban Roast Pork), New Orleans-Style Dirty Rice, Postelitos De Carne (Cuban Beef Pastries), And Key Lime Meringue Pie

“Thanksgiving to me isn’t turkey, gravy, and mashed potatoes,” says Araujo, who moved, at the age of two months, from La Ceiba, Honduras, to New Orleans, where her family goes back five generations. She has been cooking in professional kitchens since high school. “It’s a time to celebrate my culture, my family, and everything we are grateful for.”

This means that pierna asada, a whole-roasted pork leg that’s crisped in the oven, sits alongside her Italian mother’s spaghetti Bolognese, and a platter of New Orleans dirty rice with key lime meringue pie for dessert.

As she grew up, says Araujo, they might also have had moros y cristianos, a Cuban-style dish of black beans and rice cooked with coconut milk.

“We have turkey, but my Dad never liked it, so he made pork and it has stayed,” she says. “It’s always more popular.”

Although her menu might change a little from year to year—“If there’s a new in-law, we combine their respective customs to make room for more”—she always finishes her table with one thing: German-style potato salad.

“Hondurans are passionate about it, and it has to be classic,” says the chef. “If you try to change it, they will kill you.”

Dish: BBQ Shrimp Dressing

“When you are in the restaurant business, the people around you become your family,” says Perkins, who for 26 years has worked at the venerable New Orleans spot Brennan’s, where he started as a dishwasher.

Thanksgiving is a busy day at the restaurant, so about 5 years ago, in recognition of his hard-working kitchen team, the now-executive kitchen manager decided to close to the public and cook a meal for the staff a few days ahead of the holiday.

“I started this tradition to let my staff know they’re appreciated by me.” This year, there’ll be about 80 guests, he says. “Every year it grows. The managers take care of the staff; they’re the servers, they’re clearing the plates.

This year, we’ll have about 10 turkeys, stuffing, potatoes, and my barbecued shrimp dressing.

“It’s a two-step process,” Perkins says of his signature side. “You make a sauce with the shells, and then you barbecue the shrimp. It’s old-school New Orleans style, with Abita beer, butter, rosemary, garlic, Creole seasoning.”

“It’s a pain to make, but really good,” he laughs, which is funny since he says the dressing came about from his trying not to cook.

“One Thanksgiving, I had to make the dressing, but I was also supposed to make barbecued shrimp as a side dish, so I combined them, trying to save time. Now it’s my family thing—for family at home as well as the restaurant.”

Dishes: French Martinis, Mac And Cheese

“One of my rules as a New Orleans citizen: I don’t work Mardi Gras and I don’t work Thanksgiving. Those are the days to see the people you love in one place. On Thanksgiving, it’s the racetrack,” says Folkes.

The rest of the year, the New York native is busy running Turning Tables, the nonprofit he founded in 2019, which offers career development classes to create more equity behind the bar.

For the past few years, Folkes’s mother, Glory Lemons, has joined in his Thanksgiving routine. The drink of the day is her favorite cocktail: the brightly colored French martini, which mixes vodka, pineapple juice, and Chambord.

“I don’t know how my mom came to French martinis, but she loves them on the holidays, so I make them for her,” says Folkes.

After visiting the racetrack, they travel to friends’ pot lucks, armed with platters of his mom’s four-cheese mac. “I’ve ‘evolutionized’ it, so there might be three different pans of mac and cheese, one with four cheeses, one with meat, [and] I might make mac and cheese nachos,” says Folkes. “In New Orleans, people are going to put their own spin on everything.”

Folkes sees a strong reason for the Crescent City’s proud, singular spirit: “It’s a smaller city that has gone through a lot of stuff, a lot of collective trauma. New Orleans has so much culture created by Black people, by slaves who came across the ocean.

Many of the first responders to Ida, to Covid, were local hospitality people who had drive and initiative.”

In short, New Orleans is resilient, he says, “a community that comes together around food and says, ‘Let’s do what needs to be done.’”


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Bitcoin ‘Carry Trade’ Can Net Annual Gains With Little Risk, Says PlanB

Max Keiser: Bitcoin’s ‘Self-Settlement’ Is A Revolution Against Dollar

Blockchain Can And Will Replace The IRS

China Seizes The Blockchain Opportunity. How Should The US Respond? (#GotBitcoin?)

Jack Dorsey: You Can Buy A Fraction Of Berkshire Stock Or ‘Stack Sats’

Bitcoin Price Skyrockets $500 In Minutes As Bakkt BTC Contracts Hit Highs

Bitcoin’s Irreversibility Challenges International Private Law: Legal Scholar

Bitcoin Has Already Reached 40% Of Average Fiat Currency Lifespan

Yes, Even Bitcoin HODLers Can Lose Money In The Long-Term: Here’s How (#GotBitcoin?)

Unicef To Accept Donations In Bitcoin (#GotBitcoin?)

Former Prosecutor Asked To “Shut Down Bitcoin” And Is Now Face Of Crypto VC Investing (#GotBitcoin?)

Switzerland’s ‘Crypto Valley’ Is Bringing Blockchain To Zurich

Next Bitcoin Halving May Not Lead To Bull Market, Says Bitmain CEO

Tim Draper Bets On Unstoppable Domain’s .Crypto Domain Registry To Replace Wallet Addresses (#GotBitcoin?)

Bitcoin Developer Amir Taaki, “We Can Crash National Economies” (#GotBitcoin?)

Veteran Crypto And Stocks Trader Shares 6 Ways To Invest And Get Rich

Have I Missed The Boat? – Best Ways To Purchase Cryptocurrency

Is Chainlink Blazing A Trail Independent Of Bitcoin?

Nearly $10 Billion In BTC Is Held In Wallets Of 8 Crypto Exchanges (#GotBitcoin?)

SEC Enters Settlement Talks With Alleged Fraudulent Firm Veritaseum (#GotBitcoin?)

Blockstream’s Samson Mow: Bitcoin’s Block Size Already ‘Too Big’

Attorneys Seek Bank Of Ireland Execs’ Testimony Against OneCoin Scammer (#GotBitcoin?)

OpenLibra Plans To Launch Permissionless Fork Of Facebook’s Stablecoin (#GotBitcoin?)

Tiny $217 Options Trade On Bitcoin Blockchain Could Be Wall Street’s Death Knell (#GotBitcoin?)

Class Action Accuses Tether And Bitfinex Of Market Manipulation (#GotBitcoin?)

Sharia Goldbugs: How ISIS Created A Currency For World Domination (#GotBitcoin?)

Bitcoin Eyes Demand As Hong Kong Protestors Announce Bank Run (#GotBitcoin?)

How To Securely Transfer Crypto To Your Heirs

‘Gold-Backed’ Crypto Token Promoter Karatbars Investigated By Florida Regulators (#GotBitcoin?)

Crypto News From The Spanish-Speaking World (#GotBitcoin?)

Financial Services Giant Morningstar To Offer Ratings For Crypto Assets (#GotBitcoin?)

‘Gold-Backed’ Crypto Token Promoter Karatbars Investigated By Florida Regulators (#GotBitcoin?)

The Original Sins Of Cryptocurrencies (#GotBitcoin?)

Bitcoin Is The Fraud? JPMorgan Metals Desk Fixed Gold Prices For Years (#GotBitcoin?)

Israeli Startup That Allows Offline Crypto Transactions Secures $4M (#GotBitcoin?)

[PSA] Non-genuine Trezor One Devices Spotted (#GotBitcoin?)

Bitcoin Stronger Than Ever But No One Seems To Care: Google Trends (#GotBitcoin?)

First-Ever SEC-Qualified Token Offering In US Raises $23 Million (#GotBitcoin?)

You Can Now Prove A Whole Blockchain With One Math Problem – Really

Crypto Mining Supply Fails To Meet Market Demand In Q2: TokenInsight

$2 Billion Lost In Mt. Gox Bitcoin Hack Can Be Recovered, Lawyer Claims (#GotBitcoin?)

Fed Chair Says Agency Monitoring Crypto But Not Developing Its Own (#GotBitcoin?)

Wesley Snipes Is Launching A Tokenized $25 Million Movie Fund (#GotBitcoin?)

Mystery 94K BTC Transaction Becomes Richest Non-Exchange Address (#GotBitcoin?)

A Crypto Fix For A Broken International Monetary System (#GotBitcoin?)

Four Out Of Five Top Bitcoin QR Code Generators Are Scams: Report (#GotBitcoin?)

Waves Platform And The Abyss To Jointly Launch Blockchain-Based Games Marketplace (#GotBitcoin?)

Bitmain Ramps Up Power And Efficiency With New Bitcoin Mining Machine (#GotBitcoin?)

Ledger Live Now Supports Over 1,250 Ethereum-Based ERC-20 Tokens (#GotBitcoin?)

Miss Finland: Bitcoin’s Risk Keeps Most Women Away From Cryptocurrency (#GotBitcoin?)

Artist Akon Loves BTC And Says, “It’s Controlled By The People” (#GotBitcoin?)

Ledger Live Now Supports Over 1,250 Ethereum-Based ERC-20 Tokens (#GotBitcoin?)

Co-Founder Of LinkedIn Presents Crypto Rap Video: Hamilton Vs. Satoshi (#GotBitcoin?)

Crypto Insurance Market To Grow, Lloyd’s Of London And Aon To Lead (#GotBitcoin?)

No ‘AltSeason’ Until Bitcoin Breaks $20K, Says Hedge Fund Manager (#GotBitcoin?)

NSA Working To Develop Quantum-Resistant Cryptocurrency: Report (#GotBitcoin?)

Custody Provider Legacy Trust Launches Crypto Pension Plan (#GotBitcoin?)

Vaneck, SolidX To Offer Limited Bitcoin ETF For Institutions Via Exemption (#GotBitcoin?)

Russell Okung: From NFL Superstar To Bitcoin Educator In 2 Years (#GotBitcoin?)

Bitcoin Miners Made $14 Billion To Date Securing The Network (#GotBitcoin?)

Why Does Amazon Want To Hire Blockchain Experts For Its Ads Division?

Argentina’s Economy Is In A Technical Default (#GotBitcoin?)

Blockchain-Based Fractional Ownership Used To Sell High-End Art (#GotBitcoin?)

Portugal Tax Authority: Bitcoin Trading And Payments Are Tax-Free (#GotBitcoin?)

Bitcoin ‘Failed Safe Haven Test’ After 7% Drop, Peter Schiff Gloats (#GotBitcoin?)

Bitcoin Dev Reveals Multisig UI Teaser For Hardware Wallets, Full Nodes (#GotBitcoin?)

Bitcoin Price: $10K Holds For Now As 50% Of CME Futures Set To Expire (#GotBitcoin?)

Bitcoin Realized Market Cap Hits $100 Billion For The First Time (#GotBitcoin?)

Stablecoins Begin To Look Beyond The Dollar (#GotBitcoin?)

Bank Of England Governor: Libra-Like Currency Could Replace US Dollar (#GotBitcoin?)

Binance Reveals ‘Venus’ — Its Own Project To Rival Facebook’s Libra (#GotBitcoin?)

The Real Benefits Of Blockchain Are Here. They’re Being Ignored (#GotBitcoin?)

CommBank Develops Blockchain Market To Boost Biodiversity (#GotBitcoin?)

SEC Approves Blockchain Tech Startup Securitize To Record Stock Transfers (#GotBitcoin?)

SegWit Creator Introduces New Language For Bitcoin Smart Contracts (#GotBitcoin?)

You Can Now Earn Bitcoin Rewards For Postmates Purchases (#GotBitcoin?)

Bitcoin Price ‘Will Struggle’ In Big Financial Crisis, Says Investor (#GotBitcoin?)

Fidelity Charitable Received Over $100M In Crypto Donations Since 2015 (#GotBitcoin?)

Would Blockchain Better Protect User Data Than FaceApp? Experts Answer (#GotBitcoin?)

Just The Existence Of Bitcoin Impacts Monetary Policy (#GotBitcoin?)

What Are The Biggest Alleged Crypto Heists And How Much Was Stolen? (#GotBitcoin?)

IRS To Cryptocurrency Owners: Come Clean, Or Else!

Coinbase Accidentally Saves Unencrypted Passwords Of 3,420 Customers (#GotBitcoin?)

Bitcoin Is A ‘Chaos Hedge, Or Schmuck Insurance‘ (#GotBitcoin?)

Bakkt Announces September 23 Launch Of Futures And Custody

Coinbase CEO: Institutions Depositing $200-400M Into Crypto Per Week (#GotBitcoin?)

Researchers Find Monero Mining Malware That Hides From Task Manager (#GotBitcoin?)

Crypto Dusting Attack Affects Nearly 300,000 Addresses (#GotBitcoin?)

A Case For Bitcoin As Recession Hedge In A Diversified Investment Portfolio (#GotBitcoin?)

SEC Guidance Gives Ammo To Lawsuit Claiming XRP Is Unregistered Security (#GotBitcoin?)

15 Countries To Develop Crypto Transaction Tracking System: Report (#GotBitcoin?)

US Department Of Commerce Offering 6-Figure Salary To Crypto Expert (#GotBitcoin?)

Mastercard Is Building A Team To Develop Crypto, Wallet Projects (#GotBitcoin?)

Canadian Bitcoin Educator Scams The Scammer And Donates Proceeds (#GotBitcoin?)

Amazon Wants To Build A Blockchain For Ads, New Job Listing Shows (#GotBitcoin?)

Shield Bitcoin Wallets From Theft Via Time Delay (#GotBitcoin?)

Blockstream Launches Bitcoin Mining Farm With Fidelity As Early Customer (#GotBitcoin?)

Commerzbank Tests Blockchain Machine To Machine Payments With Daimler (#GotBitcoin?)

Bitcoin’s Historical Returns Look Very Attractive As Online Banks Lower Payouts On Savings Accounts (#GotBitcoin?)

Man Takes Bitcoin Miner Seller To Tribunal Over Electricity Bill And Wins (#GotBitcoin?)

Bitcoin’s Computing Power Sets Record As Over 100K New Miners Go Online (#GotBitcoin?)

Walmart Coin And Libra Perform Major Public Relations For Bitcoin (#GotBitcoin?)

Judge Says Buying Bitcoin Via Credit Card Not Necessarily A Cash Advance (#GotBitcoin?)

Poll: If You’re A Stockowner Or Crypto-Currency Holder. What Will You Do When The Recession Comes?

1 In 5 Crypto Holders Are Women, New Report Reveals (#GotBitcoin?)

Beating Bakkt, Ledgerx Is First To Launch ‘Physical’ Bitcoin Futures In Us (#GotBitcoin?)

Facebook Warns Investors That Libra Stablecoin May Never Launch (#GotBitcoin?)

Government Money Printing Is ‘Rocket Fuel’ For Bitcoin (#GotBitcoin?)

Bitcoin-Friendly Square Cash App Stock Price Up 56% In 2019 (#GotBitcoin?)

Safeway Shoppers Can Now Get Bitcoin Back As Change At 894 US Stores (#GotBitcoin?)

TD Ameritrade CEO: There’s ‘Heightened Interest Again’ With Bitcoin (#GotBitcoin?)

Venezuela Sets New Bitcoin Volume Record Thanks To 10,000,000% Inflation (#GotBitcoin?)

Newegg Adds Bitcoin Payment Option To 73 More Countries (#GotBitcoin?)

China’s Schizophrenic Relationship With Bitcoin (#GotBitcoin?)

More Companies Build Products Around Crypto Hardware Wallets (#GotBitcoin?)

Bakkt Is Scheduled To Start Testing Its Bitcoin Futures Contracts Today (#GotBitcoin?)

Bitcoin Network Now 8 Times More Powerful Than It Was At $20K Price (#GotBitcoin?)

Crypto Exchange BitMEX Under Investigation By CFTC: Bloomberg (#GotBitcoin?)

“Bitcoin An ‘Unstoppable Force,” Says US Congressman At Crypto Hearing (#GotBitcoin?)

Bitcoin Network Is Moving $3 Billion Daily, Up 210% Since April (#GotBitcoin?)

Cryptocurrency Startups Get Partial Green Light From Washington

Fundstrat’s Tom Lee: Bitcoin Pullback Is Healthy, Fewer Searches Аre Good (#GotBitcoin?)

Bitcoin Lightning Nodes Are Snatching Funds From Bad Actors (#GotBitcoin?)

The Provident Bank Now Offers Deposit Services For Crypto-Related Entities (#GotBitcoin?)

Bitcoin Could Help Stop News Censorship From Space (#GotBitcoin?)

US Sanctions On Iran Crypto Mining — Inevitable Or Impossible? (#GotBitcoin?)

US Lawmaker Reintroduces ‘Safe Harbor’ Crypto Tax Bill In Congress (#GotBitcoin?)

EU Central Bank Won’t Add Bitcoin To Reserves — Says It’s Not A Currency (#GotBitcoin?)

The Miami Dolphins Now Accept Bitcoin And Litecoin Crypt-Currency Payments (#GotBitcoin?)

Trump Bashes Bitcoin And Alt-Right Is Mad As Hell (#GotBitcoin?)

Goldman Sachs Ramps Up Development Of New Secret Crypto Project (#GotBitcoin?)

Blockchain And AI Bond, Explained (#GotBitcoin?)

Grayscale Bitcoin Trust Outperformed Indexes In First Half Of 2019 (#GotBitcoin?)

XRP Is The Worst Performing Major Crypto Of 2019 (GotBitcoin?)

Bitcoin Back Near $12K As BTC Shorters Lose $44 Million In One Morning (#GotBitcoin?)

As Deutsche Bank Axes 18K Jobs, Bitcoin Offers A ‘Plan ฿”: VanEck Exec (#GotBitcoin?)

Argentina Drives Global LocalBitcoins Volume To Highest Since November (#GotBitcoin?)

‘I Would Buy’ Bitcoin If Growth Continues — Investment Legend Mobius (#GotBitcoin?)

Lawmakers Push For New Bitcoin Rules (#GotBitcoin?)

Facebook’s Libra Is Bad For African Americans (#GotBitcoin?)

Crypto Firm Charity Announces Alliance To Support Feminine Health (#GotBitcoin?)

Canadian Startup Wants To Upgrade Millions Of ATMs To Sell Bitcoin (#GotBitcoin?)

Trump Says US ‘Should Match’ China’s Money Printing Game (#GotBitcoin?)

Casa Launches Lightning Node Mobile App For Bitcoin Newbies (#GotBitcoin?)

Bitcoin Rally Fuels Market In Crypto Derivatives (#GotBitcoin?)

World’s First Zero-Fiat ‘Bitcoin Bond’ Now Available On Bloomberg Terminal (#GotBitcoin?)

Buying Bitcoin Has Been Profitable 98.2% Of The Days Since Creation (#GotBitcoin?)

Another Crypto Exchange Receives License For Crypto Futures

From ‘Ponzi’ To ‘We’re Working On It’ — BIS Chief Reverses Stance On Crypto (#GotBitcoin?)

These Are The Cities Googling ‘Bitcoin’ As Interest Hits 17-Month High (#GotBitcoin?)

Venezuelan Explains How Bitcoin Saves His Family (#GotBitcoin?)

Quantum Computing Vs. Blockchain: Impact On Cryptography

This Fund Is Riding Bitcoin To Top (#GotBitcoin?)

Bitcoin’s Surge Leaves Smaller Digital Currencies In The Dust (#GotBitcoin?)

Bitcoin Exchange Hits $1 Trillion In Trading Volume (#GotBitcoin?)

Bitcoin Breaks $200 Billion Market Cap For The First Time In 17 Months (#GotBitcoin?)

You Can Now Make State Tax Payments In Bitcoin (#GotBitcoin?)

Religious Organizations Make Ideal Places To Mine Bitcoin (#GotBitcoin?)

Goldman Sacs And JP Morgan Chase Finally Concede To Crypto-Currencies (#GotBitcoin?)

Bitcoin Heading For Fifth Month Of Gains Despite Price Correction (#GotBitcoin?)

Breez Reveals Lightning-Powered Bitcoin Payments App For IPhone (#GotBitcoin?)

Big Four Auditing Firm PwC Releases Cryptocurrency Auditing Software (#GotBitcoin?)

Amazon-Owned Twitch Quietly Brings Back Bitcoin Payments (#GotBitcoin?)

JPMorgan Will Pilot ‘JPM Coin’ Stablecoin By End Of 2019: Report (#GotBitcoin?)

Is There A Big Short In Bitcoin? (#GotBitcoin?)

Coinbase Hit With Outage As Bitcoin Price Drops $1.8K In 15 Minutes

Samourai Wallet Releases Privacy-Enhancing CoinJoin Feature (#GotBitcoin?)

There Are Now More Than 5,000 Bitcoin ATMs Around The World (#GotBitcoin?)

You Can Now Get Bitcoin Rewards When Booking At Hotels.Com (#GotBitcoin?)

North America’s Largest Solar Bitcoin Mining Farm Coming To California (#GotBitcoin?)

Bitcoin On Track For Best Second Quarter Price Gain On Record (#GotBitcoin?)

Bitcoin Hash Rate Climbs To New Record High Boosting Network Security (#GotBitcoin?)

Bitcoin Exceeds 1Million Active Addresses While Coinbase Custodies $1.3B In Assets

Why Bitcoin’s Price Suddenly Surged Back $5K (#GotBitcoin?)

Zebpay Becomes First Exchange To Add Lightning Payments For All Users (#GotBitcoin?)

Coinbase’s New Customer Incentive: Interest Payments, With A Crypto Twist (#GotBitcoin?)

The Best Bitcoin Debit (Cashback) Cards Of 2019 (#GotBitcoin?)

Real Estate Brokerages Now Accepting Bitcoin (#GotBitcoin?)

Ernst & Young Introduces Tax Tool For Reporting Cryptocurrencies (#GotBitcoin?)

Recession Is Looming, or Not. Here’s How To Know (#GotBitcoin?)

How Will Bitcoin Behave During A Recession? (#GotBitcoin?)

Many U.S. Financial Officers Think a Recession Will Hit Next Year (#GotBitcoin?)

Definite Signs of An Imminent Recession (#GotBitcoin?)

What A Recession Could Mean for Women’s Unemployment (#GotBitcoin?)

Investors Run Out of Options As Bitcoin, Stocks, Bonds, Oil Cave To Recession Fears (#GotBitcoin?)

Goldman Is Looking To Reduce “Marcus” Lending Goal On Credit (Recession) Caution (#GotBitcoin?)

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