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Utah Pioneer Day means family, food and Jell-O

Pioneer Day and food preservation are essential to Utah’s culture, which is intricately tied to the customs and calendar of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints – the Mormon Church. Family and community gatherings — often potlucks, picnics and barbecues — are often also religious affairs. Pioneer Day, the official state holiday celebrated …

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Vermont farm vacation means food and family

One of my family’s favorite summer rituals is a trip to Liberty Hill Farm in Rochester, Vt. Tucked along the banks of the White River, this working dairy farm has about 300 cows, a hayloft with a tire swing and so many kittens the kids never have to fight over who gets to hold them. …

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African food, an American story

Auntie Oye has a message for children: Skip the fast food. Eat healthful, fresh things. Tell stories. Be proud of yourself. Laugh. Move. Auntie Oye is the alter-ego of Vera Oye Yaa-Anna, a nutrition educator and culinary storyteller in Washington, D.C. Her own story starts in Liberia, where she describes an idyllic childhood, going to …

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A Passover seder in Iowa

When Good Friday and the first night of Passover coincided several years ago, the Rosenblum family and a minister friend of theirs from Iowa decided to celebrate together. The New York Rosenblums decamped to Emmetsburg, population 3,904 at the last census, where they were to prepare a traditional Jewish seder for their friend’s congregation. And …

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Brisket for a hunger the size of Texas

When Katie Younger left Texas nearly a decade ago, she had no idea she was leaving brisket too. “I was shocked,” she says about the ignorance surrounding large slabs of fat-blanketed beef. “I just thought it was such a common meal for people to have.” In New England, beef brisket most often shows up as …

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Bear meat sometimes a hard sell

Alyssa Haak grew up in Wisconsin and remembers the day her dad served bear meat. “Nope,” she said after one bite, pushing it aside. “Nope, I’m done.” Haak admits that she was a pasta-with-butter kind of picky eater, but just the same, her reaction to bear was not unusual. Today, even well-traveled palates such as …

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Chef Erik Bruner-Yang serves noodles with a story

Erik Bruner-Yang, 28. watched his Taiwanese mother and grandparents cook, and it made an impression. He took what he learned in their kitchens, mixed it with a good dose of contemporary American sensibility and opened a Taiwanese-style noodle shop on H Street N.E. in Washington, D.C. “I try to honor the traditions of my family …

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Meatballs trace a path from Romania to Brooklyn

  At the New Year, it’s natural to reflect on how you got where you are. For Michael Harlan Turkell, a host on the food-oriented Heritage Radio Network, the culinary journey started at a diner in Connecticut and ended at a Latin bodega in Brooklyn. Turkell’s grandmother, called Gaee, came from Romania and opened a …

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Christmas cookies with a deeper purpose

Harry Rosenblum doesn’t celebrate Christmas. But that doesn’t stop his Jewish family from making thousands of Christmas cookies every year. What started in the 1940s as an entrepreneurial enterprise has blossomed into a family tradition that brings relatives together from around the country. With the simple kneading of sugar, flour and butter, the Rosenblums connect …

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Baklava by the bushel is a Christmas treat

Every fall, legions of volunteers at Holy Transfiguration Church in McLean, Va., begin baking sweets to sell for Christmas. Not just any sweets, but the delicate, rose-scented confections many of the congregation brought with them from the Middle East. Full disclosure: Holy Transfiguration is my church. And I am occasionally among the battalion of volunteers …

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