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Hungry Magazine - All Things Tasty
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Feature Archive 'Food Memoir'

03.10.09

We Were Only in it for the Fried Clams

Food Memoir


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My father was a home builder in Post -WWII America. His turf: Long Island, the spit of land running eastward from New York City for 150 miles out to Montauk Point. Formerly the exclusive domain of truck farmers and the Great Gatsby, “the Island”, with its Levittown (immortalized by Pete Seeger as “little boxes”), was destined to be the quintessential example of the banality of suburban culture. And while my father was busy draining the city of post-war families fleeing crowded conditions in Brooklyn and the Bronx, we lived in a relatively dense post-war urban setting in Queens. More »

03.01.09

Numba One Culinary War Story

Food Memoir


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During 1968 and 1969 I served as an Army Medical Service Lieutenant in South Vietnam. I arrived a few days before Thanksgiving and hoped with luck, to be back in the world before Christmas of the following year. More »

10.29.08

Tragic Triage

Food Memoir


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Gourmet Vintage

My wife and I subscribe to a number of food periodicals. We’ve been doing this for the greater part of our 38 year marriage. Fortunately, we’re not zealous pack rats. However, some items are harder to part with than others are. For us, food magazines top the list. More »

10.21.08

Lowenstein’s Revenge: A memoir of NYC Deli

Food Memoir


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I’ve had my share of deli in this life….perhaps more than I should, certainly enough to make me a member of the deli cognoscenti and a prime candidate for a coronary. Post War II middle class Jews (like my parents….first generation Americans) had a foot in both camps too, at a time when perfunctory cardiac surgery was only a dream. When the second shoe dropped it sent the offender straight from the Knishes to the Kaddish, the ancient Aramaic biblical or Talmudic passage recited by mourners at a funeral, upon learning of a death, or any commemoration of it. More »

10.07.08

Samurai Chazerai*

Do I Need a Pastry Torch?: Kitchen Gadget Reviews, Food Memoir


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shun

I shamelessly admit that cooking gear is my drug of choice, I really love kitchen knives. I have a load of them, ranging from a duet of paring knives, as well as 4”, 6”, 8”, and 12” chefs, boning, slicing, utility, and of course like all good dilettantes, a Santoku. There’s a cleaver in there somewhere, but some reckless chopping mission has ruined it. The knives stand at attention along a magnetic bar, arranged in ascending order. As I retire for the evening, I glance at the assemblage and hope that in the event an intruder breaks into the house during the night the plentiful array of culinary blades don’t give the criminal thoughts beyond taking the TV, PC, and other assets. More »

09.17.08

How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Science Food

Food Memoir


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for Marco Pierre White

cpop

A sip of liquid soul: caramel corn at Alinea.
(pic courtesy of Lara Kastner and Alinea)

The phrase, “Molecular Gastronomy” is a meaningless construct. From, the roasting of lamb schwarma at a kebab shack to the baking of a soufflé at a temple of haute cuisine, most cooking is molecular. Frying an egg in a cast iron skillet southern grandmother style is molecular gastronomy. Heating a raw egg breaks the molecular bonds of proteins in the yolk, allowing these proteins to unfold so they can bond with other surrounding proteins until the runny yolk becomes solid.

People use the phrase, not for its essential truth, but because they like the syllabic consonance, the sonorous “r’s” rolling into each other. They also use the phrase because it taps a part of basic humanity, our fear of new concepts. In the culinary world, this is nothing new. It’s part of the same cycle that initially vilified cooks like the Troisgros brothers and their Nouveau cuisine or Charlie Trotter, who was once considered a reckless fusionist. Today, these same folks prey on a good deal of the population’s horrid memories of bare survival in high school chemistry or biology by dubbing what a current generation of cooks do as “science food” because it makes great copy. More »

08.11.08

Spilling the Beans on Boston Eats (in Chicago)

Food Memoir, Recipes


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Ah, colonial times. A simpler age when settlers wooed natives, Pilgrims popularized Turkey Day, and witches were hung like tinsel. More »

07.23.08

My Bluegill Heaven

Food Memoir, Recipes


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Despite all the nutritional and gourmet conveniences of the modern world, there remain among us stalwart hunter-gatherers. Folks who pride themselves on the hunt, the catch. People who have honed the quiet skill and infinite knee-cramping patience needed to take down a deer, or the botanist’s eye to separate “delicious edible mushroom” from “poison that will kill you before you get to dessert.” I respect, admire, and have lived among these people for many years. But I’m really not one of them. And yet, occasionally, I find myself right there in the middle of it all. The primordial struggle of human against hunger. An individual against the rest of the natural world. Man versus…bluegill. More »

07.14.08

A Benediction for Benihana

Food Memoir


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For Rocky Aoki

I spent the better part of the last three years as a food writer lobbying against the likes of Benihana. That is to say, I generally stay away from lauding global mass-market restaurant franchises that distill ethnic cultures into palatable stereotypes through cheap entertainment and the service of second rate food products.

But, now, as I read the previous sentences, I think, “Man, what arrogant bastard wrote that?” More »

03.25.08

How I Became a Food Freak

Food Memoir


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I was not a precocious genius, like, say, a 2-year-old Tiger Woods ripping a tee shot on “The Mike Douglas Show.” There was no crème brulee epiphany at the foot of my grandmother. It took me twenty-eight years of school and aimless work to discover food writing.

Though my mother was a fine scratch cook, I ate quite a bit of Hamburger Helper, SpaghettiO’s and Campbell’s Soup. My only culinary experience was making pizza alongside a crew of shaggy-haired, though engaging, stoners in high school. Luxury dining meant the Admiral’s Feast at Red Lobster. More »

02.22.08

Dreaming of Chocolate Mousse in Epinouze

Food Memoir, Recipes


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We had the fortune of sampling the best chocolate mousse of our lives from Sunday Dinner Catering co-founder Christine Cikowski about a month ago. We asked Christine to share the recipe. She obliged, but, even better, she gave us the story behind the recipe.

Jason (my business partner and boyfriend) and I lived in the Rhone Valley, in a little town of 900 people called Epinouze, about 1-1/2 hours south of Lyon off the A7 autoroute. For three months we worked for Jean-Jacques Galliffett, the de-facto local celebrity chef since he owned three restaurants in three villages, plus a hotel and a bar. Not that there was much competition- most of those villages had only one restaurant, one bar, and one tobacco shop. But Galliffett was talented- his food was really simple, a unique fruit based cooking style grounded in old world French techniques. Valrhona and Crozes- Hermitage, the wine country was 20 minutes away. We lived in orchard country, so Galliffett cooked with what was grown in town. More »

05.02.07

Brunching in Brazil

Food Memoir, Restaurant Reviews


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Deep fried stuffed olives and rhubarb caipirinhas

It’s often said that loose women are trying to replace the memory of their absent fathers by sleeping with a trove of men. This might explain some things. More »

03.26.07

North by Northwest

Food Memoir, Restaurant Reviews


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Arancini from Pasta Fresh

Riunite is kind of like the Italian Boone’s Farm, which is to say, it’s usually drunk by college kids, boozy moms and the homeless. For a proud Italian to have to sell these wines as a traveling salesman is akin to a Parisian butcher turning to sell Spam door to door. More »

07.24.06

An Eye for an Eye

Food Memoir


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eyeball

This article first appeared in Newcity Chicago

Some people sleep around. I eat around. There’s been brain, kidney, intestine, liver, stomach, tendon, fish eyeball, brain, bone marrow, thymus and pig’s feet. It’s probably not a healthy occupation. Most STDs are treatable. Mad Cow-related maladies are not. According to the Center for Disease Control, “no specific therapy has been shown to stop the progression of these diseases.” By progression, they mean death. More »

05.30.06

Vegetarianism: A 12 Step Program

Food Memoir


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vegetarian

As a rule of thumb I usually mock anyone’s attempt to severely change their lifestyle, especially in regards to diets. I’ve too often been the hapless victim of my own vain attempts to establish a healthy lifestyle. My latest foray into the self-help realm was a halfhearted attempt to experience, first hand, the ebb and flow of vegetarianism.

Mind you, I’m an unapologetic carnivore. My body needs meat to operate properly and if I abstained from all things good and porky, how would I keep up my lovely figure? (More Drew Carey than Carey Grant). This experiment would be more of a battle of will and a challenge to my self-determination than another fruitless attempt to regain the svelte figure of my not so distant youth. More »

05.09.06

Operation Kabob, AKA: Food on Deployment in Iraq

Food Memoir


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Taji Dining

A U.S. Army soldier eats a Meal, Ready to Eat on the tarmac at Camp Taji, Iraq, before taking part in an air assault mission on April 28, 2006. DoD photo by Petty Officer 1st Class Michael Larson, U.S. Navy.

When I came back from Iraq in January, everyone I knew had questions about the political and military situation. What was it like? Are we ever going to leave? Did you ever get blown up? Then I talked to my friend, Hungry Editor, Michael Nagrant, who after hearing that I was OK, wanted to know what the food situation was like while I was on deployment. Here’s the breakdown. More »


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