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November 2012 Archives - American Food Roots

November, 2012

Exhibit opens doors into the American kitchen

The Cuisinart could be the one your mom had, except it’s not. It belonged to Chuck Williams – as in Williams-Sonoma. “People respond to stories,” says Paula Johnson, project director of a new exhibit on the evolution of American foodways at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History in Washington, D.C. “To have that story …

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The (holiday gift) List

The easiest person for whom to buy a holiday gift is the food lover. There are endless options – fancy or fanciful chopsticks (there’s a version that are chopsticks on one end and pencils on the other), wall calendars with mouth-watering food porn, new and retro utensils and kitchenware and, of course, food itself.  Below …

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Things you never knew about apples

1. The seeds of an apple don’t produce that kind of apple. That’s right – plant a Granny Smith, you don’t get a Granny Smith. You get a new genetic variety. Each and every time. 2. To get a particular variety of apple, a farmer grafts buds or shoots of the desired apples onto another …

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Cider brings apple farmers back to the future

Well into fall, Adam Fincke steers his tractor between the rows of vintage apples on the tiny New York State orchard he farms, every now and then taking a glug from his cup holder. Not a Coke. Not a Starbucks. Cider. Hard cider. In a mason jar. “You take nice big swigs and it’s a …

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Thanksgiving has international flavors

We often think of Thanksgiving as all-American. And it is. Which means it encompasses flavors, spices and scents from all over the world. AFR talked to a few Americans about what their cultural heritages have brought to the table. By way of Puerto Rico Ivelisse Ortiz Carrero is bringing a pumpkin pudding with her from …

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Generations of springerle and pfeffernusse

Helen Methvin Payne learned how to make German Christmas cookies at the source: her husband’s grandmother, Harriett Klump Payne. Harriet’s cookies came in four varieties: pfeffernusse, springerle, Christmas stars and S’s, so called because of their shape. (These cookies are commonly made in Iowa where they have a Dutch lineage.) Throughout her life, Harriet supplied the entire …

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Wild rice: Food for body and soul

Bruce Savage stokes the wood fire under a large, rotating steel drum. From inside comes a soft swishing sound, almost like a rain stick. With updated equipment, he is doing what his ancestors have done for centuries – “finishing” the wild rice gathered on lakes and rivers in northern Minnesota. It’s his contribution to keeping …

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Celebrate the Belle of Amherst’s birthday with a slice of her black cake

Since it’s Emily Dickinson’s birthday season, it seems only right to celebrate with cake — her famous black cake. Dickinson may have been as creative with flour and sugar as she was with pen and ink. She once said her father would only eat bread that she baked. “The kitchen appears to be one of …

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Calling all cookie stories

We all know that the best holiday cookies are made from more than just flour, butter, sugar and spices. The best cookies tell a story. Maybe it’s a story about where your mother came from. Maybe it’s a story—and a recipe—that’s been passed down from your great- great-grandparents. Maybe your favorite cookie crossed an ocean …

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