The Washington Post: “The Runcible Spoon: Washington’s little food zine with a big sense of humor,” by Becky Krystal.
After reading this profile in the Post, I’m looking forward to reading my first issue of The Runcible Spoon, an irreverent D.C.-based self-published food magazine. (I just ordered issue #10, which focuses on breakfast!) Looking at the pictures on the pub’s site, it looks like a sort of DIY version of Lucky Peach. Importantly, it looks like a lot of fun, bringing the whimsy back into the kitchen in an era where everyone is oh-so-serious about the pedigree of their heirloom, free-range this-and-that.
Food & Wine: “Dashi: The Ultimate Flavor Boost,” by Daniel Duane.
I’ve been rather taken lately with the idea of making dashi, the simple Japanese broth that’s loaded with umami. I already bought my bonita flakes and kombu, but haven’t yet taken the plunge—mostly because I’m not sure what to do with it besides make ramen. Duane’s piece is a nice overview of the seemingly magical liquid, including a fun description of how challenging it is to make the really good dashi (and why you’ll probably settle for the merely adequate dashi). Although I wish he'd have included some recipes (in the print version, he references one that appears later in the magazine from David Chang).
Berkeleyside: “Gin and tonic cake: A cocktail turned confection,” by Moriah VanVleet.
Ms. VanVleet may deserve an award for this: she’s taken my favorite cocktail and turned it into a dessert. What an amazingly awesome idea! I have to make this soon.
The Washington Post: “Herb dilemmas solved, by the bunch,” by Bonnie S. Benwick and various guest writers.
Here’s a very useful thing: an informative piece on ways to use the abundance of fresh herbs available this time of year, covering mint, chervil, chives and more. Perfectly “thymed” for the return of my neighborhood farmers market.
The Atlantic: “Pecan, Caramel, Crawfish: Food Dialect Maps,” by James Hamblin.
I find the study of the English language to be particularly fascinating, and dialect maps like this one by Hamblin are an engaging way to illustrate language differences within the United States. The map shows how various regions pronounce common food words differently, and it’s fun to see whether the way you say it fits where you live or perhaps where you’re from. (Grocery, for example—is it “grow-shir-ee” or “grow-sir-ee”?) Since my husband and I are from different parts of the country, I enjoy compare how we say things (mostly similar, but there are some fun exceptions).
The Wall Street Journal: “Return of the Cocktail Culture,” by Steve Dollar.
To mark the release of documentary filmmaker Douglas Tirola’s Hey Bartender, a work that celebrates the modern bartending renaissance, Dollar presents this thoughtful timeline of the “rise, fall and return” of the cocktail.
Slate: “Food Explainer: Why Does Microwaving Water Result in Such Lousy Tea?,” by Nadia Arumugam.
I once listened very skeptically while a coworker told me that tea made from microwaved water didn’t taste good because the microwave somehow “changed” the water in a bad way. I thought it was a bunch of bologna; however, turns out she may have been on to something, although not for the reason she was relaying. It’s more about temperature, as explained by Arumugam’s article.
The New York Times: “Tip 15, 20 or 25 Percent? Here, They Strongly Suggest Zero,” by Patrick McGeehan.
If trying to figure what percent tip to leave stresses you out (what’s appropriate? what’s standard? what was the service worth?), Manhattan’s Sushi Yasuda is the place for you. The service charge is already included in the bill, and tipping is not just not encouraged, it’s not allowed.