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.
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.
The coconut palm is incredibly important as a foodstuff across the globe. From the coconut fiber that lines your window box planters to the coconut milk in your curry and coconut water in your fridge, the coconut palm, aptly called "The Tree of Life" for its usefulness, is a truly remarkable plant.
Like salt and black pepper, you probably reach for cooking oil for just about every meal you make. But have you ever wondered about the history of your canola oil, or what makes fancy extra virgin olive oil so expensive? Or what the heck margarine really is? Read on for all of this and more.
Sweet potatoes are often colloquially referred to as "yams" - but they're not. Let's take a culinary world tour and unravel this mystery together, shall we? Bottom line: you might have to hunt down a true yam, but they sure are worth it!
You're unlikely to find cardoons at your local grocery store, but check farmers' markets in late fall and you might get lucky. Like a cross between artichokes and celery, these spiky, silvery stalks can add delicious new flavor to old recipes, though you may want to wear gloves!
Barley is an ancient grain, but its old school reputation doesn't keep it off the modern table. From food for livestock and fish, to a main ingredient in beer, to a sweetener and as a cereal grain for human consumption, barley's flexible nature and nutty flavor make it an essential food.
Celery is a ubiquitous ingredient in cooking, but tends to stay out of the spotlight. While you may recognize this fibrous snack from raw vegetable platters with dip, find out how celery has played many roles throughout history in cooking, medicine and even garnishing and starring in popular beverages.
If there's a beverage demarking Fall, it's cider. Hard cider, sweet cider, warm cider in one hand with a fresh apple cider doughnut in the other, yum! Explore cider this season with the many recipes - and historical tidbits - the drink has to offer.
What do you do with walnuts? Crack them open to crumble over your salad or sweet potatoes, enjoy them straight from the shell as a healthy snack or even make a full meal of various crunchy varieties.
Are you ready to step up your wine game? In this Real Food overview, we'll touch on some familiar grapes and wines while providing references for further exploration. Most importantly, we'll look at the environmental impacts and sustainable potential of winemaking!