Monthly Archives: June 2010

The Pursuit of Hoppiness… and Pretty Things

Photo: Susanna Bolle

If people seem particularly hopped-up around town lately, it’s in part because we’re in the midst of Boston Beer Week, a ten-day celebration of craft beer (no Bud, please!) from around the country. Don’t fret if you’ve missed out on the many tastings and choreographed pub crawls, because it’s not over yet. In fact, things really come to a head tonight, when the American Craft Beer Fest gets underway and continues through Saturday at the Seaport World Trade Center. There will be three full, ticketed sessions: Friday, 6:00-9:30 p.m., and Saturday, 1:00-4:30 p.m. and 6:00-9:30 p.m.

The Fest features over 80 brewers from around the country, giving the enterprising beer-drinker the opportunity to sample beers that are usually difficult, if not impossible, to find in Massachusetts. A pair of out-of-staters that piqued my curiosity were Founders Brewing Co. (Michigan), and the Terrapin Beer Company (Georgia), but I barely scratched the surface. There are so many different breweries, that a little advance planning is in order. Luckily maps are available online.

Naturally, there will also be a ton of great beers that are brewed much closer to home. Cambridge’s Pretty Things Beer and Ale Project is one such brewer. Less than two years old, this tiny company already has a reputation for brewing some seriously creative and tasty beer. At this weekend’s festival, they’ll be pouring samples of many of these, including their flagship Jack D’Or, a Belgian saison with a distinct American twist; St. Botolph’s Town, a dark, malty ale; and Field Mouse’s Farewell, a golden, farmhouse-style ale that’s their late spring seasonal (and, truth be told, a personal favorite).

Photo: Andrew Phelps/WBUR

Earlier this week WBUR reporter, Andrew Phelps, and I met with Dann Paquette and Martha Holley-Paquette, the husband and wife team behind Pretty Things. You can read Andrew’s post about Pretty Things on WBUR’s news blog, Hubbub, and listen for his radio piece on Pretty Things — coming soon on Radio Boston!

For more on the American Craft Beer Fest and to purchase tickets, visit the ACBF website.

Thursday Tidbits

Photo: Courtesy of Food on the Food

Alexandra Dimodica


So, you’ve picked up your CSA veggies. Now what?
Food on the Food and Semi Sweet Online bloggers share some recent CSA-inspired recipes that will have you cooking in no time.

Green Thumb Gardening
Cave Cibum blogger shares some suburban gardening tricks of the trade and wonderful photos for those of you who are spending the season in the city.

Boston Beer Week in full swing
Tomorrow and Saturday, the American Craft Beer Fest hits the WTC, Boston.

Sumptuous Summer Food Samplings
The 2010 Summer Chef Series at Smolak Farms is right around the bend and so is the farm!

Chow down at Chowderfest
June 27th is the 30th annual WCod Chowderfest

Happy Quahog Day!
Celebrate June 21st with a meal at Hemisphere Restaurant and a meet and greet with Cape Cod’s ‘official’ quahog, Doug.  Because every shellfish deserves a little appreciation…

If your classic recipes seem stale…
Join Diane Gardner’s Kitchen Club for New England-inspired recipe ideas.

In the mood for love?
Brew some Courtship Tea, a black tea blend created exclusively for Donna and Ron Lasko, tea consultants and lecturers in Osterville, MA. It’s no love potion, but it may just do the trick.

It’s almost nothing like the YMCA camp of your youth
New York City chefs, writers, and foodies flock upstate to Farm Camp and learn a thing or two about poultry, food production and farm living.

How would you like that cooked?
Even if your answer to that question has never been “medium raw,” you may still want to check out Anthony Bourdain’s newest book and his recent interview with Tom Ashbrook of “On Point.”

International treasure
Now that the weather is a bit too hot for one of your favorite comfort soups, tis perhaps the season to try this melon gazpacho recipe, which hails from London.

Ice Milk Aprons: Creating Kitchen Heirlooms From Scratch


Courtesy of Ice Milk Aprons

Let me be honest: creating a thoughtful family heirloom is not as easy as I’d like. In my case, it’s particularly challenging ever since I realized that I’m more sentimental than some of the family that precedes me. Call me a sap. Go ahead.

My “oma” or grandmother was super conscientious and aware of “things,” leaving each of her grandchildren specific pieces of jewelry, books and papers. My mother, on the other hand…not so interested. She would rather have a long conversation about a great memory than commemorate it with an object. Nothing wrong with that, but maybe I want to mix things up.

Family heirlooms obviously come in all shapes and sizes, but where are most family stories and ideas shared? THE KITCHEN. There are some scholars who actually study food or “foodways” as a means to further understand a culture or region’s gender roles, ethnic ideas, holidays, family structure. For example, my mother was born in El Salvador to German Jewish parents. As refugees from Germany, my grandparents were eager to acculturate, faithfully learning (and integrating) recipes and customs from their adopted nation. Yet they couldn’t ignore their childhood and background, especially in culinary terms. Enter Example A: Friday shabbat dinners of challah, tortillas con frijoles and platanos. This fusion became my mother’s cuisine and, in essence, my own. Point made.

Continue reading

ISO Poor People!


Photo: Library of Congress

10, 9, 8… The countdown to our June 24 PRK Meet-Up, Slow Food on No Dough, has begun, and we’re calling out all you unrepentant skinflints: Be there! (Please? There’ll be prizes!)
Anastacia Marx de Salcedo
Guest Contributor
Slow Food Boston

This post was going to be upbeat, a scrappy guide to eating the Slow Food way* without a) blowing your entire bi-weekly payroll deposit or b) devoting all your waking hours to foraginggardening, CSA pick-up, food preservation and early Rombaueresque cookery (double boilers! triple sifting!).
Ain’t gonna happen. Continue reading

Conflict Kitchen: Dismantling Political Walls One Bite At A Time

Courtesy of Conflict Kitchen

“We could run this kitchen indefinitely.”

Despite what you may think, this is not a completely positive thing.

Jon Rubin, the man behind this declaration, teaches contextual practice at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh. When he’s not in the classroom, he spends a lot of time in a Waffle Shop near campus. The Waffle Shop, a hybrid business, live art installation and classroom, invites diners to eat waffles and participate in a live talk show filmed in-house (see some of the talk show HERE). The kitchen attached to the Waffle Shop has a separate entrance and, after a late night, Jon and a few friends thought it might be interesting to transform the take-out window into the “worst idea for an ethnic food restaurant” possible.

The brainstorming began. Someone yelled “North Korean!” A few head shakes later, the group met eyes and thought, “Yes. North Korean.”

Conflict Kitchen was born soon thereafter. The idea is this: pick a country and focus on one element of its cuisine, consult with local immigrants about life and food in that country and increase the city’s knowledge of the nation through the most visceral way possible–food.

Every four months, the Conflict Kitchen will rotate nations. Continue reading

A Taste of Local Cheese

Photo: Susanna Bolle

New England is home to some of the country’s finest artisanal cheeses. This Saturday, June 12, you can sample a wide variety of these, when six regional cheesemakers gather at Formaggio Kitchen in Cambridge for their Spring Cheesemakers Fest. At this daylong (free!) tasting, you can try everything from Continue reading

Thursday Tidbits: Island Bound

Photo: Дenry/Flickr

Alexandra Dimodica 


Island Gourmet
Grab the ferry this weekend and devour dishes at these island kitchens through Sunday–it’s Nantucket Restaurant Week

Support your favorite market
The 2010 America’s Favorite Farmers’ Market contest is underway. Show some love and get out your vote! 

Preparing for the CSA Season
You’ve already begun to dream of fresh veggies, but are you ready to make the most of the season? Experienced blogger “Nita-Nee” provides some helpful hints

Make delicious dishes without breaking the bank
Blogger Amy McCoy of Poor Girl Gourmet gives foodies on a budget a recipe for success in her new book

Find your lucky four-leaf clover in a new location
Clover Food Lab’s new Dewey Square location dishes out homemade treats. Sorry, no leprechauns or pots of gold for sale. 

“Fresh” events
Ana Sofia Joanes presents her film Fresh to the Boston audience and urges viewers not to just sit back and eat but become active in local slow food events (e.g., The Wine Bottega and Taza Chocolate are teaming up this weekend). 

The Green Monster’s wives put food on the table
The Red Sox Wives Can and Cash Drive, a fundraiser for The Greater Boston Food Bank, is in season. 

Visit the aquarium…for dinner.
On June 22nd chef-owner Michael Leviton of Lumiere in Newton brings the sea to shore at the New England Aquarium for its Celebrate Seafood Dinner Series. Conchs are no longer just for hearing the ocean. 

Fresh Farm Meals on the Cape
Join the Cape Cod Culinary Farm Tour on June 24th! RSVP by Friday, June 18th, to Julia Grimaldi, 857-498-2632, or David Webber, 617-626-1754,
In the rest of the country …
Ketchup becomes (a bit) healthier: Hunts ketchup bids high fructose corn syrup a sweet farewell. (And what a photo on Rosie’s site. That’s real, folks!) 

The return of Julia Child
Scripps Networks removed Fine Living from their menu and added the Cooking Channel to its network offerings. While the channel and many of the hosts are new, Julia Child is not. And she’s back! 

Effects of the oil spill: perception v. reality 
Members of the seafood industry believe seafood lovers may stray away from seasonal favorites on account of the BP oil disaster. 

Are you an urban-dweller who dreams of the farm?
Josh Kilmer-Purcell’s newest book The Bucolic Plague: How Two Manhattanites Became Gentlemen Farmers gives the ins and outs of his move from city to country. 

Because food is life…
Jessica Maillet, A Fete for Food blogger, brought her love for food to New York City for the Food for Your Whole Life Symposium.

How Sweet Tea Is…

sweet tea  by enigmachck1.

Photo: Enigmachck1; Flickr.

Donna Kirk

The other day, while I sat on the porch researching a new food article, my sister shot some e-mails back and forth with a friend in the South. I could hear her laughing from the next room. To me she seemed struck with a nostalgia about North Carolina almost poetic now that she lives in New England.

I nonchalantly called in, asking what was so funny. She called back:  “Nothing, just a southern drink.”  I sat up a little straighter. “Oh? A drink?”  “Yeah,” she said, “it’s called Sweet Tea.”

I paused. Then asked what “sweet tea” was? She grew wistful as she told me the basic ingredients. For my part, I felt a bit let down.

“Well…isn’t that just iced tea?”

She cocked her head and looked at me, concerned. “Sweet tea is many things. Is it iced tea? Yes.” I nodded. “But…at the same time,  no.” I wagged my head, my eyebrows furrowing. She turned to go inside and came back clutching something she had penned that day. “Just listen.” And she began to read. Continue reading

PRK's Next Meet-Up: Slow Food on No Dough

Photo: Beige Alert; Flickr

Sue McCrory & Anastacia Marx de Salcedo

How do you provision? Please circle one: A) I *heart* Whole Foods!  B) Stop & Shop, Shaw’s, Trader Joe’s;  C) Bartering, squat-farming and dumpster diving.

All those who answered A) should stop reading now. But the rest of you, whip out those blackberries, palm pilots or good ol’ fashioned calendars and reserve Thursday, June 24, 6:30 – 8:30 pm, for the next PRK Meet-Up, “Slow Food on No Dough.”

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Star in Your Own Cooking Show

Photo: lotusutol/Flickr

Donna Kirk

Do you have a relative who cooks often? An aunt, grandfather or cousin whose dishes are the stuff of legend or the comfort you crave after a long week?

I bet lots of stories come to mind centered around your family’s recipes or dishes served during reunions, holidays and summer barbeques. Well, a new Boston-based business, Flavorful Memories, offers the chance for individuals to film their own one- or two-hour cooking show to gift to family members and friends for whatever occasion you like.

Flavorful Memories was created by Leslie Wittman, a resident of Bedford, MA. Leslie loves to connect with family and friends through shared memories centered on food. She developed her business thinking others might feel the same, and she wanted to provide the vehicle through which important recipes and culinary traditions could be preserved and shared. Through Flavorful Memories, Leslie also runs a blog where people can submit family stories related to food and or cooking.

Public Radio Kitchen was fascinated by this business idea on many fronts and contacted Leslie to hear more. Here’s what we learned… Continue reading