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Day of the Dead celebrations unite food and memory

This is one dinner party where the guests of honor are only there in spirit. But what a feast it is. On Day of the Dead, the holiday that starts at midnight on the day following Halloween, the souls of lost relatives are reunited with the living. And like so many other traditions, food is …

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Not everybody hates candy corn

Oct. 30, of course, is National Candy Corn Day. Oct. 31 is Halloween. The two go together like a witch and a broom. I admit to loving candy corn, and I’m not ashamed. I know it’s sweet. I know it’s flavorless. I know it makes your teeth ache. But I will stand by my can(dy). …

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When the congressional mess was a boarding house

Stories occasionally appear about the living arrangements of members of Congress on Capitol Hill. Apart from their families and in Washington for only part of the week, some congressmen (and the stories do focus on congressmen), share messy, overcrowded homes with fellow lawmakers. Their refrigerators, we read, are stocked with little more than beer, which …

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Pour American-made Marzen at do-it-yourself Oktoberfest

  There’s a slight chill in the air, the leaves are changing colors, the children have returned to school and seasonal fall beers are dominating the taps. For me, that means indulging as many delicious Oktoberfest Marzens as my boot-shaped stein can hold. Today, new beer festivals seem to pop up weekly. Yet, it would …

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Chop Talk: Patti Jackson interprets Mid-Atlantic cuisine

At a small restaurant in Williamsburg, chef Patti Jackson is showcasing foods from an often underrepresented area of the country: the Mid-Atlantic. Jackson offers food “from Baltimore to Buffalo” at Delaware and Hudson, and she’s serving more than just crab cakes and pretzels – although she does offer versions of both classics. Since the restaurant opened in …

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Pawpaws: Starting to remember America’s forgotten fruit

The other night, under cover of dark, I finally got my pawpaw delivery. A merchant at my local farmers market in Washington, D.C., brought me a box of pawpaws he got in Pennsylvania. “The problem with these paw paws,” he said, “is that the trees belong to the sister of the guy I get them …

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What am I, chopped herring?

I grew up in such an assimilated Midwestern Jewish family that I had hardly heard of chopped liver let alone chopped herring. My grandparents and most of their many siblings were born in Minnesota, unusual for Jews of that generation. But my Great Aunt Debbie – who lived most her life in the land of …

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Jacques Pepin slow but still steady

He doesn’t swallow insects or tell anyone they’ve been “chopped,” and as far as we know, he’s never yelled “Bam!” But Jacques Pepin has been a force on American food television for longer than many viewers have been alive. Pepin, who turns 80 next year, steps down from his longtime perch on public television with …

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American Food Roots wins 2 food journalism awards

American Food Roots has won two awards from the Association of Food Journalists. AFR took second place in the Association’s 2014 “Best Food Blog” category. The competition was stiff. First place went to Mother Jones. The Charleston Post and Courier was awarded third. AFR also took second place for “Best non-newspaper food feature” with our …

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Confessions of a clam killer

    “No, don’t die!” I found myself yelling at the bowl in my sink. I had just covered about 3 dozen steamer clams with water, and when I added a small bit of salt and cornmeal, which I’d been told would help them spit their grit, a sort of gurgle came from the water. …

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