Split pea soup

https://i0.wp.com/www.publishersweekly.com/articles/images/PWK/20080828/IntheNewsGeorgeandMarthaCookiesNEW.jpgRemember the George and Martha series? And that one about the split pea soup? Of course that’s the one I recall best–I was a foodie even before I could make sense of the print in the story book. This tale depicts the hippo couple (“friends,” the book series insists, though I’m convinced they’ve worked in some benefits) facing an existential question: How much can you really like split pea soup?

George assumes Martha likes to make the stuff, while Martha thinks George just adores eating it. So Martha cooks up batch after batch and George good-naturedly puts it away. Each thinks they’re doing the other a big favor. Continue reading

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WHAT-flavored vodka?

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If you live in D.C., you’ve likely wandered by it dozens of times. It’s the regal stone and brick building perched on the hill overlooking the intersection of Connecticut and Florida Avenues. The red neon sign simply says:

Restaurant

Lounge

From the outside, it’s hard to discern what it’s called or differentiate it from the myriad other Dupont eating and drinking establishments that line Connecticut Ave. Inside, it’s Russia House, and there’s no mistaking that.

The walls of the restaurant and lounge part of the building (the one we care about here) sport beveled-frame mirrors, elegant candle holders, and lots of red. Imagine an atmosphere coming just this side of a parody of a Ruskie dining room, and there you have it. If you head down the spiral staircase, you can catch another fun decor note–the teal-and-brass motif bathroom. Continue reading

Americans go to market

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Working at the farmers’ market yesterday, I reveled in the questions. “Have you ever made pesto with the purple basil?” Asked one woman. “What could I substitute for spinach?” Asked another gal – or was it twelve of them? “How do you eat radishes?” Asked an untold number of market-goers. They eyed the purple versions of what should be green, and the bumpy versions of what they recalled as smooth, and the spicy-smelling versions of what they’d always known as mild.

I loved answering these, and asking my own. “Are you making sauce with those?” “What did you do with last week’s potatoes?”

It then occurred to me that you could pick up these scenes and no matter where in the world you plopped them down, you couldn’t fool anyone. They’re quintessentially American. Continue reading

Page 22

…of the fall issue of Edible Chesapeake. Check it out! You just might see a little article by your favorite onion-affinitied foodie blogger. The magazine is available at all the FreshFarm Markets farmers’ markets, Whole Foods, Coppi’s Organic on U Street, and other fine establishments.

Eating your way through history (or: Happy Indigenous Peoples Day!)

stuffed squashFor as long as I can remember, people have been taking bites out of the notion that Christopher Columbus was a hero. Maybe it was just my liberal New York upbringing, but I just cannot recall a lesson or discussion about the guy without a crack about how mistaken he was and what a terrible thing Americans did trying to say he discovered our country.

Even my grandmother got into it, and was fond of reciting the following poem about him:

In 1492, what did Columbus do?

He sat on the grass

And scratched his ass

In 1492

So yes, it’s not new to me to prod that gallant story with a sharp-tined fork. But still I will offer a little suggestion for how to celebrate this Columbus Day–a.k.a. Indigenous Peoples Day–in politically-correct foodie style. Continue reading

Eating local in real life

20071007_0004Want to see how real people whose regular breakfast isn’t granola eat local? Check out Locavore Nation. The eastern region blog includes someone close–Autumn Long from West Virginia. But just to warn you, she’s kind of an exception to the “real people” rule. Her average breakfast is probably not only crunchy, but plucked that day from a tree of crunchy things that she and her homesteading husband planted with their own hands.

Food revolution

While I like the book and the people behind Veggie Revolution, I don’t think you have to write a manifesto to invoke change through food.

Maybe you can start with food resolutions you’d like to make. Got any?

Here are a few of mine: Bake bread more often, and don’t always use the bread maker; invite people over for dinner; educate myself about the global food crisis.

Oh bubbles for change

Sauerkraut
My Partner in Fermentation and I have embarked on yet another sauerkraut adventure. After trying it with too much salt, too little salt, not enough packing down of the shredded cabbage, and letting it ferment in a place that we now know was too warm, we may have gotten all the variables to line up in our favor.

It’s been three days, during which time Rosh Hashana came and went, and I just opened one of the two quart jars. It had been sitting in my bedroom, the one place in the apartment that’s consistently 70 to 72 degrees — the preferred temp for those lactobacilli that make it all happen. The cabbage looked well covered in liquid, thanks to the innovation of pounding it with the salt before packing it into jars. The opening of the metal cap was accompanied by a slight slurp and a few bubbles. Then more bubbles. Then more, percolating up to the surface so fast I speed walked it to the kitchen sink,  visions of shaken up seltzer bottles sputtering before me.

This was a good sign. Continue reading