Tag: Food Writing

Mumbai’s Man in the Kitchen

hermant oberoi Photo by David Farley
Photo by David Farley

Chef Hemant Oberoi wants to introduce you to Indian cuisine. Not the curry-laden stuff simmering in a chaffing dish at your local Indian buffet. Oberoi, the head chef for the international Taj Hotels, is on a mission to introduce the world to the vast array of relatively unknown Indian dishes. And he’ll be coming to a city near you. His Bombay Brasserie is a hit in London and he’s finalizing plans on a Boston eatery. I caught up with him at his home base, the Taj Palace & Tower in Mumbai, which made international headlines in November when the hotel was attacked by terrorists. Read the interview after the jump.

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John Baxter Likes Him Some ‘Poor Food’

In the latest issue of Food & Wine magazine, prolific author John Baxter waxes in the travel column about his history with “poor food,” taking us first to a long stew-filled meal at a rural tavern on a Greek island, then to his childhood in Australia, and Paris. The most unlikely experience: Christmas dinner at the Georgetown house of a government official who had lost his job due to a change in administrations. Baxter doesn’t say it—though I suppose it’s implied—but we don’t need a downturn in the economy to see that “poor food” has managed to quietly work its way into eaters’ appetites of all incomes these days. Which—in all its irony—is a good thing. Pub grub, soul food, most of the Italian food we know and love, and the current hankering for all things street food (being served at upscale restaurants around the country) all sprang from the same place: necessity. 

Pigs for Pets or Meat!

After reading about the poor standards of pork in Europe (where England gets most of its pork from), pig-eating British journalist Alex Renton became concerned. He puts blame on British supermarkets. He writes in the Guardian: “The fact is that price discounting (you may have noticed we’re in the midst of another ‘value’ war at the moment) has forced the price of pork so low that few farmers can make a profit on a pig, even when produced in a cage on the cheapest feed possible.” The answer, of course, is to stop eating pork, which Renton refused to do. So he took matters into his own hands (or, should I say, taste buds). “My pig is 11 months old now,” he writes admiringly of the piglet he’s now raising for the slaughter.

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Martha Stewart’s Whipping Boy?

Food writer Sylvie Bigar sits down with chef Pierre Schaedelin to talk about how he went from top toque at Le Cirque to Martha Stewart’s whipping boy ... er ... chef to cooking at Alain Ducasse’s New York outpost of famed Paris eatery Benoit. What did Schaedelin learn from being Martha’s food slave ... uh, we mean personal chef? Discipline.

More Exotic Foods Just to Let You Know You’ve Made it to Asia

Our fascination with curious animal parts continues. We just can’t seem to get enough of the rooster balls. Or deep-fried grasshopper, roasted bats and cooked canine for that matter. Nellie Huang over at Matador Travel gives us a lowdown on the top 10 most “exotic Asian foods.” All this makes me wonder: what do people in other parts of the world consider “exotic” American food. If we believed what we saw on TV advertisements—specifically, Burger King advertisements—then the hamburger, in all its boring bread-meets-ground-beef incarnation, is it (sorry Josh Ozersky). Saturday Night Live’s recent parody of said BK commercials is worth a view.

The Road Less Eaten

America’s relationship with food from around the world has traveled a long way in the last few decades. Case in point: Weight Watchers “Worldwide Favorites” recipe cards from 1974. Say what you will about globalization, at least we no longer have to endure these fish “tacos” (their quotes), an anything-goes orgy of tomatoes and cheese, or ashen-gray Fish Balls or Fluffy Mackerel Pudding.

I’ve never been to Polynesia, but something tells me the combination of ingredients in the Polynesian Snack—fruit, buttermilk and sprouts—would make an islander eat sand before laying hands on anything from this recipe book. We’ve come along way, baby.

Or have we?

What Food Writers Really Think of Thanksgiving

What Food Writers Really Think of Thanksgiving Photo by xybermatthew via Flickr (Creative Commons)
Photo by xybermatthew via Flickr (Creative Commons)

Turns out, they can’t stand the annual turkey fest—at least according to Slate’s Regina Schrambling, who offers a hilarious rant on the subject, just in time for the holidays. “What makes me totally crazy,” she writes, “is the persistent pressure to reinvent a wheel that has been going around quite nicely for more than 200 years. Every fall, writers and editors have to knock themselves out to come up with a gimmick—fast turkey, slow turkey, brined turkey, unbrined turkey—when the meal essentially has to stay the same.”

Is Maui the Next Haven for Foodie Tourists?

Is Maui the Next Haven for Foodie Tourists? Photo by alesh via Flickr (Creative Commons).
Photo by alesh via Flickr (Creative Commons).

Wouldn’t you love to eat a feast of hand-harvested vegetables and fruit, served with fish and tofu, amid the kaleidoscopic colors of Hawaii? Maui farmers and restaurateurs have partnered to power a locally sourced cuisine that intrigued E magazine’s Lori Shinn.

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Seoulís Fish Market: One of the ‘Greatest Food Spectacles on Earth’

Seoulís Fish Market: One of the ‘Greatest Food Spectacles on Earth’ Photo by Gael Chardon via Flickr (Creative Commons).
Photo by Gael Chardon via Flickr (Creative Commons).

So says Pulitzer-Prize-winning food writer Jonathan Gold, who recently visited Noryangjin Marine Products Market and reveled in the roughly 700 stalls hawking fresh seafood. Think “croaker and corvina, bubbling clams and great octopus whose arms extend farther than Shaquille O’Neal’s,” Gold writes in Gourmet, or “bottom-of-the-sea stuff whose uses are difficult to contemplate.” Like the pink sea squirts who resemble “throbbing uncircumcised phalluses”? Hmmm. I wonder what kind of Korean breakfast you can make out of that.

A Regional Guide to Mexican Tamales

tamales Photo by ann-dabney via Flickr, (Creative Commons).
Photo by ann-dabney via Flickr, (Creative Commons).

I’ll never forget arriving by bus in Mexico City a few years ago, famished, and finding a well-stocked tamale stand in the middle of the bus station. At that moment, I felt as though I’d never seen a more beautiful sight. Behind the counter, steaming pots were stacked high with half a dozen kinds of tamales: peppers and cheese, chicken, pork, seafood. I bought two or three, unwrapped them on a narrow bar and dug in. They were moist and savory, and their hot masa dough wrappings practically melted in my mouth. I was in heaven.

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