real food right now
Real Food Right Now and How to Cook it (#realfoodrightnow) is our weekly series on the ABCs and 123s of seasonal food.
Newsflash -- it's tea, not coffee, that is the world's most popular pick me up. In fact, after water, it's the most consumed beverage worldwide. And why wouldn't it be? Tea has deep cultural roots stretching back thousand years, much longer than coffee - and it was the world's first commodity, fueling fortunes and empires.
Sassafras is kind of a big deal. Without it the whole history of the US might have played out differently. Also, we wouldn't have root beer or filé gumbo. Depending on whom you ask, sassafras is either a folk remedy or a dangerous carcinogen. We'll leave you to decide: bad seed or beneficial buddy?
Vibrant (on the inside), juicy and perfectly scoop-able, the kiwi is just as delicious right off the vine as it is baked into a tart. But, did you know that this sweet fruit can be used to firm pie filling or tenderize meat? We didn't either! Read on to learn the history and uses of this fuzzy fruit.
Spring produce may not be the sexiest; juicy fruits like tomatoes, peaches and watermelons are still way down the road, but the end of winter calls for a strong dose of novelty, and luckily, spring has lots of that.
Whiskey: the water of life and sweet nectar of the gods. It's the stuff of mint juleps, the Wild West and classic cocktails. For something as American as apple pie, whiskey's roots reach back to Ireland and Scotland. Wait - is it whiskey or whisky? We'll get to the bottom of this intoxicating mystery!
Imagine a life without the tingly, peppery, uniquely lovely bite of ginger. No worries - just rejoice in the fact that this prized spice can now be found in every grocery store across the land!
Also known as cassava or tapioca, yuca is the fourth most important starch in the world, prepared in a wide variety of ways from South America to Asia. Fun fact: if you love bubble tea, you may have sucked up the powdered and pearled flesh of this woody root without even realizing it.
We may know that "pancake syrup" is the margarine of maple syrup: the cheap imitator, the industrial substitute. "Pure" syrup is as unadulterated a product as it gets, and is all-American, to boot. Its production is natural, but it requires many steps and much patience to produce, and it only happens once a year. Because maple syrup, you see, is not simply tree sap.
It's cold and snowy out. You haven't seen the sun for days. "Parks and Recreation" has ended. You know what that means? It's the perfect time to "Treat Yourself"! Here are a few relaxing suggestions to help you wash those winter blues away - sustainably.
Butter and lard, two of the most prevalent fats used cooking since the domestication of sheep, goats, cattle and pigs thousands of years ago, are unmatched in flavor and texture. It's actually super easy to make your own butter, and play around with lard for delicious results at home!
Three billion people rely upon rice as their staple food, and it is the primary source of one quarter of the world's per capita energy needs. Rice's captivating history is tied to ancient global trade routes and, eventually, to the slave trade. Read more about and learn how to cook this fascinating grain!
While you may agree with our Food Program director, who said Valentine's Day (the holiday responsible for the sale of 58 million pounds of chocolate) is "mostly a lamentable shakedown perpetuated to promote superfluous consumption," we also know you probably care a lot about chocolate. So here are the details.
Everything is adorable about kumquats. From their diminutive size to their cheery color, and even their name - all as cute as a button, and a welcome sight in the dead of winter when there is little fun to be had at the market. Pick up a basket of these wee fruit and get cooking.
What exactly is seaweed? The name is blanket term that's been attached to a vast group of sea vegetables, some varieties of which are invasive algae, hence the suffix "weed." There are thousands - if not millions - of distinct weeds from the sea, and many can be farmed sustainably on coasts around the world, improving the environment as they grow.
Jicamas look like giant, round potatoes, with light brown, almost flaky skin. Peel the skin off to reveal a creamy white interior, with crispy flesh that has the same texture as an apple or pear, crossed with a potato - and it's delicious.
That ingredient responsible for dyeing everything from cauliflower to your fingertips yellow-orange is turmeric, a quintessential seasoning in many cuisines, particularly throughtout Asia. But where does turmeric come from? How does it taste? And how can you grow or cook with some of your own? Look no further for an introduction to this incredible spice.