Food & Food Culture

8:20am

Wed August 28, 2013
The Salt

To Grow Sweeter Produce, California Farmers Turn Off The Water

Originally published on Sat August 31, 2013 10:57 am

At Happy Boy Farms near Santa Cruz, Calif., Early Girl tomatoes are grown using dry-farming methods. The tomatoes have become increasingly popular with chefs and wholesalers.
Courtesy Jen Lynne/Happy Boy Farms

A week without water can easily kill the average person.

But a garden that goes unwatered for months may produce sweeter, more flavorful fruits than anything available in most mainstream supermarkets — even in the scorching heat of a California summer. Commercial growers call it "dry farming," and throughout the state, this unconventional technique seems to be catching on among small producers of tomatoes, apples, grapes, melons and potatoes.

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1:33am

Wed August 28, 2013
The Salt

You Say 'Kubbeh,' I Say 'Kibbeh,' Let's Eat 'Em All Right Now

Originally published on Wed August 28, 2013 10:33 am

At the Te'amim — or Tastes — cooking camp in Jerusalem, kids learn how to make kubbeh hamusta, a popular regional dumpling from Kurdistan.
Emily Harris NPR

People across the Levant love their dumplings, even if they can't agree on a name. Some say kubbeh; others say kibbeh. In Egypt, you might hear kobeba.

In Jerusalem, there are perhaps as many variations of the kubbeh as there are cultures in the city.

One popular version consists of meat wrapped in bulgur, then deep fried. Dip one in tahini for a crunchy snack.

But at the Te'amim — or Tastes — cooking camp in Jerusalem, chef Udi Shlomi prefers to teach kids to make kubbeh hamusta.

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1:00am

Tue August 27, 2013
The Salt

Tortellini, The Dumpling Inspired By Venus' Navel

Originally published on Sat August 31, 2013 2:38 pm

Even in Sandro Botticelli's painting The Birth of Venus, the goddess's belly resembles a plump, firm tortellino.
Wikimedia.org

Tortellini — small circles of rolled dough folded around a filling — are one of the most renowned members of the Italian pasta family. In the land of their birth, the region near the Italian city of Bologna, they're strictly served as broth-like dumplings.

Possibly no foodstuff in Italian cuisine is surrounded by so much history and lore.

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3:26pm

Mon August 26, 2013
The Salt

'Braai Day' Aims To Bring S. Africans Together Over Barbecue

Originally published on Tue August 27, 2013 3:30 pm

Jan Scannell, former accountant, has taken on a new identity as "Jan Braai," a South African TV show host and media personality promoting the idea of National Braai (barbecuing) Day, celebrated each year on Sept. 24.
Courtesy of Stephanus Rabie

Nelson Mandela is officially "improving," though still in critical condition at a South African hospital. His long battle with a lung infection has South Africans anxiously contemplating their "post-Mandela" future in a still racially divided country. In a unique strategy, one man is hoping to help heal those divisions with a pair of barbecue tongs.

Jan Scannell is a 32-year-old former accountant with a dream: To establish a national holiday in South Africa like July 4 called Braai Day.

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12:15pm

Mon August 26, 2013
The Salt

Sandwich Monday: A Hot Dog Cookoff

Originally published on Mon August 26, 2013 1:33 pm

The entry from Kuma's. There's a hot dog hiding in there somewhere.
Jamie Bernstein

There is still debate as to whether the hot dog evolved from lesser sandwich forms or is the work of an intelligent designer, but everyone can agree it's a marvel of simplicity. At the Gapers Block Hot Dog Cookoff earlier this summer in Chicago, though, five chefs were challenged to reinterpret the humble tube steak, and we were challenged to eat them all.

The chefs were told to "start with Vienna Beef hot dogs" and "use them in any way imaginable." Those instructions, when you think about it, are frighteningly open to interpretation.

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