This week's food sections did a good job of answering some things I've been wondering about lately.
Last week, I posted about my surprise to find that one of my breakfast oranges was a cara cara orange, a red-fleshed navel orange that looks like a small grapefruit but tastes like any other orange. My friend insisted it was the same thing as a blood orange, but actually, they are two different varieties as this week's Washington Post Food section cover story makes clear. With the story was a recipe for a Pomelo, Escarole and Candied Bacon Salad with Meyer Lemon Dressing that sounds interesting and not that different from a salad I made last night with spinach, fennel, grapefruit, bacon and lemon-ginger dressing.
I also enjoyed The Post's article about how newspapers test recipes, which I feel is very important. I think any recipe a cookbook, newspaper or other food publication puts forth should be tested to ensure the ingredient amounts are correct, the steps are logical and the dish works well as a whole. The writer has a responsibility to do so, and I'm glad to hear The Washington Post, along with the Los Angeles Times, San Francisco Chronicle and the Associated Press, all agree.
The New York Times though gets a gold star for exploring something I've really been interested in: the practicality of the book Modernist Cuisine: The Art and Science of Cooking. This six-volume, 2,400 page set was last year's most-talked-about but probably least purchased cookbook (it retails for $625). Employing scientific principles, the book looks to invent new cooking methods to achieve perfect results.
Practical for the home kitchen this is not, but Times writer Melissa Clark took on the challenge to see whether there were recipes--sans ingredients like liquid nitrogen--that could be reasonably replicated in a normally appointed kitchen. In the end, she managed to create a dinner party featuring sous-vide salmon, rib steaks, caramelized squash, bloody mary celery sticks and balsamic panna cotta. It sounds delicious and very intriguing.
Although I doubt I'd ever purchase Modernist Cuisine, I'd love to look through it some time. If Modernist Cuisine is your thing, you might also like the Times' story about Booker & Dax, a new East Village bar in the back of Momofuku Ssam Bar serving up chemistry-set-like cocktails.
Verdict: The New York Times wins this round, since I've been quite curious about Modernist Cuisine, and their story allowed me a look into whether it could indeed include some practical applications.