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America’s land-water-food history at Smithsonian’s Food in the Garden series

Two centuries of connections between land, water and food in the U.S. will be explored on Thursday nights in September at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History and Smithsonian Gardens. Food in the Garden offers panel discussions, demonstrations, and food and drink in the museum’s Victory Garden. The museum is located at 14th Street …

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Puerto Rican tembleque: More than one way to crack a coconut

“I can order one for you,” the butcher says in Spanish when I ask if he knows where I can get a machete. “No, that’s all right,” I reply, feeling awkward about placing a machete order, “but do you know of a place in the neighborhood where I can get one,” I ask. “Well, there’s …

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Tongue tied: Dishes from back home may leave you speechless

Tongue? Seriously? It’s hard to think about cooking an entire beef tongue no matter how trendy it may be to “use the whole animal.” When I lived in the San Francisco Bay Area I discovered tacos de lengua (tongue tacos) at Taqueria Cancun in the Mission District. I ate them at least once a week, …

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Fear of Frying: A Puerto Rican Cook Confronts Her Culinary Legacy

I don’t fry. I don’t own a splatter guard, even though I could get one at any dollar store. I cook with olive oil and butter – coconut oil if I’m feeling fancy. But I don’t fry. I’m a Puerto Rican who can’t dance salsa and loves vegetables. Despite these ethnic shortcomings, I feel deeply …

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Slideshow: What summer tastes like where you live

Summer is a time for watermelon and ice cream, burgers and barbecues. But around the country, many states and even towns have their own summer traditions: water ice on the boardwalks from New Jersey to Delaware; frozen custard in Wisconsin; planked salmon in coastal Washington state. AFR readers from north to south, east to west …

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Indian cooking teacher seasons classes with warmth and passion

“Out of my family, I need to feel that I can prove I am no ordinary woman, that I am different from others,” says Yamini Joshi, the League of Kitchens’ instructor from Mumbai, India. The League of Kitchens is an immersive culinary program in New York through which immigrants teach intimate cooking workshops in their homes. …

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Filipino-American menudo has a Mexican accent

When we had a big dinner at my childhood home, my mom would cook dishes that had Spanish-sounding names. It meant only one thing – we were having special guests. I grew up in a small, rural town in the Philippines. We had meals from produce my dad planted or livestock roaming in our yard. …

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Ratatouille translates as summer in any language

In the 1960s, when French cuisine started to hit the American market, we expanded our palates to accept many new foods. First there were quiche, brie and baguette. No problem. Then onion soup, coq au vin and boeuf bourguignon. So, why don’t we eat ratatouille, one of the most basic and delicious of French dishes? I …

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Early-American cakes renamed to honor U.S. heroes

Since George Washington was larger than life, it’s not surprising that a cake created in his honor was “the largest ever known,” according to the baker. In 1838, John Pease, a New York City baker, made what he called a “delectable compound,” weighing in at more than 2,600 pounds. The mammoth cake was made of …

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July Fourth hamburgers are a serving of democracy

We celebrate the birth of the U.S.A. with fireworks and cookouts. Which, of course means hamburgers. More than 153 million people — nearly half the population — will enjoy a cookout or picnic this Friday, according to the National Retail Federation. Many of those grills will be filled with burgers, according to online grocery tracker …

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