The Importance of Olive Oil’s Virginity

By Wednesday, December 14, 2011 Permalink 0

NPR’s Losing ‘Virginity’: Olive Oil’s ‘Scandalous’ Fraud gives a good overview of the importance of olive oil labeling and the tricks used to get around the rules, with Tom Mueller, author of Extra Virginity: The Sublime and Scandalous World of Olive Oil.

English: virgin oil of aceitunas (IMPERIA) Fra...
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Switzerland: Watermelon and Fennel Salad Recipe

By Thursday, September 8, 2011 Permalink 0

Switzerland: Watermelon and Fennel Salad Recipe

by Jenn Oliver

Until recently, I didn’t know anyone did anything with a watermelon besides just cut it up and eat it. I mean, it’s already completely sweet, juicy, the pure essence of summer. Why mess with the perfection embodied in this pink fruit? The mere sight of a ripe watermelon evokes memories of childhoods past. For me, it evokes images of weeks at girl scout camp, running around outside, carefree, swimming in the lake, making new friends, riding horses…you get the idea.

But why not play, and see just where the flavor of this fruit can go? Have you ever thought about the flavors of this king of summertime snacks and how they would meld with other foods? I certainly hadn’t until Meeta challenged us Plate to Page alumni to photograph watermelon as a fun photography assignment — two photos — one raw, and one in a dish. Yes, a dish. Who puts watermelon in things? Ha, maybe it was time to change my perspective and open my eyes to other possibilities.

Perspective is a funny thing. Sometimes our first impressions have such a profound effect on us that we forget to look for other possibilities right in front of our noses. I think that’s why I like to go for walks and hikes, because all that time away from everything gives my mind space to think and breathe. And sometimes, I even get to get lost and freak out after sitting at a train station for 30 minutes until I figure out that the train only passes through on weekdays…

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Sauce for Thought: Fish-flavored Funk for your Sauces – from the sunny parts of the world

By Tuesday, August 23, 2011 Permalink 0

by Alice DeLuca

In the early 1990’s we camped at Maleakahana State Park on the windward coast of Oahu Hawai’i. In the heat of the day I came upon a Hawaiian man who was busy reaching in to an ironwood tree to hang up a plastic grocery bag half-filled with something heavy, soft and squishy.  It looked like what it was, a bag of guts, and I was somewhat apprehensive. He saw me watching him and offered politely that the bag’s contents included fish guts, salt, and chilies, and that after a few days of hanging there in the sun, rotting, the liquid would be drained off to use as sauce. I must have wrinkled up my nose, because he quickly expressed his opinion that only a Hawaiian would appreciate this sauce. He was hanging the bag in the tree to protect it from animals that would eat the rotting contents, which would ruin his planned feast. I regret not speaking with him about how he would use his sauce, but that opportunity is now lost in the mists of time.

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